Those who are reading this article probably know “、”; Punctuation Mark. Have you thought about how many times you can use “、” in a sentence before? At least, I have. Even native speakers are sometime wondering about this point. Thus, I will show you the best length of sentences, especially for your Japanese script and how to use it with a real example.
The Best Length of Sentences for Your Japanese Script
Let me get straight to the answer: the best length of sentences for your Japanese script is approximately 40 letters. For the sake of easy understanding, I have written both of examples, good and bad as below. It is sometimes shortened or lengthened depending on the context. However, you can consider that 40 letters are the basic.
Bad Example: 20, 15, 11, 13, plus 17 letters are too short respectively.
Bad Example: 73 letters are too long
Good Example: 35 plus 38 letters are appropriate.
“Because of a hereditary recklessness, I have always been playing a losing game since my childhood.” And “During my grammar school days, I was once laid up for about a week by jumping from the second story of the school building.”
How to adjust Japanese sentence lengths
This is simple. When you would like to shorten your sentences, try to use conjunction instead of conjunctive particle. When lengthening your sentences, try to do the opposite.
Short version: 今朝は雨だった。なので、私は傘を持ってきた。
It was rain this morning. So I brought my umbrella.
Long version: 今朝は雨だったので、私は傘を持ってきた。
It was rain this morning and so I brought my umbrella.
In comparison with the sentences above, the later one sounds more natural. From the view of native speakers, if short sentences continue in a row, it may look like childlike in a sense. Please noted, this is in the case of “continue in a row”. There is a technique to make your sentence liveliness by putting some short sentences.
Both of the sentences mean “One day, the earthquake of magnitude of 8 suddenly hit Japan.” However, the former one sounds more narrative.
- The length of sentences for your Japanese script should be within 40 letters.
- If sentences would be longer than that, please separate them by conjunctions.
- Don’t continue short sentences in a row.
The above are the basic idea when writing your Japanese script. Of course, I know in practice native speakers sometimes don’t follow the typical ideas. Yet, I still think that Japanese learners should follow the basics at first to get a feel of the language. Once you have accumulated enough experience with native expressions, you can go to your on way.
Author and English Editor
Author – Takuya Tokiwa
Takuya is the co-founder, Project Director of Wasabi and a serial entrepreneur in the education field. He is utilizing all of his knowledge and experiences for innovating Japanese learning.
English Editor – Reka, Blue Kangaroo
Reka has been working as a native English teacher for the past 4 years and teaching students of all ages, background and ability, from 8-88 years of age, from absolute beginner to fluent. If you have any inquiry related English, please visit here.