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Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.
If you are annoyed by run-on sentences that reach three lines, then you would be flabbergasted to see the longest English literary sentence. It can be found in The Rotter's Club by Jonathan Coe. The sentence is 13,955 words long and covers 33 pages.
For the longest time, Victor Hugo was credited with the longest sentence when he reached 823 words in Les Miserables. But that "record" was simply misinformation published. It is a long sentence, but it is far from the longest. The Rotters Club wasn't published until 2001, but Ulysses by James Joyce still had a 4,391-word sentence.
When you take other languages into account, things get trickier. A Polish novel called the Gates of Paradise has a sentence that is over 40,000. There's also a 128-page book that is one long sentence called Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal. The exact word count isn't known by many, so good luck finding it. Though in the end, it probably has the longest sentence in literature considering the whole book is one sentence.
The average length of a sentence is 15-25 words. Any longer, and word is, things become hard to follow. Studies show that 14 words are ideal for slower readers to grasp what they are reading. So, what does that mean for those 14,000 words sentences? Well, to be fair, Jonathan Coe created his long sentence on purpose. It was inspired by Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age. Who knew? You do now!
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