The Evil Sentence

In the world of literature, sometimes authors really all love a particular concept, and you can find it in just about every book. On its own, this is not inspiring, since authors are working in a creative field, and seeing almost the exact same sentence in 50% of the books one reads does not scream originality. Even worse when the sentence does not make much sense in the first place. There are several of these, but we’ll talk about my personal favorite:
 

“I released a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.” 

Can we take a moment to think about what that means? Has this ever happened to anyone? Personally, when I hold my breath, I know I’m doing it. I’ll grant that maybe, just maybe, this does happen to some people occasionally, but does it really happen to everyone all the time? Breathing should pretty much just happen, but people in literature apparently need to remember to breathe at all times. Maybe the air is thicker in literature.

A group of my blogger friends and I started talking about how much we hate this sentence, and I certainly knew that I’d seen it around with regularity. However, a few of us began tweeting one another whenever we found the sentence in our books, and the results have been pretty terrifying. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sampling of books that use this phrase/idea.

First, here are the ones Jenni of Alluring Reads noticed. Obviously, this post would not exist without her diligence.

Renegade by J. A. Souders

“and the breath I didn’t know I was holding releases in a hiss”

V Is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

“I blew out a breath I’d been holding in my lungs without realizing it.”

Easy by Tammara Webber

“I released the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding”
Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy
“I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.”
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

“like I’d suddenly released a breath I hadn’t known I’d been holding”

Mind Games by Kiersten White

“I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.”

The Rules by Stacey Kade

“I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding.”

Taken by Erin Bowman

“I release a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.”

 

And here’s Bekka of Pretty Deadly Reviews:
Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne
“Megan let out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding.”
And one from Giselle of Xpresso Reads:
Prodigy by Marie Lu
“I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.”
And Ashleigh Paige, now of Birth of a New Witch:
Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
“I let out a breath I hadn’t known I was holding.”
And Renae of Respiring Thoughts:
Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
“Daniel released a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding.”
 
Starglass by Phoebe North
“I let out a gasp of breath, one I hadn’t even realized I was holding”
Finally, here are the ones I found, and I’m sorry for how crappy the camera is on my iPod touch:
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
“‘You don’t have to hold your breath, Nik.’
I hadn’t realized I was.”
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
“I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I had been holding.”
Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler

“I did not even realize I’d been holding my breath”

Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

“I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.”

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

“it wasn’t until he…handed it to me that I remembered to start breathing.”

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint

“She let out a breath she hadn’t been aware she was holding.”


Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

“Breath exploded out of Angie, breath she didn’t know she’d been holding”
These photos shown here were used with permission by the photographers. I know you are jelly of our photographic talents. This list does not even include all of the instances of MCs hearing screaming or crying and realizing the sounds are coming from them, additional popular phrases in which the heroine or hero has no knowledge of their own bodily functions. To be fair, these are largely from ARCs and could have been removed pre-publication, but there’s still an epidemic of breathing-forgetfulness on our hands.
So, authors, when you’re editing your book and looking for words to cut, these need to go first. There are so many better ways of conveying that your MC is startled or afraid, ones that won’t leave them seeming literally TSTL. You could remove this from any of these scenes, and I suspect they would play just as well. Can we stop with this now?

Update 4/12: Various people have reported realizing they’ve held their breath without meaning too, due either to stress conditions or focusing too hard on a particular task, like a workout or knitting. Still, these aren’t generally what’s going on in the scenes in question, nor does it invalidate the fact that this sentence is overused and not creative. I wasn’t opposed to the sentence strongly when I first saw it, and it even seemed plausible; I’ve exaggerated that for comedic effect, but the point is that this has been done to death.

Have you spotted the evil sentence? Have you ever held your breath by accident? Have you noticed any other overused sentences like this in your reading?

108 responses to “The Evil Sentence”

  1. Giselle says:

    Bwahahaha. Omg now every time I read a book and I see that sentence it really jumps out at me and I think of you! >.< I think this new generation just has a very bizarre breathing problem!

  2. That is hilarious! I guess I’d never paid that much attention, but now I’m going to notice it every time I come across it!

  3. Christine D. says:

    Wow. I just got mindfucked.

  4. Bonnie R says:

    LOL There’s SO MANY. Who are these dumbasses and why are they forgetting to breathe?? I bet you I’ve been reading that line but not noticing it… until now.

