Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


I have been honoured with your letter of the 31 of March, and find with much pleasure that your views of the reform which ought to be pursued by the Convention, give a sanction to those I have entertained.

The Anti-Federalist Papers, Cato (likely George Clinton), Brutus (likely Robert Yates), Centinel (Samuel Bryan), and the Federal Farmer (either Melancton SmithRichard Henry Lee, or Mercy Otis Warren). Speeches by Patrick Henry and Smith are often included as well. [ed. by Ralph Ketcham] (1787)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentences


During the past thirty-three years the difference in America between being rich and being middle class became much more pronounced.

The Great Divergence – America’s Growing Inequality Crisis And What We Can Do About It, Timothy Noah (2012)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


My Father showed me how to hurt a man one August night at the Torch Drive-in when I was seven years old.

Knockemstiff, Donald Ray Pollock (2008)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


A loud yawning and several snorts announced the fact that Eleanor Maynard, Polly Brewster’s chum and best friend, was coming to life once more, after the prolonged celebration of the Dalkens’ wedding.

POLLY IN THE ORIENT, LILLIAN ELIZABETH ROY (1927)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


‘But I put it to you, my lord, that prize-money is of essential importance to the Navy.’

H.M.S Surprise, Patrick O’Brian (1973)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


‘The welcome wagon lady, sixty if she was a day but working at youth and vivacity (ginger hair, red lips, a sunshine-yellow dress), twinkled her eyes and teeth at Joanna and said, “You’re really going to like it here! It’s a nice town with nice people! You couldn’t have made a better choice!’

The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin (1972)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


On the 15th of September, 1840, about six o’clock in the morning, the Ville de Montereau, just about to sail, was sending forth great whirlwinds of smoke, in front of the Quai St. Bernard.

Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert (1869)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


The contents of this book need little introduction; they stand on their own as helpful instructions and enjoyable reading.

The Foxfire Book: Hog dressing, log cabin building, mountain craft and foods, planting by signs, snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing, moonshining, and other affairs of plain living, ed. Eliot Wigginton (1972)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


There is a dragon in each of us.

American Dragons: Twenty-five Asian American Voices ed. Laurence Yep (1993)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


I was in Amsterdam one snowy Christmas when the weather had turned the canals into oblongs of ice.

Art Objects – Essays on Ecstacy and Effrontery, Jeanette Winterson (1995)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


One day in the middle of the twentieth century I sat in an old graveyard which had not yet been demolished, in the Kensington area of London, when a young policeman stepped off the path and came over to me.

Loitering with Intent, Muriel Spark (1981)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


In 1928 when Eastman Kodak introduced 16mm Kodacolor – a well known physicist remarked: “It’s impossible – but not quite!

The Five C’s of Cinematography, Joseph V. Mascelli (1965)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


SUPPOSING that Truth is a woman—what then?

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, Friedrich Nietzsche (1886)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


A vision had seized hold of me, like the demented fury of a hound that has sunk its teeth into the leg of a deer carcass and is shaking and tugging at the downed game so frantically that the hunter gives up trying to calm him.

CONQUEST OF THE USELESS, WERNER HERZOG (2004) trans. Krishna Wilson 2009

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


Snow-Balls have flown their Arcs, starr’d the Sides of Outbuildings, as of Cousins, carried Hats away into the brisk Wind off Delaware, – the Sleds are brought in and their Runners carefully dried and greased, shoes deposited in the back Hall, a stocking’d-foot Descent made upon the great Kitchen, in a purposeful Dither since Morning, punctuated by the ringing Lids of various Boilers and Stewing-Pots, fragrant with Pie-Spices, peel’d Fruits, Suet, heated Sugar,- the Children, having all upon the Fly, among rhythmic slaps of Batter and Spoon, coax’d and stolen what they might, proceed, as upon each afternoon all this snowy Advent, to a comfortable Room at the rear of the House, years since given over to their carefree Assaults.

Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon (1997)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


American passed a sad milestone in the middle of 2010: the war in Afghanistan became the longest conflict in U.S. history.

BETWEEN WAR AND PEACE HOW AMERICA ENDS ITS WARS, Ed. by COL. MATTHEW MOTEN (2012)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


In his study The Nature of Evil (1931), Radoslav. A. Tsanoff cites a terse reflection set down by the German philosopher Julius Bahnsen in 1847, when he was seventeen years old.

The Conspiracy against the Human Race, Thomas Ligotti (2010)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


VERY LATE ONE WINDLESS SEPTEMBER NIGHT TWENTY-TWO men and a beautiful woman were crossing a dried river bed on the caravan road that led from Kashgar eastward towards Aqsu.

The Seven Who Fled, Frederic Prokosch (1937)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


One winter morning in the long-ago, four-year-old days of my life I found myself standing before a fireplace, warming my hands over a mound of glowing coals, listening to the wind whistle past the house outside.

Black Boy, Richard Wright (1944)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


Half way along the road we have to go,
I found myself obscured in a great forest,
Bewildered, and I knew I had lost the way.

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri (1321)