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Section 6.10

Choppy Sentences

Avoid using too many short sentences that will create choppyprose. Vary your sentence types and combineshort related sentences by making some elements dependent clauses or phrases.

Compare the following choppy sentences and the revised version(as the author actually wrote it).


Weak

Adaptive optics is an electronic feedback mechanism capableof correcting for the distorting effects of the earth'satmosphere It allows much sharper images of astronomical objects. Because of moving pockets of air and changes in temperature, theearth's atmosphere is constantly shimmering. Such shimmeringcauses passing light rays to bend one way then another. Ineffect, the shifting atmosphere acts as a rapidly changing lens. It smears out and defocuses images. In adaptive optics,motorized cushions are placed behind the telescope's secondarymirror. They constantly reshape the mirror's surface tocounteract the defocusing effect of the atmosphere. [choppy]

Improved

Adaptive optics is an electronic feedback mechanism capableof correcting for the distorting effects of the earth'satmosphere and thus allowing much sharper images of astronomicalobjects. The earth's atmosphere is constantly shimmering, becauseof moving pockets of air and changes in temperature, and suchshimmering causes passing light rays to bend one way thenanother. In effect, the shifting atmosphere acts as a rapidlychanging lens, smearing out and defocusing images. In adaptiveoptics, motorized cushions are placed behind the telescope'ssecondary mirror and constantly reshape the mirror's surface tocounteract the defocusing effect of the atmosphere. [original]

--Alan Lightman, Ancient Light


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