How To Write Long Sentences
For beginning writers, we’ve always recommended sticking to shorter sentences. Anything that puts more than two clauses together can prove easy fodder for confusing readers, apart from dragging on needlessly.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that long sentences should be avoided at all costs. If you know what you’re doing, long sentences can actually work to properly communicate ideas, all while managing to read very well.
Anchor To A Subject And Verb, Branch To The Right
The easiest way to make sure a long sentence works is to begin with the subject and verb appearing early on. Done this way, you can usually branch your sentence as far you need to express the extent of your ideas. Take a look at this example:
“I ate chicken, pasta, burgers, hotdogs and a couple of baked potatoes in one sitting, all while driving around the city, trying to find my dog, Chelsea, a big and ugly Dachsund that my sister lost during transit when she exited the I5 yesterday.”
That’s a single sentence that puts a lot of things forward, yet manages to make sense (and pass your grammar checker). How? Because the main subject and verb (in this case, “I ate”) appears early on, acting as anchors that hold the sentence down, keeping it from going wayward.
You will, of course, have to know when to stop a long sentence. It just doesn’t make sense to keep dragging it for the sake of stringing words together. Remember that you’re trying to vary your sentence structures, not trying to cram a multitude of ideas before typing a period.