  5. KM says:

    OMG BEST POST EVER! I had never noticed this until you mentioned it, and then I kept seeing it EVERYWHERE. I’ve also made a point not to use ever use this phrase or some other form of it in one of my MS’s because it really doesn’t make sense at all.

    But I’m very curious to know what you mean by characters not having knowledge of their own bodily functions??? Like…what? haha

    • Christina says:

      Nice! I really think that some author somewhere must have used this, and then been really influential, so people copied them and now it just sort of happens. It’s accepted as a convention. You’d think editors would be like WTF is this/red pen.

      Well, breathing should be something your body does automatically. You shouldn’t have to remember to breathe, thus their body isn’t functioning properly. Haha. I was being a bit melodramatic.

  6. Stephanie says:

    So, this does bother me as much because of the overused phrasing (“hadn’t realized I was holding..”) as anything else, but I will say that as someone with anxiety issues, I DO sometimes hold my breath without realizing it. It’s more of a chronic thing, though, then something I do once in a stressful time, as the phrase “THE breath I was holding” seems to indicate. When I’m concentrating on something (like writing), I’ll sometimes realize I’ve been holding my breath till the end of every sentence/thought, and I have to consciously focus on breathing evenly.

    Wow, that makes me sound crazy huh?! I think the fact that I have really bad allergies and can barely breathe through my nose also has something to do with it!

    • Heather says:

      I actually have the same experience sometimes, too, especially if I’m hyper-focused on something, so you’re not alone 🙂

    • Stephanie says:

      That’s good to know! It’s actually not good for you–makes you more anxious, you’re not getting enough oxygen–so I try my best not to do it, but it’s hard!

    • Christina says:

      Oh, well, I’ve done that as well. Holding my breath to match what I’m doing, but I would still argue that that’s something you’re at least somewhat aware of. I don’t know. Maybe not.

      And, yes, whether you think it makes sense or not, the fact that most of the sentences are identical is eye-opening!

    • Heather says:

      I try my best, too, but you’re right, it is tough, especially when you’re anxious!

      haha, I’m with you on this whole thing, Christina! I’ve been noticing the breathing thing a lot, too, and I may include this line if I decide to try to publish something I’ve written, along with a winky face. Oooh, or maybe I’ll have a footnote with a winky face. Either way, the winky face is happening!

    • Christina says:

      Well, there’s a camp of people who totally think the forgetting to breathe thing happens regularly and those that don’t. Either way, it’s a shite sentence and should stop.

      WINKY FACE.

  7. GillyB says:

    HOLY CRAP IT’S AN EPIDEMIC. I, personally, despise when heroes/heroines are not aware of their basic bodily functions.

    “It wasn’t until the wetness of my cheeks dripped down onto my hands and then my knees and then my feet that I realized they were coming from my eyeballs which meant I must be crying.”

    “It wasn’t until my lungs nearly exploded and my face turned blue and my head started spinning that I realized I wasn’t breathing.”

    “It wasn’t until I got to the end of the sentence that I realized my eyes were rolling.” Oh, wait… that one’s just me…

  8. Hahahaha, it’s EVERYWHERE! I’d seen you talk about this on Twitter, but I hadn’t realised that (I was holding the breath) there were so many books with this phrase. I’m going to be on the lookout now!

    I must admit, I do sometimes hold my breath without realising while I’ve watching TV. These shows make me panic!

    I’m trying to think of other overused sentences or phrases, but the only one that comes to mind right now is the “dark hair/light eyes” epidemic, and I also notice the “wary glances” a lot.

    • Christina says:

      For real. It’s everywhere! I know we’ve all missed ones too. I’m not the best at finding it, because if I get sucked in I slide right past it.

      Hahaha, you know, I might have during a horror movie, though who knows. I’m just as likely to hyperventilate.

      Hmm, I haven’t noted wary glances, but I will keep my eyes peeled!

  9. Wow. I just realize this. Yes, I’ve seen those lines and I always thought that they were strange, but I just realize how often it appears in books. Crazy!

  10. LOL! This is SO true. I swear, this sentence/phrase probably appears in 75% of the books I read. It has sort of happened to me before, particularly while reading It’s an involuntary reaction, yes, but I don’t feel like I’m ever completely unaware of it. If someone asked me, I would answer, “No, I’m not breathing at the moment,” rather than “HOLD THE PHONE, MY LUNGS AREN’T MOVING?”

    That whole thing where the person hears a scream and then is like OH, WAIT, THAT’S ME, though. That annoys me. I don’t comprehend how that could happen.

