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Bad Sentences in Classic Literature: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

August 11, 2017

My youngest daughter doesn’t understand why Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is such a big deal. She’s reading it now, and so far she thinks it’s overrated. I’ve told her that the whole Harry Potter thing was new to people 15-20 years ago, but my daughter has been surrounded by Harry Potter stuff (books and movies) her whole life. It seems stale because she was raised with it.

Even though Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a landmark blockbuster, it still has its flaws. At the very least, it has a few “bad” sentences in it. But I’m not going to mention that to my daughter.

Dysfunctional Literacy

Even award-winning, record-breaking debut novels can have bad sentences. Even award-winning, record-breaking debut novels can have bad sentences.

Maybe Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone isn’t a classic novel yet, but it probably will be.  It’s been over 15 years since it was published, and people are still reading it.  Most books are forgotten months after they were published.  I’m betting the Harry Potter books will continue to be read for several generations, so I’ll go ahead and call it a classic now.  If I’m wrong, 50 years from now people can come back and mock me for it.

Whether it’s a classic or not, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has some bad sentences in it.  It’s easy for for me to spot bad sentences because I’ve written a lot of them in my time.  If my English teachers would have red-marked my paper for writing something similar, then it’s a bad sentence.  If my writing group peers…

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From → The Repeats

3 Comments
  1. Yeah, a classic!!!!

  2. It wasn’t new at all. Maybe for that generation – but read the much older “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula K. LeGuin for comparison.

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