When I write, I often use very long sentences, such as 50-word-long sentences like these, instead of multiple short sentences because I forget to end my sentence as I have so much to say so I don't think about keeping my sentences short to make the sentence's reader understand it more easily, and I also add many words that I do not need to them, which makes them even longer, but they're still grammatically correct, so there's no problems and I shouldn't lose points whenever I use them in an essay or some other text which I give to the English teacher, or another teacher such as the french teacher or even the math teacher, and they should be understood easily by anyone, including people whose first language is not English, so I was wondering if this is a bad thing or not, because if it is, in which case I would like an explanation why, I would like to stop using sentences like these because others won't understand them.

So, should I stop?

  • 4
    This question isn't really about the English language, and might be more suited for Writers.SE, which deals with issues of style and clarity. Sep 14, 2014 at 4:05
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    But as a short tip, I'd say that grammar isn't the only factor in determining whether a given piece of writing is any good. Run-on sentence may be grammatical, but they're hard to keep in your head, cause breathlessness in your readers, and should probably be avoided unless, for reasons of prose and style, this is the effect you're interested in. For essays? Probably not. Sep 14, 2014 at 4:06
  • Well, looking at the title, I'm not sure if I agree with the "still grammatically correct" part. ;) its-not-its.info. And the spelling is "writing", not "wirting". Sep 14, 2014 at 4:35
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    I stopped reading because the sentence was too long. Seriously. Only well formed periods can be long; under normal circumstances, one is advised to write sentence of a manageable length. Sep 14, 2014 at 4:37
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    Several related independant clauses make a compound. Several unrelated independent clauses crowbarred together via inappropriate conjunctions is still a run-on. An often used example of a properly punctuated sentence that is still a run-on: "We often speak in run-on sentences, but we make pauses and change our tone so people can understand us, but when we write, no one can hear us, so sometimes we must break our sentences into shorter units so that they do not sound run-on." There is more to it than mere punctuation. Sep 14, 2014 at 11:29

3 Answers 3


It is arrogant and immature to deliberately or carelessly violate other people's (perfectly reasonable) expectation that what you write in an essay should, to the best of your ability, be:

  • Easy to follow

  • Concise

  • Factually accurate

  • Logical and well-argued

  • Grammatical and reasonably free from spelling errors

Besides the improvements in both content and presentation that will flow from adopting an altogether less childish attitude, I highly recommend carefully rereading your essays before you submit them. This will enable you to identify and correct any problems with grammar, spelling, coherence of argumentation and stylistic awkwardness. (If you're in doubt about how something flows, read it aloud to help you decide.)

Your teachers will appreciate your effort; your thinking and reasoning skills will improve; you will achieve higher marks; and ultimately, you are likely to have far more choices in your progression through the education system, followed by better career and earning opportunities, once you start your life as an adult.

  • I agree with Eirc, but would add one recommendation I suspect he intended, but neglected, to make. When you re-read your essays before submission, do so after a period of time has elapsed. Mistakes become easier to find, when you wait for an interval before re-reading the essay. At least this is the case for me, but your experience might be different.
    – brasshat
    Sep 14, 2014 at 5:59
  • @brasshat - I completely agree. Your recommendation implies another one too: don't leave it to the last minute to write an essay. (BTW, waiting a day or two also works well for me when identifying and rectifying faults in drawings, sculptures etc.)
    – Erik Kowal
    Sep 14, 2014 at 6:28
  • I have figured out how to completely eliminate the need to review my sculptures for faults. I stopped making them in about 6th grade.
    – brasshat
    Sep 14, 2014 at 6:36

Generally speaking, shorter is better. But there are many exceptions, so, as the saying goes, "It depends"...on the sort of writing you're doing. Very long periodic sentences used to be fashionable. Look at the opening sentence of the US Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

That's a single long sentence written in a formal style common in the late 18th century. I have put the subject and verb of the sentence in boldface. If we were writing such a declaration today, I doubt that the introductory sentence would be that long. We might say something like "These are the causes and reasons why we, the people of the United States in Congress assembled, declare that the political bands which have tied us to Great Britain should be, and are hereby, dissolved." Still a fairly long sentence, but much shorter than the one actually used.

So my advice is, make your sentences as long as they need to be, but not longer; and do your best to be clear.

  • More briefly still: "It's only reasonable to explain why this nation is asserting its natural rights to self-governance by discarding the yoke another nation had placed on us".
    – Erik Kowal
    Sep 14, 2014 at 7:44

Leaving aside grammatical issues, a sentence should contain a single idea. The OP's sentence contains a string of ideas, and that is what makes it so unpleasant to read. It is not so much a sentence as a poorly constructed and punctuated paragraph meaning that the reader has to work to extract meaning from it.


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