Part 2 of 3: In Part 1 I focused on Fish's ideas about relationships in sentences and activities for developing them.
What if teachers were to instruct students to forget about content, the what of writing, and instead helped them learn the how of writing sentences? This is Stanley Fish's advice in How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One.
Fish's advice would require a paradigm shift in writing instruction:
"The shaping power of language cannot be avoided. We cannot choose to distance ourselves from it. We can only choose our style, not choose to abandon style, and it behooves us to know what the various styles in our repertoire are for and what they can do" (42).
- short sentences and long sentences,
- formal sentences and colloquial sentences,
- sentences that satisfy expectations and sentences that don't,
- sentences that go in a straight line and sentences that surprise,
- right-branching sentences and left-branching sentences,
- sentences that reassure and sentences that disturb,
- quiet sentences and sentences that explode,
- sentences that invite you in and sentences that exclude you,
- sentences that caress you and sentences that assault you,
- sentences that hide their art and sentences that ask readers to stand up and applaud.