Fifty Decent Sentences

The following sentences, taken from established writers, are analyzed stylistically in Fifty Decent Sentences.   You will notice that the words in bold are the subjects and the words in italics are the verbs of the sentences.
  1. Now is   the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party. Commentary

  2. After this came   shaving, and combing, and brushing; and / when, having spent the first part of the day in this way, we sat down on the forecastle, in the afternoon, with clean duck trousers and shirts on, washed, shaved, and combed, and looking a dozen shades lighter for it, reading, sewing, and talking at our ease, with a clear sky and warm sun over our heads, a steady breeze over the larboard quarter, studding sails out alow and aloft, and all the flying kites abroad--we felt   that we had got back into the pleasantest part of a sailor's life. Commentary

  3. White parasols and elephants mad with pride are   the flowers of a grant of land.

  4. And Bing Crosby, of course, somewhere out in the blue on the invisible ether waves owned by the five-and-ten cent store.

  5. It is   a terrible, an inexorable, law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own; / in the face of one's victim, one sees   oneself.

  6. It is   always the hyperborean thule hacked out with a crystal axe, at the boundaries of the world, at the boundaries of a world, a mountain of springs and chasms, a gateway to adventure.

  7. The windows, for instance, to go no further into detail, are placed   with a view to impress their pecuniary excellence upon the chance beholder from the outside, rather than with a view to effectiveness or comfort of the beneficiaries within; and the detail of interior arrangement is required   to conform itself as best it may to this alien but imperious requirement of pecuniary beauty.

  8. It would be   our business to show how through every instant of every day of every year of his existence alive he is from all sides streamed in upon, bombarded, pierced, destroyed by that enormous sleeting of all objects forms and ghosts how great how small no matter, which surround and whom his senses take: in as great and perfect and exact particularity as we can name them.

  9. Progress as a predictable result of ordered causes therefore becomes   a double delusion--first because we must seek its cause more in the quirkiness of the wheel, turning tires into sandals and big brains toward fear of death, than in the plodding predictability of the wedge, propelling monkeys into men; and secondly, because the supposed sweep of life toward progress only records our myopic focus on the right tail of a distribution whose mode has never moved from a prokaryotic cell.

  10. In every deed they saw   me choose to divest myself of semblance to them, until on his deathbed my father with his eyes on the son he had created to perpetuate him--young sloven in his twenties, who had quit church, quit college, quit jobs, quit his family for communists, quit communists for a bride, quit his bride for a mistress, and came from writing on a fraudulent stipend of public relief checks in a tenement such as my parents had put behind them a generation ago--in fact failed to recognize me.

  11. The 1927 flood was   a torrent ten feet deep the size of Rhode Island; / it was   thirty-six hours coming and four months going; / it was   deep enough to drown a man, swift enough to upset a boat, and lasting enough to cancel a crop year.

  12. The man, the man of super-power, the glorified man of whom he prophesied in his childhood, as he watched his big, strong men build stone walls, hew down trees drive huge horses--his mighty men, his heroes, his demi-gods; a powerful presentiment which he had seen and felt in the glory of the sunrise; which he had heard in the voice of spring; and which, personified through the haze of most mystical romantic trances, he believed in, he had faith in--that field which is near its source and secure.

  13. In "the library," inside the mission-style bookcase with its three diamond-latticed glass doors, with my father's morris chair and the glass-shaded lamp on its table beside it, were   books I could soon begin on--and / I did   , reading them all alike and as they came, straight down their rows, top shelf to bottom. Commentary

  14. Blues means   a Negro experience, / it is   one music the Negro made that could not be transferred into a more general significance than the one the Negro gave it initially.

  15. A society which really was like a poem and embodied all the esthetic values of beauty, order, economy, subordination of detail to the whole effect, would be   a nightmare of horror, based on selective breeding, extermination of the physically or mentally unfit, absolute obedience to its Director, and a large slave class kept out of sight in cellars.


  16. He recalled   having related to him how Louis Sullivan had once characterized Richardson's architecture as "great desire on the part of one who is not particular what girl he sleeps with," and Stanford White's as that of "one who is very particular about the girls without having much desire," and that he himself had added that Mies van der Rohe's style managed to dispense with the girls entirely, and that Philip had laughed heartily.

  17. The fact that the majority in America seem to believe in combating what threatens the core of our civilization on the field of battle, no matter whose the original fault, no matter whose the original error, no matter what the risk, no matter what the clarity involved: this is   the extraordinary fact.

  18. Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked   away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe, / and the stars over us was spark-ing   ever so fine, / and down by the village was   the river, a whole mile broad and awful still and grand. Commentary

  19. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made   patterns--of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and conducted it to the skin), the shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Commentary

  20. I have   a little shape--it would   not crowd   your Desk--nor make   much Racket as the Mouse, that dents your Galleries--

  21. All the cans came   back except one, / and if a crowd had been standing around, which there wasn't, for who in the fresh world of the morning wants to watch the cleanup of the night before, the truck motors grinding, the ashcans hitting the sidewalk with that tympanic carelessness of the profession, nobody would have   noticed   that the truck drove away with one packed garbage can embedded in all that odorous crap of the glamorous night, or dreamed  that in an hour or two it would be shoveled by tractor deep below the anguished yearnings of the flight of seagulls wheeling ever the Flushing Meadows landfill.