    • Christina says:

      Ha, yeah, it’s scary how often it shows up. Seems like some people have experienced this, but not enough for it to occur in SO MANY books. Plus, there’ve got to be more ways of phrasing it.

      I hate the screaming thing. I would get it if you didn’t know you were screaming because a bomb busted your eardrums.

  11. Brandy says:

    Whoa the number of those is shocking, especially considering all the times I’ve seen it that aren’t included here. (I’m not motivated enough to start taking pictures though.)

    I agree this needs to stop.

  12. thebookwurrm says:

    HAHAHA!!!

    This post is made of awesome. And I admit it, I have been guilty of using this VERY SENTENCE, I’ll go sit in a corner for a bit now. But seriously, thanks for bringing this up. I didn’t realize how common this sentence was. I’m still cracking up about it. I shall be wary in the future when I’m doing the writing stuff. Haha.

  13. I’m surprised that the sentence was found in some of these books… I’ve loved the writing in some. (Haven’t read them all.)

    I’m going to keep on the lookout. I understand the concept the sentence is supposed to portray – that pent-up tension – but…. so many better ways of expressing it!

    • Christina says:

      That’s why this sentence is so pernicious. It’s not only in a certain quality of writing. I loved several of these books. This isn’t just in books aiming to be the next Twilight, but even in serious literary endeavors.

      Agreed, people react to tension so many different ways.

  14. Annie says:

    Ahahahahahaha. Yes, I totally agree with you. NEVER happens in real life.

  15. witchkitten says:

    Love this post. I see this concept of forgetting about not breathing all the time in YA lit, and every time it takes me out of the story because it’s absurd and overused. I wish authors would stop using it along with the whisper yell.

    • Christina says:

      Whisper yelling actually makes sense to me, but most of my friends hate it, so, yeah, I wouldn’t put it in a book if I were writing one. There are other ways to convey that.

  16. Molli Moran says:

    That…is scarier than the Cybermen, Daleks, and Weeping Angels on Doctor Who ALL put together. For serious. It makes me want to go back through my WIP and frantically scour for that type of stuff. I know I’ve never written a character totally unaware of his/her own breathing, but I KNOW as a younger writer I did the whole, “he realized the growl was his own,” mistakes. UGH CHRISTINA THANKS A LOT. *smiles so you’ll know I’m only teasing you*

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    • Christina says:

      Bahahaha, I live to stomp on dreams, or so they tell me. It’s not like it’s a huge deal and automatically ruins a book, but I don’t think this sentence does anyone any favors. Better to do something than different imo!

  17. Shelver 506 says:

    Oh man. I am totally going to be on the lookout for this awful sentence from now on.

  18. OMG this post is absolutely amazing! And the fact that everyone has pictures of all these examples?! Too funny, oh man!

  19. Andrea C. says:

    Great. Now this is all I’m going to be looking for in books.

    Although in the authors defense, I may have done it once. And in my defense, as soon as it happened I thought “How did I not realize that?” Blame it on fatigue!

    • Christina says:

      If it just occurred occasionally, I wouldn’t even notice it, and I don’t think my friends would either. It’s more that this has become the standard reaction to encountering something intense.

  20. Kayla Beck says:

    I had no idea that this was so common. *sigh* Just you wait, they’ll make this into a tagline.

  21. Renae M. says:

    Hehehe. This post is my favorite thing. I will now be even more vigilant than before, and Tweet you all the sentences I find, and hashtag them #TheEvilSentence. It’ll be great.

  22. I HATE when they include that sentence in books. No one holds their breathe by accident. The only people who do are the people who don’t get enough oxygen while they sleep. Ugh. I hate this. But great post!!! It’s definitely EVERYWHERE, unfortunately.

  23. Kelly says:

    This is definitely something I’ve noticed, but I can’t believe how many examples you’ve dug up! I had no idea the evil had been so vastly spread!

    Thanks for pointing this out; I will now officially notice it every time I come across it o.O

  24. God, that was in Siege and Storm too! I sat there and stared at that sentence willing it to go away.

  25. AnimeJune says:

    That happens to me, though – usually when I’m working on something incredibly intricate that requires concentration (I’m learning to crochet, for instance) and I find I’ve held my breath to concentrate on something particularly difficult.

    By all means, I totally believe it’s an overused phrase, but it is something that people do.

    • nora snowdon says:

      me too. but i also stick my tongue out a litte when i’m juggling–haven’t used that in any of my smut books… yet.

