Chapter 7: Coordination
Chief Skill of Prose Stylist
• Connect ideas
• Form graceful, expressive sentences
Range of tools in your toolkit
A great task remains before us. We must be dedicated to
the task. We are pleased at the outcome. So there.
Variety and grace
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task
remaining before us─that from our honored
dead we take increased devotion to that cause…
• Ties ideas together
• Connects sentence elements that have the same grammatical function
• Two independent clauses
• I walked slowly away from her, and then I felt for my wallet.
Make a “Smoothie”
Ms. Grossenbacher was courteous. She was very cool.
Rachel is crazy about onions. Of course she is also
crazy about garlic.
Ms. Grossenbacher was courteous but very cool.
Rachel is crazy about onions, of course, but also about
Punctuate to Coordinate
• The aim of AP Language students is to pass, and to pass means to be aware, studiously,
attentively, serenely, divinely aware.
– Not only…but also
• “An AP Language student will receive neither grades nor honor that is not his
– Mrs. G. modeled on Benjamin Franklin
Words of Caution
• Coordinate elements need to be parallel
– Ex: While watching Sheldon High beat Pleasant Grove at football, John listened to
his Ipod, talked on his cell phone, chomped on peanuts, and watched the cheerleaders create a pyramid.
Joey decided not to befriend anyone who was poor or without
Joey decided not to befriend anyone who was poor or uneducated.
No, No, No…
Reviews of Gabe’s novels were cutting, cruel, but
always displayed humor.
Yes, Yes, Yes…
Reviews of Gabe’s novels were cutting and cruel,
but always displayed humor.
Parallelism and Correlatives (either…or,
Steven not only made three interceptions but several ferocious
Steven not only made three interceptions but also made
several ferocious tackles.
More about that…
The No’s Have IT
The senator was either an honest man
or he was an extremely skillful liar.
Aye, Aye, Matey!
The senator was either an honest man or he was an extremely
Coordination achieves forcefullness
• “Morally, spiritually, we are fettered. What we have achieved in mowing down
mountain ranges, harnessing the energy of mighty rivers, or moving whole populations about like chess pieces, if we ourselves
remain the same restless, miserable, frustrated creatures we were before. To
call such activity progress is utter delusion.” – Henry Miller
Let Us REVIEW
• Coordination includes…
• Independent Clauses
• Coordinating Conjunctions
• Correlative Conjunctions, i.e. either…or
• Parallel Construction
Can you solve the Riddle of the Sphinx?
• What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three at night?
• This is the end
• This is the end, my friend…
Jim Morrison of “The Doors”
Prose Style Chapter
Overuse of coordination
¡ Dull regularity
¡ Lack of
¡ All ideas
seem equally important or unimportant
Coordination Kills Curiosity
(not the cat)
studied hard for the next AP timed write, and I got Abraham Lincoln to help me, but I still did poorly, but I did much better
than on the previous timed write.
was obviously displeased with me, but his dirty looks did not shatter my lowered self-esteem, and I am strong in my
¡ Feel that
rich and varied rhythm
important ideas, subordinate lesser important
¡ By subordinating
less important ideas you can focus more sharply the very important ones!
Subordination at work!!!
¡ With some
help from Amy Tan, I studied hard for the next AP timed write; and even though I still did poorly, I did much better than
on the previous timed write. Mr. Lincoln’s dirty looks could not shatter my self confidence.
Chief devices of subordination:
l Emily Dickinson told us about the gory, bloody aspects of the medical profession; we chose her to be our family doctor.
More Chief Devices
l Walt Whitman,
whom we chose to be our family doctor, told us about the gory, bloody aspects of the medical profession.
l Jimmy Santiago
Baca, our family doctor, told us about…
¡ A clause
is a group of words containing subject and verb.
¡ Can stand
alone in a sentence
Franklin grabbed the British pound note with both hands.
¡ Cannot stand
l As Benjamin
Franklin grabbed the British pound note with both hands, the London bobby popped out
of the manhole and grabbed
List of “dependent
¡ After Unless
¡ Although What (& whatever)
When (& whenever)
Where (& wherever)
¡ Before Whereas
¡ How Whether
¡ If That
Which (& whichever)
¡ if you subordinate
one clause to the other, you will have a much greater variety of connectives to choose from
we choose the bloody Sweeney Todd to be our family doctor, he told us ……
¡ The dependent clause has yet another source of flexibility. It may come before the independent clause, after
it, or in the middle.
