I am reading a book called The Best American Essays of the Century. One thing I keep noticing is a lot of the sentences in this book are very long — 5 to 6 lines. I read a lot of articles on the web, and the difference is obvious to me. In my opinion, contemporary writers keep their sentences short. Obviously there is not one way to write, but what I learned in college was to not make sentences too long and keep varying the length of sentences — not just too short in particular.

Now coming back to the question. What was the reason for this paradigm shift? I understand languages, including English, evolve over time. What was the main reason(s) behind the change?

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, Tushar Raj, Misti, Marv Mills, tchrist Jul 10 '15 at 23:31

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    As an ole fart, I think it's because people today have short attention spans. Not really, but I do think it's all a matter of opinion. Perhaps all modern writers are trying to emulate Ernest Hemingway. – FumbleFingers Jul 8 '15 at 2:12
  • Just a thought about shorter attention spans. In my opinion, material can be considered a product of a good writing if something is interesting and is also understood by the majority of readers. Why can something be considered a good essay or a book if it's confined to the elite English masters? Now that's out of my system, appreciate your reply :) – anusha Jul 8 '15 at 2:37
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    Novels are considered a form of entertainment. The reader is assumed to have time to savor and untangle the lavish and convoluted constuctions. It's often language for the sake of language, written more for the way it sounds than what it technically means— a meritorious march of meter and metonomy, if you will; a lilting litany of literary lolligagging; a veritable volume of vain or virtuous verbification. – Brian Hitchcock Jul 8 '15 at 6:00
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    But nonfiction (especially tech writing) has to get to the point quickly. – Brian Hitchcock Jul 8 '15 at 6:02