I'd like to start a book with a sentence like this:

This book is about X, so why should it start with Y?

In fact, the book is already written, but I'd like to get the first few pages absolutely right. In the text, I tried to keep the language simple, but I didn't feel too comfortable with contractions so I didn't use them.

My question is whether the sentence is grammatically correct, and if it could be improved in some way to make it sound more natural to native speakers.

Here are some other sentences that I can think of:

  • This book is about X. Then why should it start with Y?
  • If this book is about X, why should it start with Y?
  • This book is about X. Then why should we start with a discussion on Y?
  • This book is about X. Then why does it need a chapter about Y?

Is any of the above forms better than the original sentence? Or is there a better sentence with the same meaning?


  • I'm passing this to Writers. It may need to be edited to be entirely on-topic there; hopefully there will be comments to guide that.
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 26, 2014 at 0:12
  • @AndrewLeach - This is off topic on Writers for multiple reasons. Nov 26, 2014 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


If you are indeed starting with Y, use the phrase “why does it start with” in place of “why should it start with”, which is stilted. For example:

This book is about X. Why, then, does it begin with Y?

You may wish to post the first paragraph or two of your book (a novel?) in Writers stackexchange, to obtain advice about further alternatives. The additional context of a paragraph or two will reduce the amount of guesswork responders need to do.

  • Thank you. I used your suggestion in the manuscript! :)
    – rick
    Dec 1, 2014 at 22:47

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