Frequently Asked Questions

You'll excuse me if these answers are longer than one sentence, right?

Variations on "Where's my sentence?"

I submitted my sentence four seconds ago! Why isn't it published yet?!

I get hundreds of submissions a week (or hundreds a day if an A-list blogger or a newspaper mentions the site). I'm one person that tends to take on too much, so don't expect your submission to be posted right away.

How long will I have to wait? Will you tell me if it's accepted or rejected?

Usually, I'll go through and approve some that were submitted during the previous day or two, and then I'll go back to my archive of submissions from a few weeks (or few months) earlier and approve some more.

You will receive a link to your submission via electronic pony express if your entry is accepted. You will not receive anything if it's rejected or is still sitting in the queue. You may even forget you submitted anything by the time it makes it online.

How many submissions do you accept?

I'd say it's probably at around 10% right now.

My sentence is better than most of the crap you accept!

You should see some of the ones I don't accept! In all seriousness, yours may very well be better and I just haven't seen it yet.

What are some reasons you don't accept submissions?

Oh boy. This will be a long one. Time for a bulleted list.

  • It's more than one sentence. Believe it or not, despite One Sentence being the title of the site, people submit multiple-sentence stories. These are flagged by my CMS and I tend to reject those pretty quickly.
  • It's one sentence but is really just a ridiculously huge run-on strung together by semicolons. Sometimes it may even technically be a sentence, but if it's not in the spirit of the site, I'll bypass it for a more concise story.
  • There are no tags. I know I list "tags" as an optional field, but it's a really good idea to tag your story with appropriate keywords. Submissions without tags get flagged with a different color and I approve them less often because they require more effort on my part (all stories on the site have tags, so I have to manually tag them).
  • Misspellings or glaring grammatical errors. Unfortunately, I don't have time to fix every poorly capitalized sentence or every misspelled word that comes in. Please proof your sentence before clicking "submit." It's only a sentence, after all.
  • Played out theme. I really don't want to include 50 variations of "I thought I loved him/her, but then realized I didn't" unless it?s presented in a unique way.
  • It's a confession, not a story. I don't want One Sentence to turn into a lazy man's PostSecret. Please try to make sure your stories are about a specific event or moment in your life. So, instead of "I'm in love with someone who doesn't know," flip that into something more appropriate for this site, like, "I snapped out of my daydream, where I was planning our wedding before I had even spoken a word to him." Keep it true, keep it interesting.

Content Issues

What license is the content released under?

Everything on One Sentence is released under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Generic Creative Commons license.

Can I sell a book of sentences from the site?

That would go against the "noncommercial" portion of the license, so I'd rather you didn't. If you have ideas, though, drop me a line as that's a project I've got in the works.

What else can I do with your content?

Feel free to remix or display the content, as long as it's in the spirit of the site's license (read up!). One good example is this Twitter feed that a reader set up for One Sentence.

Do you have a ____ language version?

No, but that would be pretty cool. Drop me a line if you might want to run a non-English version of the site and maybe we can work something out.

I'm a teacher and would love to use this idea as a writing exercise for my students. Is that cool?

Absolutely! Please write to me and tell me more so I can mention you on the blog.

I'm a fiction writer and would like to use these sentences as a prompt for a short story. Is that alright with you?

Most def. Let me know where I can read your story when you're done!

Can you remove my submission? I think somebody I know visited your site and I'm afraid they'll recognize my story.

Sure. Just let me know which sentence it is you'd like removed.


What's the site running on? I'd like to do something similar.

The blog uses Wordpress, but the main section of the site is all homegrown. I'd actually be kind of embarrassed if you saw my CMS.

You should use Ajax for the voting portion. Wait, that's not a question. Um... why don't you use Ajax for the voting portion?

I probably should. Haven't gotten around to implementing that yet, so for now it's old-school pop-ups all the way.

Can I talk to you for a story I'm writing for the paper/producing for TV (or radio)?

Sure. Please contact me and I'll get back to you in a jiffy.