The 200-Word Sentence

Welcome to the ultimate writing challenge! This grammatical Frankenstein was developed by Kim Michasiw, Chair of the York University Writing Department, as an assignment for a grammar course. Since then it has become a writing phenomenon, winning awards and inspiring writers to get creative within the constraints of SWE grammar. Give it a try and send us your creations!

The Rules:

  • The sentence must be exactly 200 words.
  • It may be prefaced by a short introductory sentence of no more than five words.
  • The sentence must be grammatically correct.



The Jig*

Madelaine Pries

She sat at the piano. Her hands hovered like stringed puppets above a chipped wooden stage for only a moment before she started to play, her fingers falling like raindrops on the small, rectangular slats of the keyboard, drawing from the piano a dancing tune–an old Irish jig redolent of barn dances and fiddle fare–more lively than anything the pub had heard in its many years of serving insobriety; indeed, the room bloomed to life with the energy of the song as it weaved its way through the patrons, several of whom, after they finally got themselves to their feet with no small amount of difficulty, jostled rambunctiously to an open piece of floor that, because it took up half the pub, provided a wide and unencumbered space in which they proceeded to sway, twirl, shuffle and kick in an obstreperous mess of laughter and cheers, unceremoniously knocking one another to the ground while the pianist, tucked safely away behind the bulk of her instrument, laughed at the chaotic dance roiling through the pub that consisted especially of older men who closed their eyes as they jaunted about under the captivating spell of nostalgia, their bodies taken over entirely by the visceral urge to dance.

*Originally published under the York University 2017 Second Year Jan Rehner Prize Winner and 2017 Second Year LA&PS Writing Prize Winner