    • Christina says:

      Hahaha, I do have to hold my breath and have my mouth hanging open like an idiot to do anything with my contacts. I know I do it, but I can’t not. Weird.

      It’s a thing some people do, but, interestingly, most people aren’t reporting that happening when they’re shocked particularly. Anyhow, I’m not opposed to the idea that people do in fact do this, but I don’t think it’s THAT common a response to be in everything.

  26. LOL I love the title for this post, so damn true. I have no idea how authors think this is a logical statement that readers won’t catch on to and how it became so widespread but it is starting to drive me INSANE! I have to admit throughout the day now I try to catch myself holding in my breath and not knowing it. “Am I holding my breath? No! Damnit!” It just never happens in the day to day.

    Also, I need a life.

  27. Amy says:

    hahaha!! I can’t believe I missed this post. I had been waiting for it since you mentioned it the other day. I am going to tweet a pic every time I see any variation of this now. What book did I tweet from the other night? I don’t even remember now. It seriously makes me feel all stabby when I see it.

  28. Faye M. says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Faye M. says:

    Holy Crap, that’s a lot of evil ‘I let you a breathe I hadn’t realized I’d been holding” sentences. O_O I think they need to realize they need to use another way to convey suspense or whatever. It’s more overused than unrealistic.

    Deleted the original one because of a typo. I AM SO SORRY.

  30. HAHAHA This is so true. And also the one about them not realizing the sound of screaming is them. Come on people. Can’t you feel your vocal cords vibrating?

  31. WOW I didn’t notice how this sentence repeats so much, although I probably will now. I will report when I encounter it next. 😀

  32. When I first started reading this post I was like, “Oh, she’ll just have a few pictures. It can’t be used THAT often.” CLEARLY I was wrong. I can only imagine how many books we’d come up with if a whole bunch of us were looking for it. I will say that I do forget to breathe more often than most people, but I also have anxiety issues and I’m pretty sure it’s related to that.

    I, like Amber, have noticed “wary glances” A LOT. I swear it’s in almost every book I read.

    • Christina says:

      I will have to watch for these wary glances you speak of. Haha.

      Seriously, though, this sentence wouldn’t be so bad all by itself, but since it’s everywhere I judge it hard.

  33. Are you aware of every breath you take? No, it’s a reflex. So I think You could actually hold your breath without realizing just because you’re focused on something else.

    • Christina says:

      Not so much that I’m aware of every breath I take, but that I’m aware of when I’m not taking breaths, because my lungs are like “shit, fix that, please.”

  34. It’s weird because I’ve had anxiety issues and I’ve never done it. So I must be the odd one out there. 😉 Either way, it’s stupidly overused and lazy writing and needs to stop because, be original, writers!!

    This post it bad-ass, BTW.

    • Christina says:

      It appears as though some folks have experienced this, though most people have reported it as more of a too-focused-on-a-task thing than a reaction to shock. Honestly, I can see this happening on occasion. In and of itself, it doesn’t seem beyond the realm of reason, but the fact that it shows up in at least 25% of books, generally with the exact same phrasing is unfortunate. There are other ways to convey shock.

  35. LisaFicTalk says:

    Wow… I guess people unknowingly hold their breath quite a lot, eh?

    What would happen if they didn’t release that breath and eventually passed out because they hadn’t realised they weren’t breathing?… I’d like to see more fainting scenes because of this. All of these scenes should be edited to add that in. 😀

    And I totally agree with Kara, it’s just plain laziness and a lack of creativity.

    • Christina says:

      There just needs to be more variety, whatever they do with it. Not personally sure I want to see more fainting heroines, but it’s funny because that totally just happened in the book I’m reading.

  36. Tammy Sparks says:

    Thanks for making me laugh so hard! I’ve been having a crappy day and this cheered me up:)

  37. David Allan says:

    This is seriously funny. I love it.

  38. Amanda says:

    This post made me laugh! You are so right – this phrase is so overused. I actually do believe it can be used in a way that wouldn’t bother me – with the right character and in the right context, but the overabundance of authors who use this shows that it’s not always being used most efficiently. Maybe some will realize your post and avoid using this in the future.

  39. Joanne Levy says:

    Uh, I read this post with held breath, hoping my book wasn’t one listed here (because when you write a book and then it gets published a couple of years later, you kind of forget stuff you’d written in it). Then I let out that breath. But I knew I was holding it the whole time. Really. I knew it. And I wrote about knowing it. So we’re good, right?

