The best way to write a perfect sentence is to lower your standards.
I hope that advice doesn’t come across as some bait and switch, that there is no such thing as a perfect sentence. I do believe in the perfect sentence. I’ve written hundreds of them — and so have you.
The perfect sentence, I would argue, cannot be planned in advance. It is a byproduct of a curious mind matched with a reliable writing process. Sometimes it seems as if you find it, or it finds you. You stumble upon it.
I would add that the perfect sentence more often results from revision than from drafting. I’ve seen some sentence turn from “Oy!” to “Oh, boy!” by doing nothing more than changing the order of the words. Imagine that Shakespeare had written “The Queen is dead, my lord,” but then revised it to “The Queen, my lord, is dead.”
The context and purpose matters. If you have just ingested poison, the perfect sentence might be “Swallow this antidote.” If you are serious about that wedding vow, the perfect sentence may be “I do.”
Perfect sentences can be short or long; concrete or abstract; formal or slang; expository or explanatory. Rest assured, there are tricks of the trade. How much you put into the sentence matters. What you put at the beginning really matters — and at the end. How many commas matters. The kind of verbs you use matters.
If you are on the hunt for the perfect sentence, join us for a live chat today at 3 p.m. ET. I’ll offer tips and answer questions. Twitter users can