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Words of Wisdom

When people have their writing “corrected,” they usually discover that their long, complicated sentences receive the most correction and criticism. So they resort to—guess what?—writing short, simple sentences. This is called the “my puppy syndrome”: “My puppy is cute. He has a long tail. He wags it a lot. I love my puppy.” All of these are accurate sentences—but not ones at the adult level. Please don’t give up on long sentences. It’s just that as you increase your sentence length and complexity, you also need to increase your vigilance and the care you take to revise.

from One Day in the Life of the English Language: A Microcosmic Usage Handbook,
by Frank L. Cioffi (Princeton, 2015).



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