let comma heads, as it were, prevail

A colleague mentioned another colleague’s having found a sentence with sixteen commas in it – “what may have been a record.” Well, who can pass up a challenge like that? I think, if one puts one’s mind, or whatever it may be, to it, one might, with a bit of effort – and perhaps, deliberately, some elliptical constructions, if you know what I mean, or even if you don’t – construct a sentence, and not some Joycean sentence, which would go on for pages, but merely a sentence of, at most, a few lines, making such length as one might find, say, in an academic essay, that has at least as many as, say, thirty-six commas in it, plus, perhaps, some dashes, although there is, admittedly, the risk – or, if you will, the styistic choice – of its sounding rather, shall we say, jumpy, or like some sort of Victorian, or even Edwardian, rambling, and, by the end, leaving the reader a bit out of breath.

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