    Good cautionary tale, though. Yeesh.

    • Christina says:

      I’m not sure if I was looking for it already when I read SMAL. Even if I was, I might have missed it. Then again, you might not have used it. I have no idea!

  40. Angie_Fayre says:

    Not to be a party-pooper or anything, but this discussion seems pretty one-sided and it’s making me feel like a circus freak. I can’t say that holding your breath unconsciously is a common phenomenon, but it happens to me a lot. It may be because I’m very absentminded, but mostly I have it happen when I’m concentrating extremely hard–which appears to demand that I also be very still. This concentration is beyond my normal mouth-hanging-slightly-open kind (which is so regular for me that my 8yo niece felt compelled to question me about it). I realize I’m not breathing, on my own, when my lungs start burning. This happens only when I’m awake; I don’t suffer sleep apnea. And, from my POV, finding such sentences in books has never been an issue. I live them. However, I’ve always been bothered by screaming unconciously. That, I believe, is because of my upbringing. “Children are to be seen, not heard,” is so deep in me that screaming is something I have to consciously decide. I’ve been attacked by a wasp and never made a squeal; too afraid I’ll be scolded as a silly girl, or worse, that I’d bother someone. I can’t comprehend screaming unconsciously, but after reading the comments here I wonder. Maybe I can’t do it but others can. And they may even be one in a billion (like holding your breath, apparently), but that won’t make them any less of an actual occurrence either. Granted, it’s still likely time to give these sentences a break, I just thought I’d put in my two cents for the sake of us looney non-breathers out here.

    • Christina says:

      You’re not the only one who has reported having this experience. As you describe, most people do this when they’re concentrating very hard on a particular task, which is, in fact, why I added that update at the bottom. In general, this is not what’s happening in the scenes in books when this occurs, but, fine, it does happen. The main point is really that this particular sentence is WAY overused.

  41. Well, I do that too sometimes when I concentrate too hard, but usually it’s not something worth mentioning 🙂 Weird repeating and catchy sentence though 🙂

  42. I love this post! There are so many cliched phrases that get used over and over again, and that’s part of why it feels like I’m often reading a book I’ve already read. Literary deja vu.

    I appreciate originality not only in plot, but in description and narrative as well.

    Nicely done rounding these up!

  43. Kelley says:

    Oh. My. God. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST! I feel liberated. Or vindicated. Or something. I posted about this a long time ago, but I was so unknown in the blog world at the time, that nobody saw it, lol. It makes me feel so much more sane to know that I’m not alone in noticing this and HATING IT!

    The worst part? I’ve found some version of this sentence in like 80% of the YA books I’ve read… and out of all the ones you listed here, I’ve only read one or two. WHY?! WHY is this sentence so freaking popular to YA authors?! D:

    • Christina says:

      Hahaha, awesome. There are so many of us that hate this, whether it’s a thing or not.

      Releasing a breath you didn’t know you were holding: it’s not just for YA anymore. I was shocked to find it in Me Before You.

  44. Laura Ashlee says:

    LOL! I know this is in books all the time, but I’m impressed with how many you found and posted here. That’s work!

    The sentence I hate reading (which is more often in romance books) is when the guy puts his finger against her lips to quiet her. I just can’t take that seriously. If that happened in real life, I would laugh in the guy’s face.

  45. Lilian says:

    Now I want to do a search on my Kindle for that sentence.
    Except I’ve abandoned my Kindle for way too long and it ran out of battery.

    I don’t THINK I ever knew I wasn’t holding a breath, but maybe I don’t pay attention to stuff like that? It’s breathing…who cares?

    And now I’m wondering how this sentence got so popular, is there a group of writing workshops out there advertising for the use of this sentence? Or is it REALLY such a common thing, and I just don’t pay attention to my breathing habits…

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  46. Ahaha okay, this is so true! I just read this very sentence in a book last night and the first thing I thought was “I don’t think I’ve ever held my breath without realising.”, I then proceeded to try and make a note of if I ever did do it so then I could stop wondering if it was even possible.

    I also just read different variations of the sentence “I heard someone screaming, then I realised it was me”, three times in one book. THREE TIMES.

    Hilarious.

    Miss J @ Miss Book Reviews

  47. This reminds me of another post I’d read from Lori at Pure Imagination (http://www.pureimaginationblog.com/2012/12/bookish-pet-peeves-part-2.html). It’s interesting that we all seem to note its frequency, but people seem to have different reactions to it?