¡ Before: As soon
as we chose the bloody Sweeney Todd to be our family doctor, she told us about the sordid, gory aspects of the medical profession.
¡ After: Sweeney Todd,
wearing gore-soaked gloves, told us about the sordid aspects of the medical profession
because we had chosen him to be our family doctor.
¡ In the middle: The
Blood-soaked Sweeney Todd, whom we chose to be our family doctor, told us about………………
Consider using “while”……..
Edgar Allan Poe was under doctor’s orders, he downed two jiggers of 100-proof
bourbon every night before going to bed.
marker inclined to be ambiguous is since,
Since Al the mobster left town three weeks ago, most people have concluded that he is guilty as charged.
AS: another source of
¡ Used in place of while, when, or because
¡ Kate Chhopin,
the Hollywood stuntwoman, started out for home as daylight was turning to darkness.
The Appositive Phrase
¡ The appositive,
though neglected by amateur writers, is a great favorite among professionals
¡ A help in
¡ An appositive
is usually a noun that refers to, and helps to explain, another noun.
Katherine Anne Porter, a local
Elk Grove businesswoman, was found to be the organizer for a statewide ring of bicycle thieves.
don’t always have to be brief.
¡ We could
easily add modifiers to fill out the portrait of our white-collar bicycle thief.
Examples – notice
the graceful use of the dash!!
¡ Without Apposition:
Several of New York humorists have excelled in the art of nonsense. The humorists I have in mind are Robert Benchley, S.J.
Perelman, and Woody Allen.
¡ With Apposition:
Several of the New Yorker humorists─ Robert
Benchley, S.J. Perelman, and Woody Allen─have excelled in the art of nonsense.
Commas And Dashes
¡ Notice that
when an appositive phrase contains commas, you have to use dashes to set it off from the rest of the sentence.
Those children─selfish, deceitful, and sadistic─were evidence of their parents’ muddled
sense of values.
Use a dash when the
phrase is long
¡ When the
phrase is a long one, the end of the clause may be a good place for its placement.
¡ I can still
remember Alan’s cruelty─ the snarling tone, the cutting words, the savage eagerness to scold and insult and condemn anyone who disagreed with
him on the smallest point.
¡ The reward
for Laura’s hard work seemed more like a punishment─ruined eyesight, headaches, insomnia, loneliness.
The least customary
position for the appositive
Plato, Nietzche, Henry James, Henry Miller, and Robert Benchley─works by this strange collection of authors dominated Mrs. Grossenbacher’s
noose, the knife, the revolver─these were the murder weapons featured in the game called “Clue.”
Don’t go crazy
use of introductory appositives can appear as a fetish─a
mannerism the writer is attempting to show off.
l Act as gerunds
¡ Reading Grapes of Wrath continues to be Ron’s infallible cure for insomnia.
l and infinitives
¡ To live in the manner to which he is accustomed, George will need to earn at least $125,000 a year.
Participles are handy
l The man
scolding that child is not the child’s father.
l Present participles always end in ing.
end in ed
Fairfax stared at the AP test without understanding a word she read.
Absolute phrases add
style–but use sparingly.
¡ His novel
completed, Tom decided to go back to writing limericks.
¡ Edgar, his
strength failing, reached for a can of spinach.
As always use good judgment
l Just because
you know how to subordinate, don’t go crazy!
you have complexity, you must aim for clarity!
is still nice
is still terrific!
Series of Bad Writing
¡ You are
free to chuckle, chortle, cavort, and snort! Peanuts, Popcorn, Crackerjacks.
spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without
one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking
at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.”
In the dugout
grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.”
separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains,
one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.”
in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.”
hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.”
had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.”
Now for the World Series
thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.”
was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.”
fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.”
hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.”
And the winner is…
¡ “The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.”
Prose Style 9
• Theodore M Bernstein:
If writing must be a precise form of communication, it should be treated like a precision instrument. It should be sharpened,
and it should not be used carelessly.
Subjects and Verbs
Unify subjects and
The principle at
More subject and
• Proceed with extreme caution!
