How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One

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If you know sentences, you know everything. Good sentences promise nothing less than lessons and practice in the organization of the world. Some appreciate fine art; others appreciate fine wines. Stanley Fish appreciates fine sentences. "The New York Times" columnist and world-class professor has long been an aficionado of language: I am always on the lookout for sentences that take your breath away, for sentences that make you say, 'Isn't that something?' or What a sentence! Like a seasoned sportscaster, Fish marvels at ...

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BobCumbow

Aug 4, 2011

Getting Good Writing Down

For Prof. Fish, good writing begins with good sentences. His first couple of chapters nail down some principles about sentence writing and how sentences set up and guide (or sometimes subvert) the reader's expectation. He then narrows his inquiry to consideration of sentences from specifically satirical works, and the book sags a little as some of the sentences he chooses (and some of the ones he writes himself) prove unsatisfying examples of what he appears to advocate. But don't quit. The chapters on great opening sentences and especially great closing sentences are worth the price of the book.

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