How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One- FFR

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One (2011)- Stanely Fish

Verdict: Think about it.

Let me start by saying that I love this book, not because I necessarily learned how to write great sentences, but because I read a lot of them. That very same point may be the problem many have with this book. Ultimately, Stanely Fish argues for the repetition and mimicry of great sentences, not the construction of wholly original ones, and that could feel a little cheap to some readers.

To give some push back—Fish’s approach is really just a practical version of the writer mantra, “Read better writing in order to produce better writing.” And in the case of this book, the reader will read many-many great sentences. Of course that’s a value judgement itself. What makes a sentence great? Fish will argue for sentences with his favorite aesthetics, will help you begin to point those out more easily, and help you begin to write sentences with similar qualities. It will not be the case for everyone, but I tended to agree with Fish’s aesthetics and felt his mimicry exercise was a great springboard for better writing. You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself. Think about it.

QOL: beauty

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