When a predicate
fails to match its subject…
• The predicate
usually involves an “is” or any one of its relatives:
Will have been
used with precision
• Two plus two
• Life to the
great majority is only a constant struggle for existence. (Schopenhauer)
• Life is one
long process of getting tired. (Samuel Butler)
• Life is a festival
only to the wise. (Emerson)
• The students’
anger over the rejection of the plan is chiefly the president’s refusal to explain why she rejected
• The students
are angry about the rejection of their plan chiefly because the president has refused to explain why she rejected it.
dislike for modern music was, as he said, its lack of “soul” – its inability to elevate
• Casal explained
that his dislike for modern music arose from its lack of “soul” – its inability to elevate the spirit.
• The horror
he felt while watching The Exorcist was the little girls hideous obscenities, not the idea of her being possessed
by the devil.
• The horror he
felt while watching The Exorcist resulted from the little girl’s hideous obscenities, not from the idea of her
being possessed by the devil.
Avoid writing is
when or is where
• The official
cause of America’s
declaration of war against Japan was when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
• The official
cause of America’s declaration of war against Japan was the bombing of Pearl Harbor
• A quiet, book-lined
corner of the attic was where she did her best thinking.
• A quiet, book-lined
corner of the attic was the place where she did her best thinking.
Is that vs. because
• Best writers
and editors prefer
– The reason is that
The reason Harry has become a Zen Buddhist is that his Aunt Edith has converted him.
• Dr. Robert Frost’s
newest kind of therapy is much more exciting than his previous one.
• He has now decided
that Yoga does more for his patients than the steam baths he was prescribing last week.
• Our cat chases
worms as eagerly as birds.
• Does the cat
chase both worms as birds?
• Or do birds
chase the worms, too?
• Joseph finds
the words of the Bible much more satisfying than Billy Graham.
• Joseph finds
the words of the Bible much more satisfying than those of Billy Graham.
• According to Buster, the symbolism of Charles Schultz, the author of Peanuts, is more profound and comforting
• …more profound and comforting than the symbolism of Hawthorne.
• After the demonstrations and confrontations had subsided, Rebecca’s antiwar student group issued a manifesto
that showed more good sense than the faculty.
more good sense than any of the statements circulated by the faculty.
a smooth use:
• Unlike the typical
Sheldon student, Jordan rises at five
o’clock every morning not to play video games but to read a few pages from Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates.
Sloppy vs. smooth
• Like Karl Marx,
very few people get around to reading the works of the great English economist Adam Smith.
• Like Karl Marx,
the great English economist Adam Smith is read by very few people.
More sloppy vs.
• Unlike his sister,
a terribly poor education was all that Jorge received.
• Unlike his sister,
Jorge received a terribly poor education.
S to 3rd
• Like California, all the favorite American virtues and vices can be found in Hawaii.
• Like California, Hawaii has
all the favorite American virtues and vices.
• No: Adam was
less skillful at throwing passes than anyone on his team.
• No: Jon, the
200-pound wrestler, knew more about Christian mysticism than anyone in his discussion group.
• Yes: Adam was
the worst passer on his team.
• Yes: Jon, the 200-pound wrestler, knew more about Christian mysticism than anyone else in his discussion
• Rule: Every
pronoun should be entirely clear in referring to its antecedent.
• Johnson spoke
with Brown only a few weeks after she had read her novel about the student rebels of the 1960’s.
• Tell your tablemates
what is unclear about this sentence.
• When Norma got
into that fierce argument with Natasha , she insulted her so often and so ruthlessly that she thought
their friendship must come to an end.
• Tables, talk.
• Crime and
Punishment is a great novel even though his final chapter leaves many readers
• Tables, yack
• Jones was thought
to be an authority on Greek philosophy, but actually she had never read them – had never so much as peeked into
• Hello? Talk!
refer to ideas…
• Countee Cullen
believes that all public schools are mediocre. This has led him to educate his children at home.
• Lucille Clifton
arrived late, which surprised no one.
Handle such pronouns
• They often lead to trouble!
No – no -
• Ernest Hemingway,
appeared briefly at the party, which surprised no one.
• Tell your table
what’s wrong with this one.
Let us repair…
• Randall Jarrell
enlivened the conversation with anecdotes from his lion-hunting sojourn in Africa. This
irritates his dull, stay-at-home wife every time he thinks about it.
• Randall Jarrell
enlivened the conversation with anecdotes from his lion-hunting sojourn in Africa. His
ability to enliven a conversation irritates his dull, stay-at-home wife every time she thinks about the safari.
Be careful that
repair is awkward
• Modifiers must
refer clearly to the words they modify.
