When I skimmed this column by Ralph Routon on, I assumed that it consisted completely of single-sentence paragraphs, but unfortunately he’s thrown in a couple of multi-sentencers halfway through. Tabloids do it, American teachers may have encouraged it with their practice of making pupils create a backbone to be fleshed into paragraphs, but I’m curious as to when/where/how one-sentence-per-paragraph style originated–it is not by any means confined to Texas–and to where it’s headed. For example, I wonder whether Mr Routon’s opening might not have more effective spaced thus:

Just one week until leaving for the Olympics, and several questions dominate every conversation with people who know about me going to the Summer Games.

Shouldn’t journalists be afraid of terrorism?

Shouldn’t all of us covering the Olympics wonder whether we’re putting our lives at risk?

Haven’t we in the media wondered whether perhaps it would be smart to stay home?

Despite everything going on in the world, and the proximity of Greece to a volatile region, my answer isn’t what you might expect.

No, I’m not scared.

Now everything’s digital there’s no cost impact, so why not? If Elias Canetti was right when he (allegedly) said that “Success is the space one occupies in the newspaper“, then reading online could become a much more leisurely experience.

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  1. I serialised a 199-word sentence back here. It may be that the number of livestock on the mountain is staying the same but that the fences separating them are being removed.

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