Tuesday, 11 June 2013

In praise of the one sentence paragraph

After my last post in which I discussed a run in with a teacher over a one sentence paragraph used in an assignment, I schemed a little – and then I wrote this, a small ode, if you will, to the one sentence paragraph.

It appears below as it did in The Student’s Standard, 11 June 2013 (the rest of which is available here: issuu.com/thestudentsstandard/docs/the_students_standard_9).

image

11 comments:

  1. What a creative and eloquent way to flip your English teacher the bird- good job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I admire your cheek and agree with your well-stated point!

    Now a few picky observations: the "no one-sentence paragraphs" rule is not a matter of grammar but of style, which is considerably more flexible. A grammatical rule is to match the numbers of nouns and pronouns. In this piece, "they're" doesn't match "it's" and "lover" doesn't match "them." And a spelling rule is not to use "it's" when you mean "its" (see the next-to-last paragraph). Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I figure that as a writer you should be familiar with the conventional rules. Break them when you need to, but be aware that you're breaking them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Richard, especially for the picky observations. All have been noted, written down and hopefully I'll observe them all in the future.

      Delete
  3. Jasper, thank you for the cheek, and Richard, thank you for the critique! I think constructive criticism will not be wasted on you, Jasper, for you obviously love language and pretty well understand it, and I expect one day you will be a role model for other writers, and not only younger ones.

    I am glad to see writing by someone who believes in the semicolon; it is very useful in clarifying writing. (Though I must say you bobbled it, first one way, then the other, in the third- and second-to-the-last paragraphs. When you're your own editor you have to be careful, and it's hard.)

    Love your blog!
    == Michael Höhne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael, I do hope constructive critiscm won't be wasted on me. And I'm all for the semicolon, even though I often stuff up the usage of it, as you've noticed.
      Thank you.

      Delete
    2. One of the funny parts of this blog entry is the neat way that the semicolon can legitimately condense a multi-sentence paragraph into a single-sentence one, and a side benefit is the way that it makes the paragraph interestingly unusual and more readable, concise, at the same time. Perfect for this idea, but easy to overdo in "regular" writing.
      == Michael Höhne

      Delete
    3. And I like how you realize that a sentence can contain more than one semicolon.
      == M.

      Delete
  4. Keep.
    Up.
    The.
    Good.
    Work.
    Learn.
    From.
    Your.
    Mistakes.
    And.
    Become.
    The.
    Writer.
    You.
    Are.
    Destined.
    To.
    Be.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In 1968, when I was all of 20, I issued a directive to The New Zealand Herald editorial staff on short opening paragraphs. Older heads looked askance at me, wondering who this upstart from the backblocks was. They laughed at me and said I won't get in through the back door of The Sunday Times in London, L'Equipe in Paris and Sports Illustrated in the US. I finished up writing for all three publications. I had the last laugh. So will you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert, thank you! Love your first comment. And I hope I'll one day have a similar tale like your second.

      Delete