• Madame Zapotka
saw the nation enter an economic crisis and tumble into a depression while looking into a crystal ball.
• Repair this
with your table.
• Mrs. Grossenbacher looked at the students as they whispered, passed notes, and played blackjack with only faint
signs of disapproval.
• Repair away!
• Semantics is the study of words that Kate considers supremely important.
• OK – repair on the double!
psychologist advised her repeatedly to say to herself, ”Every day, in every way, I am growing better and better.”
Some modifiers lead
• Leaking badly,
James kicked over the pail in disgust.
• Repair away!
What about this
• Driving on the
highway last night, two deer came into view as Joyce passed through the fields just outside town.
• Get out your
hammer & nails!
• Each introductory
verbal phrase should be followed immediately by the noun it refers to.
Before and Afters
• Modifiers can
get out of control
Verbal phrase issues
a glance at her double-crossing friend Toofun, anxiously chewing her fingernails.
• Anxiously chewing
her fingernails, Julia darted a glance at her double-crossing friend Toofun.
• The jet zoomed
across the sky, leaving only a thin trail of vapor, quickly disappearing in the
• The jet zoomed
across the sky, quickly disappearing in the gathering darkness and leaving behind only a thin trail of vapor.
• John Gregory
Dunne: Writing is manual labor of the mind: a job, like laying pipe.
• Concise is _____
• Specific is
• And precise
prose of skilled writers
are linked so well they “fit on to one another like the automatic couplings of railway carriages.”
l Winston Churchill
l “trans” – latin meaning across
l Bridges across gaps in sentences
was an exceptionally generous person. However, she was universally despised.
l However forecasts a contradiction to come.
town council was determined not to levy new taxes. Therefore, they did not agree to the new school project.
l Therefore = consequence or result
the third day
l Still easy to use
are more difficult to use
people overuse the obvious…
l First, second, third
l In the first, second, third place
l And so on…
marks the immature writer
l First, Jane let loose some jibes and insults. Second, her father-in-law
became angry. Third, the two of them had a furious argument on Thanksgiving Day.
l Jane’s jibes and insults angered her father-in-law and brought about their furious argument
on Thanksgiving day.
l (Notice active verbs!)
markers to remember
you want your restatement to be more precise than the original…
this smooth transition with restatement
Hopkins, a seventeenth century lawyer, attempted to subdue the Satanic forces of his beloved England.
To be precise, he launched a campaign to exterminate witches.
statement and illustration use…
l The soldiers carried out a strange kind of pacification. In the first village they pacified, for
instance, they burned down all the houses and shot all the inhabitants.
– the marker of addition
battles of the Napoleonic era continued. And through all this period the shopkeepers and merchants quietly heaped up
about using but or and at the beginning of a sentence?
your teachers to read the great masters – George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, the King James Bible!
of thumb with…
l Moreover or furthermore –
must be able to use “in addition” in their place
– correct use
l Correct: Benjamin Franklin wrote political and scientific tracts and, of course,
his great autobiography. Moreover, he was an accomplished satirist, an exposer of shams both personal and public.
l Incorrect: Queen Elizabeth could not raise enough money for government expenditures.
Moreover, she sold monopolies to greedy businessmen.
Elizabeth could not raise enough money for government expenditures. Consequently, she sold monopolies to greedy businessmen.
(in addition must apply)
l Anthony Trollope each day added at least 2000 words to whatever book he was writing. Furthermore, he was
active in other endeavors – family affairs, post office work, and card playing.
l Our nation has achieved unparalleled affluence. Furthermore, many of its people are bored, alienated, uncertain
about values and purposes and the future.
nation has achieved unparalleled affluence. Yet, many of its people are bored, alienated, and uncertain about values
and purposes and the future.
informal, use but, and, or besides.
contrast or change of direction
but for sharp contrast
Forster was a man of exceeding kindness. But it would be a mistake to look upon his kindness as a sign of weakness.
is more formal in tone
Bacon, more than any other Englishman of his time, popularized the new science. Nevertheless, he failed to appreciate
the importance of mathematics.
markers useful for contrast
the other hand
l Ex: Senator Yamamoto will certainly win the approval of the Sons of the Golden West. On the other
hand, he will lose the votes of all revolutionaries.
contrast is sharper
new contract delighted the teachers. In contrast, it infuriated the superintendent of schools, the principals, and
all the assistant administrators.
