Site Feedback

Resolved questions
Do long sentences create troubles to English speakers in comprehension?

Long English sentences make themselves harder to understand for Chinese people who are learning English, therefore there are books particularly dealing with this problems. I am wondering if it is a problem for native English speakers when the sentence is very long? The following is an example for long sentences:

That no Chinese person shall be permitted to enter the United States by land without producing to the proper officer of customs the certificate in this act required of Chinese persons seeking to land from a vessel. And any Chinese person found unlawfully within the United States shall be caused to be removed there from to the country from whence he came, by direction of the President of the United States, and at the cost of the United States, after being brought before some justice, judge, or commissioner of a court of the United States and found to be one not lawfully entitled to be or remain in the United States.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

Share:

1 comment

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

     

    Answers

    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    Your example is of legal or bureaucratic writing and, speaking for myself, I would say that this type of sentence can be confusing to a native speaker. Although I am an educated person, I often have to read some such sentences a number of times to fully comprehend the meaning.
    Long. detailed sentences seem to be necessary in the legal profession to convey a precise meaning. In contrast, a writer of action stories would prefer short, direct sentences to convey rapid action.

    I can sympathize with the Chinese student's difficult task in learning English because of the nature of our language. 一般说来英语重形合,强调结构的完整性和形态的严谨性,而汉语重意合,强调内容和表意的完整性。

    Zeus! although I am not a native English speaker but it is well-known that every language has a certain order to put the things in a sentence. English too has definitely some certain orders and rules to put the things. Even in long sentences, the order can not be ignored. So, a good knowledge of that order may make it easy to comprehend long sentences.

    Submit your answer


    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.