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If short sentences help. . .


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I read this somewhere on the forum, couldn't find the post so I'll paraphrase what was said: you can avoid making many grammatical errors if you use short sentences. I find it hard to write short sentences because of my background. I used to be quite verbose when I wrote articles on freelancer the primary goal being to drive up the word count. How can one rid himself of the habit of writing very looong sentences?

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Yes. You do. But I find it hard to write short sentences. If the past three sentences were to be used in a different thread, they would probably become one sentence.

But yes, I have made mistakes (at tests for example) because I used veeery long sentences.

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I think what's important in good writing is variation of length. There is a difference between expressing your thoughts concisely or creatively. If you are looking to avoid grammatical errors, you might be better off using shorter sentence lengths. However, if you are confident in your abilities with a language you should be able to avoid grammar problems regardless of how long your sentences are.

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It is hard to write short sentences but really make an effort to do so.  I find that I have a tendency to really run on and on to the point that the sentence becomes a mini paragraph!  Not good writing to say the least!

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I read this somewhere on the forum, couldn't find the post so I'll paraphrase what was said: you can avoid making many grammatical errors if you use short sentences. I find it hard to write short sentences because of my background. I used to be quite verbose when I wrote articles on freelancer the primary goal being to drive up the word count. How can one rid himself of the habit of writing very looong sentences?

That's a good point about longer sentences.  A longer sentence might require the use of various clauses and thus you may face such grammatical issues issues as subject/verb agreement, etc.  Shorter sentences -- assuming they are coherent -- would solve that problem.  They might also help with readability.

I suggest writing a first draft and then going back to see if and when you can revise some of the longer sentences and split them.  It just takes practice to modify your style of writing, but it's an achievable goal in my view. 

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I don't mind writing really long sentences since I'm quite talkative, but when I need to shorten it due to some character limit, I read the sentence again and delete the unnecessary words that I find it it. But it's quite hard to do if all the words are important, so I guess your best bet would be to learn first proper grammar.

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That's the beauty of English. Short sentences can be used to express your creativity and does help to avoid more errors. But as a writer and editor myself, short sentences isn't always acceptable because I am taught to avoid short sentences unless in a conversation with some people or something.

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I think the best way to go about it is to learn how to properly use words that were made specifically for this purpose. For example, instead of saying "on the other hand" you can just say "alternatively". Details like these might seem minor, but it helps a lot with keeping a statement as efficient as possible.

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I would say two ways:

1. If you put a comma you could probably put a full stop (not always though but quite often).

2. Read your sentence again and when you need to take a breath this is where your sentence should have stopped.

Hope this helps.

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I'll also try that technique [replacing commas with fullstops] and see how it works. Actually I feel like I'm improving. The longest sentence I've written of late was only 30 words long. That's down from about 90 words which was my average word count per sentence in the past.

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Short sentences reduce the likelihood of having complex grammar structures.

For example, this sentence has many samples of complex grammar structures, and it is not something that a non-native speaker, such as a foreign exchange student, could master easily; unlike a short sentence.

I also cannot guarantee that the above sentence is grammatically correct (I have questions about the semicolon for sure), but you get the idea.  I could have expressed the above as follows:

The above sentence contains complex grammar structures.  It is not something a non-native speaker could master easily.  A foreign exchange student is a good example of someone who would have trouble with that sentence.  Short sentences are recommended to avoid these complex grammar structures.

That said, the above four sentences are, jointly, longer than the example.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I love short sentences.  I avoid complex and compound sentences.

Short sentences are simple. They have energy, they're easy, clear and

fast. You can express uncommon things in short sentences using common

words.

I have no idea why some people try so hard to construct very long sentence

and mess up expressing a very simple idea.

Never use two words if one is enough.

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Well, a picture is worth a 1000 words so we should be posting pictures  :tongue:

I'm very concise in the way I write and speak. That's why I would never become a good blogger or freelance writer haha I just write for fun and about things that interest me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A good writer will write very long sentences but at the same time manage to avoid grammatical errors. My advise to you would be to complete what you are writing then go back through it and eliminate the least  necessary words and phrases or make each long sentence into a few small sentence.

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It might be better to stick with longer sentences anyway. It may be more challenging, but if it feels more natural you should do better over all. Short sentences might feel more "stunted" than other wise.

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As the old saying goes, keep it short and simple. It is important to have a clear and concise sentence about the message you are trying to get across, particularly when posting on forums. You don't want to end up with replies saying "TLDR".  :laugh:

But you mentioned you are writing articles, so I guess it is somewhat an excuse to write long sentences as it is understood that people would be reading something long. If a person enters a blog or read a news article, they know what they are getting themselves into so they should be prepared to spare some time to read the entire thing. If you are an experienced writer, I doubt grammar would be an issue so it may be best to go with long sentences.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I can relate to this. I also make a conscious effort to write short sentences. It can be difficult at times especially when the thoughts are flowing continuously. What I try to do now is check whether I can change my commas into periods and whether I can delete "and"s or "but"s in favor of shorter sentences. It's worth the extra effort in my opinion.  :smile:

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We can still commit some grammatical errors even if we just write short sentences. And it is quite inevitable to just write short ones since at times when we need to expound more about what we are saying, we can create mile long or compound-complex sentences like what I am doing now.  :grin: What can really help is that we must keep on developing our grammatical skills even if one is a  native English speaker. Nobody is perfect and anyone can commit errors.

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I agree that it's easier to avoid grammatical errors with short sentences. I was taught to write that way in high school. We were taught to write as if the reader was a fifth grader. It's sad but true. It does take practice if you're not accustomed to writing that way. 

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