“Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence,
that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges
on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.”
-- Mark Twain
Try this sentence on for size.
The notion that our company’s critical infrastructures are highly interconnected and mutually dependent in complex ways, both physically and through a host of information and communication technologies (so-called “cyber-based systems”), is more than an abstract, theoretical concept.The kind of stuff that makes you tired before the day is half over, right?
So let's look at a rewrite by Ed Barr, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
Our company’s critical infrastructures depend on each other greatly. They are highly interconnected and mutually dependent in complex ways, through a host of information and communication technologies (so-called “cyber-based systems”) and through physical interconnectedness.Still boring, but now you understand it. Barr's analysis:
How many words separate the Subject ("notion") from the Verb ("is") in the example sentence above? 28!! Yep, 28 words separate the Subject from the Verb. If the reader wants to know what is being affirmed (the Verb) about whom (the Subject), the reader (you) will have a helluva time figuring it out.
You may still not prefer my revised sentence for a variety of reasons; for example, you might say it uses too many multi-syllable words (and it does) and it uses some technical language. Nonetheless, you should be able to grasp its meaning more readily because in the new sentence the Subject “infrastructures” and the Verb “depend” sit next to each other. (I have also changed the sentence to active voice and split it into two sentences.) But, note: when you keep the Subject and Verb close together, readers will have essential information and an essential understanding of the sentence. Therefore, when you write, examine the first few words of all your sentences to look for the Subject and Verb.I hope, of course, that you aren't reading this, thus depriving me of a potential revenue stream.