Longest day? - Longest word, sentence and novel

Well - that was a nice weekend. Did you enjoy 'the longest day?'
Was that you I spotted dancing naked round a bonfire in your back garden - maintaining social distance at all times of course?

So - from longest days to longest words, sentences and novels.

The longest word in the English language?

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis - an unpleasant lung condition caused by the inhalation of volcanic dust.

The longest sentence ever written?

Strictly speaking, there isn't one. In theory, you can make a sentence as long as you like.

The mouse ran away.

The mouse that the cat chased ran away.

The mouse that the cat that the dog that the man frightened and chased ran away.

etc etc

Impressed? No - me neither, but you might like to know this process of embedding sentences within others is known as 'recursion'.

As for the longest sentence in print - 13,955 words long, you'll find it in the novel, The Rotters' Club, by Jonathan Coe.

The longest novel?

If we're going by the number of words, as opposed to pages, Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus wins the prize. Published in the 17th century, the hefty tome was penned by Madeleine de Scudéry and runs to a mere half a million words. The average length of a thriller, by the way, is around 100,000 words. Perhaps you'll appreciate why it's been a while since I picked up my own copy of Artamene.

No matter. It makes a handy doorstop.


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Jun 21, 2020
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