Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Superstitions (5)

Today: “Never Write a One-Sentence Paragraph.” o “A paragraph may contain but one sentence . . . [or] two sentences; but usually it contains more than two.” Adams S. Hill, The Foundations of Rhetoric 23-24 (1896). o “To interpose a one-sentence paragraph at intervals — at longish intervals — is prudent. Such a device helps the eye and enables the reader (especially if ‘the going is heavy’) to regain his breath between one impressive or weighty or abstruse paragraph and the next.” Eric Partridge, Usage & Abusage 224-25 (1942). o “Three situations in essay writing can occasion a one-sentence paragraph: (a) when you want to emphasize a crucial point that might otherwise be buried; (b) when you want to dramatize a transition from one stage in your argument to the next; and (c) when instinct tells you that your reader is tiring and would appreciate a mental rest.” John R. Trimble, Writing with Style 92-93 (2d ed. 2000). Next: “Never Begin a Sentence with ‘Because.'” ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Students need to be taught the tools which professional writers have tested for decades, not the ones teachers have turned into painful dogma.” Gary Hoffman & Glynis Hoffman, Adios, Strunk and White 7 (1999).
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