Short Sentences in Literature

A while back I wrote an article about appreciating some of the longer sentences in literature (you can find it here). Now I want to honor some of the writers who manage to get their points across with an economy of words.

Short sentences are great for instantly engaging the reader. Some of the most memorable sentences in literature are 10 words or less and there is a whole world of creative six word stories are all over the internet.

 

This one by Hemingway is still my favorite.

baba

 

So, less is indeed more sometimes. Enjoy the following short sentences, sorted by word count, and if you come up with any more to add, do so in the comments below.

 

10:

 

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.

Murphy

Samuel Beckett

 

The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.

Jude the Obscure

Thomas Hardy

 

short1

 

Death is only the beginning; afterward comes the hard part.

The Death Instinct

Jed Rubenfeld

 

9:

 

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.

Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov

 

Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.

And the Mountains Echoed

Khaled Hosseini

 

If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.

Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

 

8:

You better not never tell nobody but God.

The Color Purple

Alice Walker

 

short2

 

7:

 

Get busy living or get busy dying.

The Shawshank Redemption

Stephen King

 

The curves of your lips rewrite history.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

 

Be men, or be more than men.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelly

 

I hope, or I could not live.

Island of Dr Moreau

H.G. Wells

 

6:

All this happened, more or less.

Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut

 

short3

 

All children, except one, grow up.

Peter Pan

J.M. Barrie

 

After all, tomorrow is another day.

Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

 

A screaming comes across the sky.

Gravity’s Rainbow

Thomas Pynchon

 

5:

I am an invisible man.

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

 

4:

He loved Big Brother.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell

 

And one of the most famous short sentences in literature…

 

3:

short4

Moby Dick

Herman Melville

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