Editors say these are the 'Ten Best Sentences' in literature. Do you agree?

"Letters on typewriter," by Malota, via Shutterstock.


"Letters on typewriter," by Malota, via Shutterstock.

Editors at The American Scholar have published a list of what they believe to be the “Ten Best Sentences” from literature. There are more suggestions sent in from their readers. I like the eleventh one they threw in as a bonus:

Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there. —Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

Here's Roy Peter Clark at Poynter.org, on why they're so great.

Notable Replies

  1. These are the 'best sentences' in all English language literature - James Joyce, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens weren't American.

  2. “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  3. “All right then, I'll go to hell” Huck Finn

  4. Not sure if literature:

    "The sea was angry that day, like an old man trying to return soup, in a deli."
    -- George Costanza, Seinfeld

  5. A fabulous line. I was always a fan of the exchange about hyperspace jumps.

    "It's rather unpleasantly like being drunk."
    "What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
    "You ask a glass of water."

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