Originally published on Goodreads

How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One

How to write a sentence and how to read one by Stanley Fish is a book tasked with the formidable task to teach the reader how to write and read sentences. Fish tries in this book to explain the basic components of a sentence and show how there are certain forms that can be combined and modified in near-infinite ways.

The book started out very well by explaining the purpose of a sentence and show the simple form (kind of a recipe) of a sentence. Unfortunately after chapter 1 you might as well skip the rest of the book. The rest of the book is simply Fish rambling on about a few selected styles of sentences. One chapter could be about satiric sentences where Fish then shows a variety of satiric sentences after which he analyzes each and every one of them. At some point I stopped caring and instead skimmed through the book looking for insights and not just Fish’s opinions about the sentences.

Fish spends a bit of time explaining why The Elements of Style is a bad book for learning how to write. I haven’t read The Elements of Style but one thing is certain: I did not gain any knowledge on how to either read or write a sentence from How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One which makes that criticism of Elements of Style a bit moot.

I would not recommend this book to anyone.

1 out of 5 stars.