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Many people try to argue against Wikipedia by pointing out that many academic institutions ban their students from citing Wikipedia as a source when writing papers. These people forget that using encyclopedias in general as a research source has always been discouraged by academics. Encyclopedias are often out of date from the day they are published and because they provide general summaries on complex and (at times) controversial topics, they often provide inaccurate or incomplete information. The main difference between Britannica and Wikipedia is that correcting a mistake in a Wikipedia article can be instant, as long as you can follow Wikipedia’s stringent guidelines for adding and editing content. Many experts and academics become avid Wikipedia contributors for the sheer joy of being able to share the vast knowledge they have acquired throughout their careers. In a world where knowledge is readily available and shared, our resources are better spent improving the quality of the freely available information, not clinging to expensive environmentally unfriendly forms of communication. MAKEGSI Women Fashion Pointed Toe Pumps High Heel Stilettos Sexy Slip On Dress Shoes Green q8ElLU

I have no problem with your owning of the book, and respect the right to the personal library. I also envy those who have the notes in their books--mine always ended up looking like a bunch of garbage, try as i would to mark them. To this day I always have "annotation envy." I also don't feel that your love of the book is in the same league as some of these people who are crying over the Britannica. Yours seems a lot more genuine. Not to be rude, and I am just asking out of curiosity, but which texts aren't easily available on the web. My interests are literary so Project Gutenberg has the standard canon (even if in poor translations), and the GA library system is state-wide and I can always seem to find most texts somewhere. If I can't find one, I buy for cheap off Amazon and then donate. I just prefer having less and feel that my life richer when I am lighter. I think that I was also just a little vexed at what I perceived to be snobbery over the Britannica at the expense of wikipedia. I remember my initial shock when I learned that they were no longer publishing the Great Books of the Western World, until I realized that 1) the ideas, authors, and literature transcend any book set, 2) that the format was almost unreadable and I know of very few educated people who could get through the entire set in their form, 3) I can still read the same authors (and listen to them) without any one set. The same might be said for the knowledge in Britannica.

As I read all of the wistful pining for the Britannica, and the critiques of wikipedia, I think back to what my high school teachers and college professors would tell us back in the mid 1980s and early 1990s. For writing papers, don't use encyclopedias. Another point--although eloquently written, and beautiful on a shelf did (or could) the Britannica really go that in-depth? Essentially 90% or most was simply facts, which are not much different than the wikip. Divergent points of view, extensive peer reviewed journals on arcane topics, the mathematical proof etc. never made the cut, and with the the hypertext format of wikip, these benchmarks of academic rigor are now more possible. At one time I shared this attachment to owning the printed book (I'd gush at Penguin classics, and owned a set of the EB's sibling the Great Books of the Western World), and had at least 2000 books in my personal library. But two years ago I donated 99.9% of them to a new library in Ghana. Now I own about 20 books, use the library, but somehow still manage to read over 100 books a year ( currently reading William Gaddis). I read online or borrow books from the GA state library system. My laptop is a better library than most university libraries just 20 years ago. Let the clutter go and save a tree. Final thought: was it really the books themselves that we all loved, or the fact that we could display them to others and feel smarter because they crowded our shelves?

complex sentence

“The dog smelled popcorn” is an independent clause; “which was popping at the county fair” is a dependent clause.

A compound-complex sentence has two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause—so, it combines two complete sentences and one incomplete sentence. Here is an example:

compound-complex sentence

The dog smelled popcorn (independent clause)

which was popping at the county fair (dependent clause)

so (conjunction)

he ran all the way there (independent clause)

The dog smelled popcorn, which was popping at the county fair, so, he ran all the way there.

The result of combining the three clauses and the conjunction is a compound-complex sentence.

Aside from having the parts listed earlier, two things are very important for writing sentences: word order and punctuation.

Word order is important: it’s what makes your sentences make sense. The most common word order is subject + verb + object .

Word order subject + verb + object

For example:

The fox (subject) + eats (verb) + pancakes (object).

When writing a sentence, make sure the verb comes after the subject, and the object comes after the verb. Otherwise, it won’t make sense, like here:

Eats pancakes the fox. (verb + object + subject)

Pancakes the fox eats. (object + subject + verb)

In a sentence, punctuation can be as important as the words you use! Using the wrong marks at the wrong time can make a sentence confusing or even change its meaning. Here are a few key ways we use punctuation:

period (.) question mark (?) exclamation mark (!) comma (,) quotation marks (“”)

There are a lot of rules to remember about sentences, so sometimes it’s easy to make a mistake. Along from knowing your grammar rules and sentences structures, it’s important to include the right amount of information in a sentence. If you include too much or too little, it can lead to two very common types of problem sentences: run-on sentences and fragment sentences. Being able to recognize them can help you avoid them in your own writing.

In simple terms, a run-on sentence is a sentence that is too long. Sometimes a writer doesn’t use the right punctuation, so the sentence seems like it “runs on” for too long. For example:

run-on sentence

The fox really liked pancakes and he ate them every day for breakfast but he couldn’t eat them without syrup and butter.

But, with the right punctuation, this can be a normal compound sentence:

The fox really liked pancakes: he ate them every day for breakfast; but he couldn’t eat them without syrup and butter!

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Posted by: Sara Vincent , Posted on: - Categories: Best practice

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for reviewing content and got a lot of questions about sentence length.

The Service Design Manual explains how people read and why sentences longer than 25 words aren't accessible.

In the style guide we’re now saying that if you have sentences longer than 25 words, try to break them up or condense them. If you can’t, make sure they’re in plain English.

When you write more, peopleunderstand less

GOV.UK should be an authoritative, trusted source. This means we need to write in a way everybody understands. We know people distrust jargon and that being clear and direct helps - as do shorter sentences.

Writing guru Ann Wylie describes research showing that when average sentence length is 14 words, readers understand more than 90% of what they’re reading. At 43 words, comprehensiondrops to less than 10%.

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that sentences of 11 words are considered easy to read, while those of 21 words are fairly difficult. At 25 words, sentences become difficult, and 29 words or longer, very difficult.

People don’t read

Long sentences aren't just difficultfor people who struggle with reading or have a cognitive disability like dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They're also a problemfor highly literate people with extensive vocabularies.

This is partly because people tend to scan, not read . In fact, most people only read around 25% of what’s on a page. This means it’s important to get information across quickly.

If it’s complex, make it simple

Long, complicated sentences force users to slow down and work harder to understand what they’re reading. This isn’t something people want to do, even if they’re familiar with the subject or language you’re using.

It’s easy to assume this isn’t the case for highly literate readers or people considered experts. Yet the more educated a person is, and the more specialist their knowledge, the more they want it in plain English .

These people often have the least time and most to read. Which means they just want to understand your point and move on, quickly.

Cut through the noise

It’s also important to think about how people access your content. They might be in a busy office, fighting for space on a crowded train or peering at their mobile in bed.

They don’t have time to deconstruct sentences and contemplate clauses, they just want you to get to the point.Doing thisshows you respect your reader’s time, interest and attention.

If you write short sentences using plain English, it’ll help more people understand your content. And by making it more accessible, you won’t just help your busiest readers, you’ll open it up to people who might otherwise struggle to understand it.

The information in this blogpost may now be out of date. See the current GOV.UK content and publishing guidance .

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