and on the contrary
l Stronger than but or however
l Can negate one idea and present a new and contrasting idea
Instead with example
didn’t even smile when he saw the new bike. Instead, he turned to his father and whined, “Why didn’t
you get me a red one?”
l Walker did not believe in
democracy. On the contrary, he yearned for an aristocracy in which he could serve as on eof the most intelligent, progressive,
and comfortable members of the elite.
for transitional effect
used well, this is powerful
l My opponent argues that this proposal would cost the state at least $3 million. Actually, the cost
would not exceed $1 million.
repetition grows tiresome
l He has begun to question his family’s values and middle-class values in general. This
skepticism has been both harmful and beneficial.
also offer tight coherence without repetition
have seen much of this while reading the archaic passages on AP practice tests.
l The ladies have strange ways of adding to their charms. They powder themselves immoderately, face,
neck, and arms, with pulverized starch. They are also most unhappily partial to false hair, which they wear
in surprising quantities. This is the more to be lamented as they generally have very fine hair of their own.
I suspect this fashion to arise from an indolent mode of making their toilet and from accomplished ladies’ maids
not being very abundant. It is less trouble to append a bunch of waving curls here, there, and everywhere than to keep their
native tresses in perfect order.
to use phrases than single words
need to refer back, non-repetitively, to the ideas before
l Clarity of ideas
my readers be able to see the connection between this sentence and my previous one?
will I guide my readers into the sentence that comes next?
can I show them the connection between this paragraph and the one I’m about to begin?
the strategies until they become habitual
transitions are _____
nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith
Chapter 11: The Sound of the Sentence
Prose Style 11
The Sound of the Sentence
Why should the writer worry about the
sound of his/her sentences?
o Even if prose is
not read aloud, it will be read with “the mind’s ear” – an inner sense of harmony or disharmony
The sensitive reader
n Lapses in prose
o Silly rhymes
o Clumsy repetitions
o Awkward collocations
of harsh syllables
Who are sensitive readers?
o High school teachers
o AP teachers
o College admission
o SAT readers
o Scholarship application
o Job application readers
o Prospective employers
o College professors
Even the insensitive reader notices
o Defects in prose
n Lack of forcefulness
How can you achieve a rhythmic, harmonious
o Read good writers
– and lots of them!
n Read with a
n Notice the
“internal echo” in the mind
Gradually enhance your ability to recognize
the difference between
o Rhythmic prose
n Virginia Woolf
n Jamaica Kincaid
n George Orwell
Newspaper writers (some)
o The greater your
sensitivity to harmony/disharmony in other people’s writing…
o The better your sensitivity
to your own strengths and weaknesses
o No pauses, commas,
semicolons, or dashes!
o Result: sounds inhuman
Sounds like a computer
Don’ts and Do’s
failure to keep pace with the leaders of thought as they pass into oblivion distresses me and makes me wonder whether I am
an absolute fool.
distresses me, this failure to keep pace with the leaders of thought as they pass into oblivion. It makes me wonder whether,
I am, after all, an absolute fool.
o Pauses are worth
o Notice how emphatic
they are at the end of the sentence – the words immediately before the pause
Why should we care?
o If the words are
o If the words express
an important idea
n Then the pause
can leave them resounding in the reader’s mind
o Avoid ending a sentence
with trivial words
o Otherwise, you are
creating an anticlimax
The reader expects
o The ending to be
o The ending to deliver
Non-effective vs. effective
reading about Genghis Khan, I was astonished by the magnitude of his power and by the viciousness of the cruelty that he
displayed from time to time.
reading about Genghis Khan, I was astonished by the magnitude of his power and viciousness of his cruelty.
Non-effective vs. effective
o What Mailer means is that a woman’s monthly period may in some way disqualify her from piloting a 100,000-ton tanker
into harbor, flying a Boeing 747, controlling a subway train, running a computer, or doing other work of a similar nature.
o [What Mailer means is that] a woman’s monthly period may in some way disqualify her from running a computer, controlling
a subway train, flying a Boeing 747, or piloting a 100,000-ton tanker into harbor.
Non-effective vs. effective
o The board of education has postponed its decision on the issue of sex education until late in April, when a citizen’s
committee set up to investigate the matter will deliver its final report, Mrs. Edith Ramirez, the board chairperson, has
o According to chairperson Edith Ramirez, the board of education has postponed its decision on the issue of sex education
until late in April, when a citizen’s committee set up to investigate the matter will deliver its final report.
o According to chairperson
Edith Ramirez, the board of education has postponed its decision on the issue of sex education. The board will make its decision
late in April, when a citizen’s committee set up to investigate the matter will deliver its final report.
