Tag Archives: Donald Trump’s language

And the Prize for the Longest (Unintelligible) Sentence Goes To…

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I don’t have to tell you who spoke the long chunk of words below. The passage is full of fragments, stream of consciousness musings, and run-on sentences. What is a run-on sentence? Not every long sentence constitutes a run-on. You could join countless sentences together with ands and buts and subordinate clauses; it would be torture to read or listen to, but it wouldn’t be a run-on.

A run-on is when you join two or more intact sentences (subject, verb, complete thought) with either (1) commas, sometimes called a comma splice, or (2) no punctuation between them, sometimes called a fused sentence:

(1) You love dogs, some people adore hamsters.   (2) You love dogs some people adore hamsters.

You can fix these sentences by making them separate sentences with end punctuation. Or you can add a conjunction after the comma. You can also separate them with a semicolon.

I’m thinking it might be beneficial to have people pass a literacy test before running for president.

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger, fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

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Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Performances

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A reader suggested I write about the language Hillary Clinton used during the long, long campaign. My reaction was that it was a good idea and I will try to do that here. I have to state that she was far from my ideal candidate: honestly, I am tired of Clintons (and Bushes). Bernie Sanders was direct and forceful, but I didn’t think he would win in the general election. My ideal candidate would have been Elizabeth Warren, and I hope she will decide to run in 2020.

Meanwhile, back to Clinton’s language. Instead of specific words and phrases, I think more about her overall presentation. She was always well groomed and carried herself well. She was able to keep a placid face during the debates, even when insults were shooting her way. The one word I thought was reprehensible was when she referred to Trump’s supporters as a basket of “deplorables.” I have no idea who wrote that for her—perhaps it was her own word choice—but someone should have quashed it immediately. With that one word she painted every Trump supporter as unworthy, and if any of them had been considering voting for her, that single word killed that chance.

My main complaint about her campaigning style was when she was in front of large crowds and took to shouting. Her voice was raspy and grating. She had microphones everywhere, so the shouting was unnecessary. She could have conveyed her enthusiasm with a less annoying voice. Interestingly, I thought her concession speech was wonderful: she spoke calmly, convincingly and conversationally. She’s smart and diligent and very likely will do something productive with her time.

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language