Favorite Sentences

If you like to read (and let’s face it – you’re in the wrong place otherwise) then maybe you have some favorite sentences. Single ones that stand out in your brain from all the books and essays and everything you’ve read.

Some sentences are great because they’re full of emotion, or profoundly insightful, or funny, or because they perfectly capture some feeling you’ve always had but could never express.

But sometimes a sentence is great just for the way it sounds, the sheer mechanical construction of it.

Lolita is a deeply weird book on many levels, but I give Nabokov credit for one thing, at least. He wrote what is probably the best-sounding sentence I’ve ever heard. And it’s in the very first paragraph. He’s describing what it’s like to pronounce the girl’s name, so not only is it a good-sounding sentence, it’s a sentence about sound.

Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

(Technically that’s a sentence plus three more syllables. But. Oh. Well.)

Any sentences you like for their sound or construction?

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4 responses to “Favorite Sentences

  1. “Shit Happens.” Dad said it all the time back in the day. Half the reason I like it is nostalgia. The other half is more about his character and how he said the phrase. Shit does happen all the time, but its how you bounce back from unfortunate happenings that makes you great. My dad said that phrase firmly, then got shit taken care of, then moved on with life.

    Not sure where to draw the line here, but there are some lyrics that I really like too. One of my favorites is “It’s not our job to make anyone believe.” from the artist Emery (song is “Listening to Freddie Mercury”). The rest of the lyrics help put the phrase in slightly better context, but I think it stands on it’s own pretty well too.

  2. Outside of the Mason & Dixon sentence I quoted when I was writing about whether you should read the book or not, I am partial to “A nine mile walk is no joke, especially in the rain.”

    Not much on its own, but it’s at the center of one of the best mystery short stories I’ve ever read: “The Nine-Mile Walk.”

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