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    #1

    Question One-sentence paragraphs

    I read that one-sentence paragraphs used "to create an effect" were alien to English. Is it indeed the case?

    For academic English I'd agree with no hesitation, but what about fiction? (Of course, we need here to exclude dialogs as well as paragraphs that introduce dialogs.) Is one-sentence paragraphing indeed alien to English for writing fiction?

    In fact, in Polish we do use one-sentence paragraphs to create an effect. How
    about English?

    Cheers,
    Nyggus

  1. bianca's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: One-sentence paragraphs

    "Is one-sentence paragraphing indeed alien to English for writing fiction?"


    Not at all. Suspense thrillers (and newspapers, tabloid news stories) use one-sentence paragraphs a lot because they serve as 'attention-getters' through the dramatic impact they make. However, a string of them can defeat their own purpose of making an impact.

    Used sparingly, they can be effective at making key points even in non-fiction writing.
    Last edited by bianca; 09-Aug-2007 at 21:03.

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    #3

    Re: One-sentence paragraphs

    Quote Originally Posted by bianca View Post
    Used sparingly, they can be effective at making key points even in non-fiction writing.
    Is that so indeed? This is my opinion as well, but I'm not the English native speaker. What is more, the criticism of one-sentence paragraphing I mentioned in the first post was taken from a book on English for kind of academic writing. I'm eager to learn the opinion of others, including ENS professional writes, who I know are here and often help us.

    Thanks,
    Nyggus

  2. bianca's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: One-sentence paragraphs

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    Is that so indeed? This is my opinion as well, but I'm not the English native speaker. What is more, the criticism of one-sentence paragraphing I mentioned in the first post was taken from a book on English for kind of academic writing. I'm eager to learn the opinion of others, including ENS professional writes, who I know are here and often help us.

    Thanks,
    Nyggus

    Nyggus

    Before you get answers from others, let me explain myself a bit. I agree, I am probably self-made - I know about writing conventions, and I also know that any piece of writing has a purpose, regardless: to spark the reader's interest. And this is what I teach my students: to sometimes bash conventions for the sake of impact.

    A long time ago, my college English teacher taught me not to write one-sentence paragraphs (in non-fiction). Now, I notice many one-sentence paragraphs in many articles and magazines that I lay hands on, like at the beginning of news releases and so on. This style, I guess, is even more important for younger audiences.

    So, IMO, one-sentence paragraphs are not necessarily a no-no. In fact, sometimes they are definitely the way to go. Another important factor is that the single sentence should be very good. (That doesn't mean very long.) But too many one-sentence paragraphs could end up giving your prose a choppy, machine-gun feel.

    Bianca
    Last edited by bianca; 10-Aug-2007 at 09:21.

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    #5

    Re: One-sentence paragraphs

    Thanks, Bianca. I understood your view and, as I wrote, I share it as well. Yet I can't simply ignore the opinion from this book I learn from, and that's why I wish to learn opinion of as many people as possible, of course those whose English is good and who write in it, like you. In English there are many controversial issues, like punctuation and contractions in writing. I think this one may also be controversial, and that's why I want to know what people think about it. Knowing many opinions, I might be able to imagine what indeed is and what indeed is not allowed, and learn arguments to use when it comes to defend my own writing. Of course there are different kinds of writing and each has its own specificity, like magazine writing and academic books, and in the latter it's quite difficult for me to imagine a one-sentence paragraph defending itself by stressing the contents.

    Thanks,
    Nyggus

  3. bianca's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: One-sentence paragraphs


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    #7

    Re: One-sentence paragraphs

    One-sentence paragraphs have little place in academic writing because normally an idea would require some development. In other contexts, they can be used. They are common on the internet on, say, news sites, because they are easy to read on the screen. However, as they are best used for effect, they have to be good; otherwise, the writing becomes choppy as Bianca says.

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