I was listening to a speech on writing by Steven Pinker. He informed his listeners that one of the classic guidelines to good styling in writing, which he states goes back to Sanskrit grammarians is “put the heavy stuff at the end of the sentence”. He submits an example: The wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, not The E Street Shuffle, the Innocent and the Wild. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The heavy stuff goes at the end.
He informs that this is true in almost every level of linguistic structure; the polysyllabic word goes after the monosyllabic word as in, kit and caboodle not caboodle and kit. He suggests that part of it is the metre and that good prose is enlivened by moments of poetry.
Do all writers follow this form of style? Are there any examples of excellent writers who have ignored this practice of style? I haven’t done any research, but I was curious. I’m certain that there must be, for there are many writers who flout grammatical rules.
What say you?