How to Write a Sentence

How to Write a Sentence



The Pequod Review:

This short book is a love letter to the sentence, a unit of prose that Stanley Fish evaluates and appreciates as its own unique form of art:

Some people are bird watchers, others are celebrity watchers; still others are flora and fauna watchers. I belong to the tribe of sentence watchers. Some appreciate fine art; others appreciate fine wines. I appreciate fine sentences... The skill it takes to produce a sentence -- the skill of linking events, actions, and objects in a strict logic -- is also the skill of creating a world... Even the simplest first sentence is on its toes, beckoning us to the next sentence and the next and the next, promising us insights, complications, crises, and, sometimes, resolutions.

Fish provides numerous great examples of well-crafted sentences -- serious readers will appreciate it for these alone -- as well as a detailed discussion of sentence structures, the relative importance of style versus content, and the functions of different types of sentences depending on their location in a book. Fish also offers some exercises to help aspiring writers improve their craft.