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First You Write a Sentence.

by Joe Moran

  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 30th October 2019
ISBN: 9780241978511
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  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 30th October 2019
ISBN: 9780241978511

Publisher Description

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.

Enter widely-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. Along the way he reveals 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.

Author Biography

Joe Moran is Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and is the author of six books, including Queuing for Beginners- The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime, Armchair Nation- An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV and Shrinking Violets- A Field Guide to Shyness.


Exquisite...Moran's own sentences are so deliciously epigrammatic that I considered giving up chocolate in favour of re-reading his book...He is more mentor than instructor -- Irina Dumitrescu TLS Humane and witty . . . as a primer in generous and lively writing, First You Write a Sentence is blithe and convincing New York Times Compelling . . . There's plenty in Moran's book to delight grammar and language nerds -- Daniel Hahn The Spectator Moran is a past master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction. His trick is to take what might be considered a perfectly ordinary behaviour ... and uncover fact after fascinating fact -- Helen Davies Sunday Times Moran's genius is to show us what was right in front of us all along -- Bee Wilson Joe Moran is a wonderfully gifted social historian...he has the poet's ability to find the remarkable in the commonplace -- Craig Brown Whether you're composing an ad for a shop or embarking on your first literary masterpiece, it is indispensable. As an inspiration to savour every encounter, to train your lazy brain to be alert to a beautifully devised phrase, a poetic alleviation, a mood-changing bon mot, it is even more rewarding -- Jane Annie Big Issue Moran is a wonderful, witty writer, and here he surpasses himself -- Marcus Berkmann (on Shrinking Violets) Daily Mail Moran is a past master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction. -- Helen Davies Sunday Times Moran has fast become Britain's foremost explorer and explainer of the disregarded -- Juliet Gardiner, author of 'Wartime: Britain 1939-1945' Joe Moran is the most perceptive and original observer of British life that we have -- Matthew Engel Joe Moran is a wonderfully sharp writer, calm, precise and quietly comical . . . Moran's own sentences are perfect advertisements for the aims they espouse -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday Thoughtful, engaging, and lively expose of the quirks and beauties of the full sentence . . . It's a style guide by stealth: 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 What a lovely thing this is: a book that delights in the sheer textural joy of good sentences. Joe Moran has written a book about writing that is itself a collection of sentences to inspire, divert and console. Any aspiring writer should read it, if only to be reminded how crazily hard it is to write words 'in such a way that they can be deciphered in your absence' -- Bee Wilson Thoughtful reflections on how to write well -- John Mullan Guardian Review Joe Moran has a genius for turning the prosaic poetic -- Peter Hennessy

Product Details

Joe Moran
Penguin Books Ltd
The Elements of Reading, Writing ... and Life.
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Publication Date
Short Title
First You Write a Sentence