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Cella
11-01-2009, 09:44 AM
What's the longest sentence you've ever included in a MS?

Just wondering because every now and then I come across a very long yet well worded sentence and wonder how the author surmises that this is better, rather than breaking it up.

This is something I would like to learn how to do....

Thanks for sharing :D


(Also, we may get a peek that entices us to read something we might not have otherwise.)

MODS, feel free to move this if it is in the wrong spot:)

Priene
11-01-2009, 12:01 PM
193 words is my record. It described a subject's thoughts, and I didn't want to break it up.

Matera the Mad
11-01-2009, 12:21 PM
omfg. I don't allow any sentence that gets close to 50 words to go without a rigorous evaluation -- and usually surgery.

Yeah...no examples lol

Ken
11-01-2009, 12:25 PM
... I tend to write long sentences, myself. 60-70 words is probably my max, to date. There's a right, and wrong, time to use longies.

Describing a subjects thoughts, as Priene mentioned, would be one: since thoughts are rather unweildy and not necessarily constructed in an orderly manner. They just occur. So alongside the long sentences you've encountered being well-worded as you've noted it may be context, too, which makes them feel right and read well.

jclarkdawe
11-01-2009, 05:15 PM
Manuscripts I'm not too bad about, but in memos I can get a little out of hand.

My longest sentence was the following memo:

RE: unjustified and extremely excessive use of paper by the preparation of and writing of memorandums in excess of the minimal requirements of the scope necessary to convey the appropriate information


In thinking about your expressed and reasoned opinion regarding the unjustified and extremely excessive use of a commonly found fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, one of the sites at which this material was formerly manufactured in would be Berlin, New Hampshire, which is a city in New Hampshire that is sometimes referred to as north of the notches, and by the way, if you had ever visited Berlin, New Hampshire while paper was being manufactured in the aforementioned city, you would be aware that the production of the aforedescribed fibrous material results in a noticeable, and some believe, though others might disagree, unpleasant odor, which permeates the entire region of the aforementioned city that is north of the notches, to wit, the City of Berlin, New Hampshire, anyways, to get back to the point of this memorandum regarding your expressed and reasoned opinion regarding the unjustified and extremely excessive use of a commonly found fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, which, to clarify the discussion regarding this fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, is commonly and more normally referred to as “paper,” although the word “paper” can be used for other purposes, such as requiring students to have to hand in a “paper,” and as an interesting side point, paper can be made out of other material than fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, including such material as formerly worn clothing that has outlived its usefulness, in other words, “rags” or from straw which I wasn’t aware could be made into paper but I often find it interesting that when one is involved with one subject that another area of knowledge can come up, such as the fact that straw can be made into paper, which reminds me that in the Orient, rice is also used to make paper, though I believe that rice paper costs more money than one normally is required to expend on paper made from the fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, anyways, realizing that this memorandum is beginning to go into divergent paths that detract from the purpose of this memorandum which is, to remind you in case you have lost sight of the purpose of this memorandum, to discuss the unjustified and extremely excessive use of a commonly found fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, trees being a renewable resource, which means that even though an individual tree might be destroyed in the making of the fibrous material which is commonly used for writing on, although it can also be drawn on or made into paper airplanes, a subject for which there are books describing the many versions of paper airplanes that one can make, which makes another diversion from the original purpose of this memorandum, which I have never understood the reasoning for reducing it to the word “memo” as the word “memorandum” flows off of one’s tongue in a graceful and polished manner, instead of the blunt and directness that results when one uses the word “memo,” unfortunately, I have just realized that having entered onto a second piece of paper that I have now incurred the need to use a metallic substance, such as a paperclip or staple, so that I can combine the first sheet of paper with this, the second sheet of paper, so that this memorandum stays together as one document, rather than getting separated and potentially causing confusion as to what the second sheet of paper is about, or leaving confusion when arriving at the end of the second page as to the conclusion of this memorandum, but the use of either a paperclip or staple involves the use of another resource, which could also be viewed as being either excessive or unreasonable, but, even if so, does not seem to be germane to the issue under discussion in this memorandum, to wit, the unjustified and extremely excessive use of a commonly found fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, as either the use of a paperclip or a stable involves the use of a metallic object that is not manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, however, in trying to keep this memorandum as brief as possible, and avoid the unjustified and extremely excessive use of a commonly found fibrous material that is usually manufactured from living entities commonly identified as trees, please let me state that I disagree with your opinion. (please note that I have been very conservative with wasting periods)

A mere 812 words. And I was a bit bored.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Ryan David Jahn
11-01-2009, 08:23 PM
Couple hundred. I average about twelve words a sentence, but this one needed to be longer.

