The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

14 Aug 2008


"A sentence should contain one idea, though that can be a complex or compound idea. The most obscure sentences in academic writing are sentences filled to bursting. If your writing lacks clarity, check to see if a long, bad sentence might make two short, good ones.
This isn't to say that all sentences should be short. Long sentences add variety, and some ideas are too complicated to fit into seven words. But don't turn your simple ideas into monstrous sentences, devouring line after line without mercy. One idea, one sentence."
Guide to Grammar and Style, by Jack Lynch


  1. I agree with that and as an English as a foreign language student I have always appreciated that way of writing because I think, English language lends itself better to short independent sentences whereas Spanish relies more on long subordinating sentences which requires more attention to be understood.

  2. Is it like that? Does English language really tend to use simpler syntax than Spanish? I’ve just browsed through several books I’ve got now at hand (some English novels in their original version or translated into Spanish, as well as some others written originally in Spanish) and read a couple of paragraphs from each book at random. I’d say that there is no difference: most excepts contain quite short sentences. Maybe it is a coincidence because all of them are 20th c. novels.
    I’ve also opened a different kind of text, a decree for the last educational reform published in an official gazette. I quote a long sentence representative of the language used to describe objectives: “Conversar de manera adecuada en situaciones habituales que tengan un contenido y desarrollo conocidos, utilizando procedimientos verbales y no verbales y adoptando una actitud respetuosa y de cooperación, para tomar conciencia de los propios sentimientos e ideas y controlar la propia conducta, desarrollar una comunicación interpersonal eficaz y construir conocimiento
    de manera compartida“
    Do they employ a similar style in the English speaking countries?