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First You Write a Sentence.


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A style guide by stealth - how anyone can write well (and can enjoy good writing).

About the Author

Joe Moran is Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and is the author of seven 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, Shrinking Violets- The Secret Life of Shyness and First You Write a Sentence. He writes for, among others, the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement.


Joe Moran has a genius for turning the prosaic poetic -- Peter Hennessy
Thoughtful reflections on how to write well -- John Mullan * Guardian Review *
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, 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
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 *
Joe Moran is the most perceptive and original observer of British life that we have -- Matthew Engel
Moran has fast become Britain's foremost explorer and explainer of the disregarded -- Juliet Gardiner, author of 'Wartime: Britain 1939-1945'
Moran is a past master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction. -- Helen Davies * Sunday Times *
Moran is a wonderful, witty writer, and here he surpasses himself -- Marcus Berkmann (on Shrinking Violets) * Daily Mail *
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 *
Joe Moran is a wonderfully gifted social historian...he has the poet's ability to find the remarkable in the commonplace -- Craig Brown
Moran's genius is to show us what was right in front of us all along -- Bee Wilson
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 *
Compelling . . . There's plenty in Moran's book to delight grammar and language nerds -- Daniel Hahn * The Spectator *
Humane and witty . . . as a primer in generous and lively writing, First You Write a Sentence is blithe and convincing * New York Times *
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 *

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