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How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One Hardcover – Jan 25 2011
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“Both deeper and more democratic than The Elements of Style.” (Financial Times)
“A guided tour through some of the most beautiful, arresting sentences in the English language.” (Slate)
“[Fish] shares his connoisseurship of the elegant sentence.” (The New Yorker)
“Stanley Fish just might be America’s most famous professor.” (BookPage)
“How to Write a Sentence is a compendium of syntactic gems—light reading for geeks.” (New York magazine)
“How to Write a Sentence isn’t merely a prescriptive guide to the craft of writing but a rich and layered exploration of language as an evolving cultural organism. It belongs not on the shelf of your home library but in your brain’s most deep-seated amphibian sensemaking underbelly.” (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings)
“[Fish’s] approach is genially experiential—a lifelong reader’s engagement whose amatory enthusiasm is an attempt to overthrow Strunk & White’s infamous insistences on grammar by rote.” (New York Observer)
“In this small feast of a book Stanley Fish displays his love of the English sentence. His connoisseurship is broad and deep, his examples are often breathtaking, and his analyses of how the masterpieces achieve their effects are acute and compelling.” (New Republic)
“A sentence is, in John Donne’s words, ‘a little world made cunningly,’ writes Fish. He’ll teach you the art.” (People)
“This splendid little volume describes how the shape of a sentence controls its meaning.” (Boston Globe)
“Like a long periodic sentence, this book rumbles along, gathers steam, shifts gears, and packs a wallop.” (Roy Blount Jr.)
“Language lovers will flock to this homage to great writing.” (Booklist)
“Fish is a personable and insightful guide with wide-ranging erudition and a lack of pretension.” (National Post)
“For both aspiring writer and eager reader, Fish’s insights into sentence construction and care are instructional, even inspirational.” (The Huffington Post)
“If you love language you’ll find something interesting, if not fascinating, in [How to Write a Sentence].” (CBSNews.com)
“[A] slender but potent volume. Fish, a distinguished law professor and literary theorist, is the anti-Strunk & White.” (The Globe and Mail)
“You’d get your money’s worth from the quotations alone…if you give this book the attention it so clearly deserves, you will be well rewarded.” (Washington Times)
“The fun comes from the examples cited throughout: John Updike, Jane Austen…all are cited throughout.” (Washington Post)
“How to Write a Sentence is the first step on the journey to the Promised Land of good writing.” (Saudi Gazette)
“How to Write a Sentence is a must read for aspiring writers and anyone who wants to deepen their appreciation of literature. If extraordinary sentences are like sports plays, Fish is the Vin Scully of great writing.” (Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, authors of "They Say/I Say")
“Coming up with all-or-nothing arguments is simply what Fish does; and, in a sense, one of his most important contributions to the study of literature is that temperament…Whether people like Fish or not, though, they tend to find him fascinating.” (The New Yorker)
From the Back Cover
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. Like a seasoned sportscaster, Fish marvels at the adeptness of finely crafted sentences and breaks them down into digestible morsels, giving readers an instant play-by-play.
In this entertaining and erudite gem, Fish offers both sentence craft and sentence pleasure, skills invaluable to any writer (or reader). How to Write a Sentence is both a spirited love letter to the written word and a key to understanding how great writing works; it is a book that will stand the test of time.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For starters, sentences aren't REALLY what you might think they are; a dry collection of 'parts', strung together with Leggo connections and 'rules', though the rules and the stringing together are important. This fertile bundle of revelations will get you thinking about things WAY beyond grammar - all the way to how sentence structure colours reality (but, don't worry, it's not essential that you do so).
The book jacket has one of the reviewers describing the author as the "Vin Scully of great writing". That sells Fish short by a country mile or more - sportscasters merely describe WHAT happened; Fish unpacks sentences in a manner that gets at the heart of WHY.
I have a love/hate relationship with many small books. I'm not ambivalent about this one. If you want to get a sense of writing as an organic process, some fascinating perspectives on writing generally and some memorable literary signposts, you won't be disappointed with this book.
The chapters about first and last sentences are simply delightful. I think I will never again read a book without paying careful attention to the opening and closing line again!
My only complaint is that the last couple pages are far annoyingly sentimental and gushy.
Most recent customer reviews
Buy one for yourself and another to inspire someone. I promise that if you read it before your next writing of anything, you will admire your prose.Published 18 months ago by Jose Pereira
Just the sections on additive and subordinating styles made this a worthwhile read. I would recommend this to all. CheersPublished on May 12 2014 by E. Krebs