“How to Write a Sentence”
by James Thomas
“Well, here you are, looking at this, trying, hoping, floundering, scrabbling, wishing, dying to find out the mystery of “how to” write a sentence. Or possibly you have tried write sentence and failed utterly. Never mind and never fear. I am an, thankfully, expert of sentences. Read on and be disbelieving! There is much to have taught you, and little time, so very, very little and small time.
Where shall/should you/one start/begin? At the start/beginning, of course! You ought always, and in everything you do, to begin a sentence at the beginning. It is simply no good to start in the middle and work your way out. I guarantee that you will become confused and have to sit down, or lie down if you’re already sitting, and perhaps turn off the lights and do some breathing.
Ideally, you’ll aim to begin on the left (in this case, with the word “ideally”), head right (through the middle of the sentence), and stop at the far end of the sentence (in this case, right here).
Sentences have been around since the dawn of paragraphs, and indeed since before that, for sentences are essentially the building blobs of a paragraph. Right here, if you’re looking closely enough, you may notice that what you are now reading in fact is a sentence. But also—some will have noticed even more well—what you are reading is a paragraph. And I could go further than that, even, to declare that you are also reading words, letters, and indeed this entire page. Nobody thought you could do it, but here we are now and aren’t you having a good time?
Even furthermore, you’re reading everything that has ever been wrote, but you’re starting with just this bit, because reading everything at once would be too much for anyone to attempt. Too much words in one go is unacceptable, and your writing should reflect that. Keep it concise and don’t stuff your sentence with unnecessary, superfluous, gratuitous content that smothers your prose, muddies your intentions, confuses the reader, clogs up the page with excess text, pads out the work with inelegant drivels, irritates the eye, examines giraffes, and renders your point unclear.
Also, keep your paragraphs short.
How importan is spelling? Well, very important. I don’t know why anyone would even ask that. If you have any sef-respect, you ought to be diligent about and with regard to spelling. If words are the bulding blocks of a sentence—and I would argue that yes, they are—then spelling is the stuff that holds them togteher.
Why sentences? Well, that question answers itself, really. Look at it: “Why sentences?” There’s something missing, isn’t there? I’ll tell you: yes. What’s missing is the rest of the words. And it’s shoddy. It’s shoddy and lazy. It’s shoddy and lazy and frustrating, sticking out there like a bad piece of junk. I’m disappointed on both our behalves. It could have read:
Why is sentences good?
Why are we be using sentences?
Why sentences appropriate?
Why should I do sentences?
All of the above is correct. Give yourself a clap if you knew that. You’re well on your way to being really good at this!
But to answer your original question, I would say that there are certain things what can be only expressed by means of a sentence. You can’t say, “I hurt my ankle but it’s not so bad that I need to visit the hospital” in a word. You could try, but the closest you’ll get is “mnngrweh.” Not sufficient.
Consider, then, the number of sentences required to describe a situation in which your ankle has been hurt in complicated sport on the roof of a hospital, but you’ve noticed it too late and you’re already on your way home in that decommissioned ambulance you’ve been driving because you thought it’d be useful for storing sports equipment, but you’ve found that people expect you to stop when there’s a roadside medical emergency, so you’re thinking about selling it to avoid all the hassle, but now you find that you’re having trouble operating the brake pedal because of your ankle injury, which you previously thought wasn’t particularly serious, and now you feel anxious when you approach intersections, but you’d probably have to wait for hours to be seen if you were to turn around and race back to the hospital, so you decide instead to swerve across the next field because there’s a restaurant on the other side with plenty of ice.
What makes a good sentence? Well, perhaps you should be asking, “What makes a bad sentence?” and then doing none of those things. Bad sentences are everywhere. Let’s compare these two versions of the same sentence:
Puppies are the best.
Kittens are the best.
Now, one of them is bad and the other is obviously the good one. So there’s something to think about. Don’t feel like you’re under any pressure, though! Mistakes are whom makes us what we are. You can only learn by falling off the horse, then climbing up the horse again. Take it one word at a time and take regular breaks. Never lose track of the central idea of the sentence, because if you do, then by the end it any won’t any make sense.”