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?


closed as off-topic by anongoodnurse, Drew, tchrist, Tom Au, Andrew Leach Nov 26 '14 at 0:12

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 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 '14 at 0:12
  • @AndrewLeach - This is off topic on Writers for multiple reasons. – Neil Fein Nov 26 '14 at 5:36

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 '14 at 22:47

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