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When is a sentence not a sentence?

There is no perfect mechanical way of determining sentence-breaks. For example, a heading may well have no final full stop but would normally not be considered part of the sentence which follows it. And a sentence may often have no final full stop, if what follows it is a list of items.

The algorithm used by Aligner is: a sentence ends when it meets the requirements explained in the definition of a sentence. The same routine is used as in WordList.


Consider this chunk from A Tale of Two Cities:

"Wo-ho!" said the coachman. "So, then! One more pull and you're at the top and be damned to you, for I have had trouble enough to get you to it! - Joe!"


Aligner will mistakenly consider - Joe! as a separate sentence, but handles "Wo-ho!" said the coachman. as one: though the program would split it in two if the word after ho! had a capital lettter (e.g. in Wild Bill, the coachman, said.)


Aligner cannot therefore be expected to handle all sentence boundaries exactly as you would. (I saw Mr. Smith. would be considered two sentences; several headings may be bundled together as one sentence.) For this reason you can choose Find Short Sentences to seek out any odd one-word sentences.


See also: Aligner contents


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