First You Write a Sentence
'What a lovely thing this is: a book that delights in the sheer textural joy of good sentences ... Any writer should read it' Bee Wilson
'Thoughtful, engaging, and lively ... when you've read it, you realise you've changed your attitude to writing (and reading)' John Simpson, formerly Chief Editor of the OED and author of The Word Detective
The sentence is the common ground where every writer walks. A poet writes in sentences, but so does the unsung author who came up with Items trapped in doors cause delays. A good sentence can be written (and read) by anyone if we simply give it the gift of our time, and it is as close as most of us will get to making something truly beautiful.
Enter acclaimed author Professor Joe Moran. Using minimal technical terms, First You Write a Sentence is his unpedantic but authoritative explanation of how the most ordinary words can be turned into verbal constellations of extraordinary grace. Using sources ranging from the Bible and Shakespeare to George Orwell and Maggie Nelson, and scientific studies of what can best fire the reader's mind, he shows how we can all write in a way that is clear, compelling and alive.
Whether dealing with finding the ideal word, building a sentence or constructing a paragraph, First You Write a Sentence informs by light example: much richer than a style guide, it can be read not just for instruction but for pleasure and delight. And along the way it shows how good writing can help us notice the world, make ourselves known to others and live more meaningful lives. It's an elegant gem in praise of the English sentence.
'Moran is a past master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction' Helen Davies, Sunday Times
'Joe Moran has a genius for turning the prosaic poetic' Peter Hennessy