Shadow_Ferret
11-01-2009, 08:27 PM
I have attention deficit. I like short sentences.

Nivarion
11-01-2009, 08:36 PM
I have attention deficit. I like short sentences.

Same.

blacbird
11-01-2009, 10:29 PM
Never counted. Not going to.

caw

Matera the Mad
11-02-2009, 01:14 AM
According to something that counted for me, some months ago:

Averages
Sentences per Paragraph 3.8
Words per Sentence 9.7
Characters per Word 4.3
Readability
Passive Sentences 2%
Flesch Reading Ease 72.6
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 5.5

I like to know how I'm doing once in a while. And I hate long paragraphs.

AnonymousWriter
11-02-2009, 01:24 AM
No idea. But probably not very long. I'm a fan of shorter sentences.

The Lonely One
11-02-2009, 10:06 AM
John Dufresne had a pretty whopping one at the beginning of one of his short stories (ran on for a few pages with some em-dashes and parenthesis here and there). And no, it should NOT have been broken up. It operated as a pacing device, and voice, and it operated just fine without someone's lousy red pen fucking it up.

I like short sentences, when they're appropriate. All the time? Many. of. us. like. Hemingway. but. that's. just. fucking. stupid.

To answer the question, I don't know my longest. I don't recall any super-long ones of any merit.

Matera the Mad
11-02-2009, 10:48 AM
I never could swallow Hemingway. Bore. Ing.

Nothing wrong with a long sentence that is consciously constructed and serving a purpose. But those wang-dang trainwrecks that are born out of lack of know-how to build a decent unit of communication...oy.

eyeblink
11-02-2009, 10:58 AM
Leaving out unpunctuated stream-of-consciousness "sentences" (e.g. the Molly Bloom soliloquy in Ulysses), William Faulkner used to be in the record books for a 1300-worder in Absalom, Absalom!.

john barnes on toast
11-02-2009, 07:27 PM
omfg. I don't allow any sentence that gets close to 50 words to go without a rigorous evaluation --



this is pretty good policy in my opinion.

I know some people that have an unyielding aversion to the long sentence, and automatically edit anything over 40-50 words, but I really disagree.

As MtM says above, I think the only thing you MUST do with a long sentence is make sure it's justified. The greatest problems with long sentence is the author can lose control of them (subjects and pronoun confusions being the most common) but if a writer is skilled enough to maintain control then there's no reason a sentence can't get long.

And for those people that say they prefer short sentences I'd suggest that the best short sentences (and they can be great) are often when they works as counterpoints or contrasts to longer ones.
It's a question rhythm, and great writing will usually contain a balance.

Priene
11-02-2009, 08:40 PM
And for those people that say they prefer short sentences I'd suggest that the best short sentences (and they can be great) are often when they works as counterpoints or contrasts to longer ones.

Funnily enough, my 193-word sentence was followed by ones of three words and one.

Jamesaritchie
11-03-2009, 02:19 AM
Don't know for sure. Probably fifty to sixty words, but this is rare. I do like variation in sentence length. Too many short sentences comes across as choppy wriitng, and choppy writing is a leading cause of rejection. But too many looooong sentences comes across as pretentious and boring, and this, too, causes rejection.

jennontheisland
11-03-2009, 02:26 AM
Mine, I'm not sure and I'm refusing to look at any of my work while I'm in school. But a letter I was editing at work had one that was 66 words. It included 'therefore,' 'notwithstanding,' and two 'further tos'.

unicornjam
11-03-2009, 03:50 PM
My longest one was around 80-something words. I love reading long sentences and paragraphs, lol.

KTC
11-03-2009, 03:53 PM
I don't count the words in my sentences. I have a life.

The Lonely One
11-03-2009, 09:06 PM
:roll:
I don't count the words in my sentences. I have a life.

The Lonely One
11-03-2009, 09:07 PM
I never could swallow Hemingway. Bore. Ing.


Fair. Enough. :)

RG570
11-03-2009, 09:53 PM
I did one that was at least two pages.