Re: Long sentences

Subject: Re: Long sentences
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 11:06:09 -0800

Nancy Allison wrote:

The Sunshine program spans all areas of personal homebuilding efforts -- permit authorization through post-construction inspection and reporting -- ensuring comprehensive, documented compliance for any builder to all local and state regulations.
I think it is a flow problem. The example sentence seems long because the 'span' isn't completed. You have the word 'through' to anchor the end point of the span, but nothing to clearly designate the beginning. I would find it easier to read if you inserted the word 'from' at the beginning of the text that is set off with m-dashes. Otherwise, I don't think a perfunctory slice-and-dice operation is called for. Caveat: Your audience is the best judge on .


The Sunshine program delivers several immediate benefits, including improved verification of a builder's construction practices, reduced paperwork, streamlined communications, and comprehensive review and alerts to avoid State-imposed fines.

The rule of thumb I use is to make a vertical list for three or more items. In tech writing, you might even call this a standard. But that's the great thing about standards--there are so many to choose from. Your embedded list is also standard, given a few considerations, such as not including any visually distracting glyphs (@#$%&), which your example doesn't use anyway. If you feel that a vertical list doesn't belong in this tract of text, then my advice is to go with that.
Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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Long sentences: From: Nancy Allison

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