Thursday, 19 May 2011


Sonia Simone, on her bog Remarkable Communication, has very wise advice. She makes me grin and learn at the same time: this is a great skill.
1. Sentences can only do one thing at a time.
Have you ever heard a four-year-old run out of breath before she can finish her thought? I edit a lot of sentences that work the same way. You need a noun, you need a verb, you might need an object. Give some serious thought to stopping right there.
Sentences are building blocks, not bungee cords; they’re not meant to be stretched to the limit. I’m not saying you necessarily want a Hemingway-esque series of clipped short sentences, but most writers benefit from dividing their longest sentences into shorter, more muscular ones.

Born in Ireland and raised by Irish parents, the idea that sentences should be short and precise was the hardest lesson to learn. When I started writing, I believed all the best sentences had to have at least three clauses ;)

"Unless one is a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible."
Anthony Hope Hawkins


  1. Hope your writing is going well and that you have a groovy weekend.

  2. Great point! I am guilty of loving long sentences. Sometimes they can work, if they're sprinkled in sparingly.