WHY TODAY’S SENTENCES ARE SHORT.

WHY TODAY’S SENTENCES ARE SHORT. The Reynolds Price sentence from 1962 seems unusually long today. Stanley Fish published a book on January 25 devoted to the sentence: HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE AND TO READ ONE. Adam Haslett had a review of Fish’s book in the weekend Financial Times (January 22/23) which argues that our idea of a good sentence was changed by one book published in 1959. The book was THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by E.B. White and William Strunk, Jr. It consisted of a number of maxims for writers. Hirsch cites: “Do not overwrite”; “Omit needless words”; and “Avoid the use of qualifiers.” Strunk & White became influential in college writing classes. I felt its influence, and, years later, I was still taking note of the simple unqualified sentences in strong legal briefs written by major law firms.

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One Response to WHY TODAY’S SENTENCES ARE SHORT.

  1. Pingback: LEARNING HOW TO WRITE COMPLEX SENTENCES. | Pater Familias

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