  22. War is   the health of the state.

  23. Poetry is   news that stays news.

  24. The great joker in the philosophic pack was   God, was   man, was   everything, was   cancer, was   chemistry, was   an octoroon, was   a golden rose, was   a pig's snout, was   Jessie, was   a billiard ball, was   a maze, was   an empty-headed doll, was   ostrich eggs, was   Napoleon, was   a cherry tree, was   a rectangle, was   mountains, was   nature, was   human nature, was   Fanny Wright's old party, was   a table, was   a chair, was   Saint Ursala, was   Chicksauga, was   a brain fever, was   happiness, was   an acorn, was   blocks of populace, was   an albatross on the banks of the Wabash far away, was   Marmaluke.

  25. If it were not for ambiguity, for the sense of strangeness, that words in all languages provide, we would have   no way of recognizing the layers of counterpoint in meaning, / and we might be spending   all our time sitting on stone fences, staring into the sun. Commentary

  26. Of course, it is   possible for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, / but for the many there is   no time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of fictions, intended, like the avowed commercials, to keep docile huddled masses, keep avid for products addled customers.

  27. What I had seen from the window would prove--  over the next fifty years--to be inexhaustible each time I looked.

  28. What is   it that he has found that opens all of the doors to him, rolls the rugs out under his feet, / and what is   it that causes him to answer with a blank look, a sideward glance, with a bowed head, or with running, walking, or scrambling away from such offers like out from some sprung trap?

  29. In twenty minutes they give   me back   my car / and I   pass   through the doorway into the crisp world away from the oasis of love and dreams of fair women--a man with a smooth-running engine, beside the Shalimar. Commentary

  30. It has   something to do with the best of women's club's formally naming itself the "Stitch and Bitch," something to do with the good-natured insolence of plaza shoeshine boys, and something to do with the cynical civic attitude toward growth and progress--which Santa Feans view with no more enthusiasm than a milking goat has for cold hands.

  31. The fallout quickened   appetites in Greece.

  32. Men indoors in offices, whose bodies actually require little, cann   ot think of   eating enormously without thinking of sodden overeating, with condiments to rouse, and heavy meats to lull the flabby body till the last faint remnants of appetite have departed and the man is monument of sleepy gluttony.

  33. In summer they tended, /   in fall they harvested, /   in winter they repaired, /   in spring they planted.  

  34. There is   no foreign land; / it is   the traveller only that is foreign, and now and again, by a flash of recollection, lights up the contrasts of the earth.

  35. Can   one nowadays see   a soldier without a slight feeling--the slightest possible-of the ridiculous?

  36. In our family, there was   no clear line between religion and fly fishing. Commentary

  37. In the half century since I was born, this hill has moved   at about the rate a fingernail grows, some four feet farther west--about the distance from my heel to my hip--as has everything else around it, the Cottonwood, the courthouse, the brass bedsteads.

  38. Douglas was   Lincoln's anvil on which he hammered out the first rude models of his political philosophy; had he been a softer anvil, Lincoln's steel would not have   been   so evenly and finely tempered.

  39. Calico-coated, small-bodied, with delicate legs and pink faces in which their mismatched eyes rolled wild and subdued, they huddled,   gaudy motionless and alert, wild as deer, deadly as rattlesnakes, quiet as doves. Commentary

  40. I had   never met   a family like this before: the nearest I had come was   Aunt Rosie,   who played solitaire all night in a downstairs bedroom, lined with signed photographs of opera stars and pianists, and her husband, Uncle Mose, who subscribed to the New York Times.

  41. The Baptists will continue   to send missionaries to Brazil to teach the heteroscian heathen what to teach their young daughters, and the godly people to rail at prize-fighting as a public disgrace--while Antonia Teixeira claps her fatherless babe to her childish breast, bedews it with bitter tears and wonders if God knows there's such a place as Texas.

  42. Thus Padre Xantes dealt   with his brave egg, breathing ever more rapidly in and out until, unable to restrain himself a moment longer, he clamped it savagely twixt tongue and palate, uttering as he did so a tiny squeak of pleasure; / the yolk exploded   in abandon, mounting deliriously toward his sinuses, then sliding down past the roots of his tongue into his throat.

  43. The wind was   the watchful father always there, always watching, always moving through its forest of noise watching you as you stared hopelessly into the sky, caught by its great and overwhelming gladous that makes it all worth living for, to listen and learn.

  44. Usually, by the time she had fallen asleep all the classes of people were moiling   and roiling   around in her head, / and she would dream   they were all crammed in together in a box car, being ridden off to be put in a gas oven.

  45. I   did   the dishes and organized   for the greedy day; dinosaurs in the morning, park in the afternoon, peanut butter in between, and at the end of it all, to reward us for a week of beans endured, a noble rib roast with little onions, dumplings, and pink applesauce. Commentary

  46. The comfortable weight in one's hand, the smooth, rapid descent down the string, ending with a barely audible snap as the yo-yo hung balanced, spinning, pregnant with force and the slave of one's fingertip . [Original: "It felt good. The comfortable weight. . . "] Commentary

  47. Forget   grammar and think about potatoes.

  48. The wall between rich and poor is   a wall of glass through which all can see.

  49. There is   nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them. Commentary

  50. Somewhere west of Flemish Gap in the North Atlantic Basin, Paradise, Kansas, acquired   a barn, a herd of cows with shitty tails, a log house, a spread table.

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