Writing Stronger Sentences

That’s what you want to do, isn’t it? Build up your word muscles and write strong sentences? Ah, we knew it! Here’s a short article that addresses the situation. Or to put it more clearly: Here’s how to write sentence that work:

Write Stronger Sentences With the 2-3-1 Trick
by Nick Douglas

In my six semesters as an English major, this is the best thing I learned: When in doubt, put the best bit of a sentence at the end, the next-best bit at the beginning, and the rest in the middle. So in order of bestness, that’s 2, then 3, then 1.

What’s the “best bit”? It might be the bit that sounds prettiest. It might be the bit that gets at your larger point. It might be the most specific or surprising word.

It might only be the “best bit” in the context of the rest of the sentence. In his book How to Write a Sentence, Stanley Fish praises this opening line, from a student’s essay:

I was already on the second floor when I heard about the box.

On its own, “the box” is a mundane phrase, but that’s what gives it so much power here. By the time you read “when I heard about,” you’re more ready for an ending like “Mother’s death” or “the explosion.” No, it’s a box! The box! What’s in that box!?

Most sentences you write, you won’t bother parsing out like this. The 2-3-1 structure does its best work in opening lines. Like the opening line of One Hundred Years of Solitude….

Read it all at Lifehacker