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09/04/2019

How many words are typically in a good sentence?

QUESTION
How many words are typically in a good sentence?
I know that’s kinda an awkward wording…what I mean is how many words are generally in a well-developed sentence that isn’t a fragment or a run-on? Also, I don’t mean sentences like “The dog runs fast” I mean normal sentences that you might find in a article or essay. Maybe 20…?

ANSWER
That’s a neat question. I’m sure many of my instructors would fight to the death over this one, but I contend with many answerers who say it does not matter.

What matters most is whether the sentence makes sense to the reader and accomplishes your goal.

But perhaps a writer’s individual preference comes into play. I really hate superfluous writing, while others thrive on it and make it work well. Obviously the minimalist Hemingway’s sentences would be shorter than Faulkner’s… but that doesn’t make one “good” and the other “bad,” does it?

Good question, once again.