What a Sentence

10 June, 2014


Clearing Confusion_business conceptUnless you’re Thomas Wolfe (not Tom Wolfe…THOMAS Wolfe–Of Time and the River, You Can’t Go Home Again, Look Homeward Angel, etc.) a sentence ought never to be a paragraph. This is the only author who can write a mile long sentence and make it artworthy.


Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style is a book all copywriters and editors should have nearby…because there are a lot of people who are paid to create copy who clearly could benefit from a refresher. There are more convoluted, back-asswards, run-on, complex sentences running amok that are anything BUT engaging and accessible. And given our digital, mobile, need-for-speed world, who can risk not being pithy and engaging?


When I need to get a grip on my sentence structure, I have S&W close by, as well as How to Write a Sentence (Stanley Fish), and Microstyle (Christopher Johnson).


The hillstreams foam and welter in a steady plunge, the mined clay drops and melts and eddies in the night, the snake coils cool and glistening under dripping ferns, the water roars down past the mill in one sheer sheetlike plunge, making a steady noise like wind, and in the night, in the dark, the river flows by us to the sea. ~Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River





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