After we went through a few more paragraphs consolidating sentences, we looked at his average sentence length. Considering his love of prepositions, as you can bet, he had a lot of sentences that tended to string along. We took one sentence and isolated all of the ideas in it. There were about four. I explained how too many prepositions can lead to “overstuffed” sentences. Because there were four different ideas in this one sentence, it sort of downplayed all of them, whereas, if he had only one or two ideas in the sentence, they would seem like they were weighted heavier. This was my way of trying to get him to think rhetorically about his preposition problem.
Management and compromise is key in every consultation. Though we only got through four pages of his paper, the student left the writing center happy. And he definitely had some tricks up his sleeve for later.