    (Also I left the link because I think you would agree with her other bookish pet peeves.)
    (Also because I think I have read posts ranting about this sentence before and yet it’s still used… a lot.)

  48. I actually *have* held my breath by accident before. Usually during medical or dental procedure/examination, although a couple times while doing presentations (and then I had to take sips of water to hide the fact that I needed to gasp for air). Fear does that to me, and I have to focus on breathing or risk having a panic attack. So, I can imagine it happening, although it’s amazing how often it happens to heroines who’ve just seen the hottest guy on the planet.

  49. Asti says:

    It’s happened. I never noticed this before but I am currently reading Clockwork Princess and there it is! As soon as I read it I had to come back to this post. Page 476 – “Gabriel let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.” It is everywhere!

  50. fakesteph says:

    Well…….. dang. I am laughing so hard right now.

  51. Ashley says:

    Good one! I have an evil sentence of my own that drives me nuts… When the main character touches the love interest for the first time and they feel that “zap of electricity”. It’s the same case: all authors use almost the same wording. There’s some kind of electricity or current that runs through them.

    Drives me up the wall…

    • Christina says:

      Oh man, I HATE that. Or any time the author has them “feel fireworks” or when their touch “burns like fire.” These always make the romance scenes SO cheesy. Stop. Just stop. Also, it makes teens expect that romance will be that obvious. You’ll know he’s the right one because of these things, which is BULL.

  52. WOW. That’s all I can say.

  53. Aman says:

    OMG! hahaha! That is such a weird sentence and now whenever I read it, I’ll remember this post.

  54. maya says:

    That’s ridiculous! Come to think of it, I’m sure I can remember reading that sentence a few times…

  55. Ashley says:

    I read this a while back when ya first posted it but now I notice it every time! I am like AHHH nooo. Listening to Clockwork Princess and just finished Chantress, both use the line!!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

    • Christina says:

      Haha, oh no! The line really is everywhere. If it weren’t so prevalent, it wouldn’t be a big thing, but it’s not so good of a sentence that it needs to be in all books.

  56. I actually had noticed this myself and a few books and thought it was strange. I myself actually do this quite often, but this is just hilarious and, as you said, unoriginal. Now I will never be able to read this sentence in a book again without thinking of you!

  57. Bea Tejano says:

    Legitimately cackling! I’m definitely gonna watch out for different variations of that sentence haha

  58. […] But Armentrout is far from the only YA author guilty of this cliché. In fact, there is even a pinterest page dedicated to this “Evil Sentence” and a blog post from A Reader of Fictions. […]

  59. […] is rife with the evil sentence. This was severely disappointing because aside from this… issue… the book seemed to […]

  60. […] cliché. In fact, there are loads listed on the Pinterest page, Evil Sentence, and more on this blog post from A Reader of […]

  61. […] were a little…off. And there were some weird cliches about breathing. She didn’t use the evil sentence, but there was a line in there about Holly feeling like Dax was breathing for them both. Now what […]

  62. […] The Evil Sentence: Posted by Christina on A Reader Of Fictions. “I released a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.” Come across that sentence before? The author and her friends took it upon themselves o document all the times they stumbled upon a version of this statement. This little project even has a page on Pinterest! […]

  63. EH says:

    Another one you’ll start noticing everywhere if you look for it: when a character “shakes his/her head as if to clear it”

    This likely does happen sometimes in real life, but it’s such an overused phrasing in books I can’t help noticing it every time

  64. J.M. says:

    Penalty for using it twice in the same series:

    “Trent exhaled a breath he had not known he was holding and
    bounced to his feet.”
    – from “The Long Run” by Daniel Keys Moran

    “Lan realized he’d been holding his breath. He let it go in a long
    exhalation.”
    – from “The Last Dancer” by Daniel Keys Moran

  65. Rhyen says:

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who notices that this phrase is not only ridiculous but also completely overused!

  66. Sarah says:

    Yes, its overused.
    But I’m not aware of every breath I take. Sometimes I’m so surprised or baffled, that I run out of air. When I release my breath to solve the problem, I usually realize I’ve been holding it. So yes, I can hold my breath without realizing, because it’s a visceral reaction. 🙂

  67. Eilis says:

    I think it makes sense, I mean if you hear bad news or if your really nervous or in an intense situation your body can get really tense and you have to remind yourself to take a deep breath and focus. And to like release all the nervousness out of your system

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