Sentence Splitting Part 2

Editor’s note: first read the guide to the basics of sentence splitting.

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Machu Picchu

The below example is based upon an actual translation but is not unique.

Original translation: 

Located in Peru, Machu Picchu, which is 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail, is a 15th-century Inca site that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

Problem: The above contains six clauses (sections separated by commas). There is too much information here for one sentence. By the time you reach the end, you’ve almost forgotten what it was about.

Solution:

Step 1: Split up into these clauses, line by line

Located in Peru,
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site
which is 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail,
that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

Step 2: Identify what is most important (the main clause, in blue) and what is secondary (the sub-clauses, in orange) then pull out the simplest full sentence you can see

Located in Peru,
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site
which is 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail,
that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

Step 3: Ensure the important parts are near the beginning of the first sentence (including any sub-clauses that don’t break the flow of the sentence)

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site in Peru that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

Explanation: An opening sentence saying only “Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site” would sound too short and robotic. You can add more information to the sentence, as long as it’s not too long. In this case, the that in the that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” indicates it is not a sub-clause but part of the main thrust of the sentence (you can learn more about that and which here).

Step 4: Put the remaining information into a second sentence (or more if necessary)

which is 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail,

[The site] which is [situated] 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail,.

The site is situated 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail.

Step 5: Bring the sentences back together

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site in Peru that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” The site is situated at 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and can be reached by train or by foot, via the legendary Inca Trail.

Step 6: Copyedit for style, inconsistencies and so on

Machu Picchu cannot be accessed by train via the Inca Trail. It can be accessed only by foot via the Inca trail. The comma needs moving.

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site in Peru that has been called one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” The site is situated at 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level, and can be reached by train, or by foot via the legendary Inca Trail.

Much better.

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