That's how I started out my manifesto to the head of a enterprise editing written material by those in China for whom English is a second language.
"And when the audiences for the material are those kinds of audiences in China, then, certainly, we primarily use compound and complex sentence structures. But when the 'target markets' are in America, standard should be short simple sentences.
"Along with that, of course, should be sentence variation. That's the element of style. So, here and there, yes, we would include compound and complex sentences.
"Even the newspaper of record - The New York Times - has stylistically shifted to fewer convoluted sentences."
The specific target market I was referring to was an elite university in the U.S. The business owner in China and I were going back and forth editing the draft of a Chinese student's personal statement on an application for that institution of higher learning.
My point was that the admissions committee, seeing all those run-on sentences, would assume the applicant in China would have difficulty with both classroom and everyday communications in the U.S. That could knock him out of the box in being admitted.
For years I had ghostwritten articles for experts in teaching English as a Second Language. The topic of several of them was this: Too many students from foreign nations attending American schools failed academically and were isolated socially because they were illiterate in how English is actually used in daily life. That was even though they had passed examinations given to test English language proficiency.
I won most of the argument. Simplification it would be.
Meanwhile, I wonder what other hopeful strivers around the world are not achieving their goals because of editing based on anachronistic stylistics. In addition to school admissions offices turning them down, there could be publishers of English-language journals and recruiters for jobs who are tossing their written material.
However, this is a problem not only for those who are not native speakers of English. In my career coaching of the over-50, I have also found that outmoded styles in written material and interviews can also knock them out of the box. Essentially, they come across as "out of touch." The "tells" include those same kinds of long-winded sentences. The hiring folk roll their eyes.
There used to be the saying: Style is the man. In 2018, style is a competitive weapon.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.