Repetition and variety
o You may often gain
emphasis through repetitive rhythm.
Notice the forceful repetition
o Lord Chesterfield
to his son:
n The pleasure
is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.
o (He was warning him
against lusting after prostitutes.)
o Overuse of adjectives
o Overuse of prepositional
Not acceptable vs. Acceptable
of the younger members of the families of prominent citizens were placed under arrest for the possession of
various kinds of illegal drugs.
children of prominent citizens were arrested for possessing illegal drugs.
Not acceptable vs. Acceptable
of the surveys by American sociologists in recent years have made a point of an appreciable degree of
decline in our confidence in our institutions.
many sociological surveys have shown that our confidence in American institutions had been declining.
o Any series of
words can be
Watch the use of polysyllabic words!
o In audio-visual literature,
technical terminology substantially facilitates communication efficiency, ensures sophisticated, professional expression,
and achieves comprehension rapidity.
o After reading this
kind of sentence, we begin to doubt our own sanity!
o Manpower utilization
o Teenager peer-group
o Accuracy maintenance
o When writing about
audio-visual equipment, you should use a great many technical terms. Thus you will sound like an expert. And at the same time
you will make your prose easier to understand.
At the same time, avoid tiny word syndrome…
o Small words move
with ease where big words stand still – or, worse, bog down and get in the way of what you want to say. There is not
much, in all truth, that small words will not say – and say, quite well.
Strive for balance…
mud wasps built dirt nests hung from close trees.
the mud wasps built their nests out of dirt and hung them from nearby trees.
Repetition of words or parts of words
o Why should we care?
n It can achieve
continuity between sentences
n And –
it can achieve emphasis.
John F. Kennedy
The Inaugural Address
o …man holds
in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. [We offer a
pledge] to convert our good words into good deeds,…to assist free men and free governments
in casting off the chains of poverty.
o …the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace…
o …only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never
o Can be irritating…
n When they are
hunting antelope, the bushmen try to get within 30 feet of the antelope before hurling their spears at the antelope
Irritating, definitely irritating!
o At one time the Bushmen
inhabited all South Africa, but today they inhabit only the
Kalahari Desert. And now there is talk of permitting them to inhabit only the northern
portion of the Kalahari Desert which is habitable at this inhabitable time
in our inhabitable world.
Beware of elegant variation
o They spend a few
weeks longer in their winter home than in their summer habitat.
o Can emphasize key
o The mass of men lead
lives of quiet desperation.
Alliteration for humorous effect
o Fashionable philosophers
o Pomposity of pedagogues
Unintentionally humorous = bad writing
o Progression is not
proclamation nor palaver. It is not pretense nor play on prejudice. It is not of personal pronouns, nor perennial pronouncement.
It is not the perturbation of a people passion-wrought, nor a promise proposed.
G. Harding, President
In need of revision…
o The American Bar
Association has pointed out that prospects for the profession seem unlimited. Prophesying prosperity, the association has
proposed a plan for expansion of the profession.
o Although he was a
serious student, he disliked courses with a strong stress on stringent requirements.
Tale of the scarlet harlot
o Noah Webster, 19th
o Devoted to cleaning
up the Bible for genteel readers
o Cast out stink, belly,
bowels, breasts, womb, lust, fornication, whore, and derivatives
scarlet whore of Babylon” became – “the
Writers on Writing
o Paul O'Neil:
Always grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph, send your thumbs into his windpipe in the second, and hold him
against the wall until the tagline.
Writers on Writing
o Alexander Pope:
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance.
Writers on Writing
o Morley Callaghan:
There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It's a trick of the mind, and
he is born with it.
Prose Style 12: Parallelism
Prose Style 12
Parallelism is crucial
to good style
n Women are placed on the marketplace with fixed physical values─so much for long blonde hair, so much for good legs, so much for small waists.
n Rhetorical parallelism = grammatical parallelism + balance.
Humans are fond of
n Power of repetition
n Forceful points
n Experiment with zeal
n Never too often at this point in your development
n Just when my husband granted that I was a person, just when he granted that I had the right to fulfill myself through
a career, I discovered that I detested him.
n Shakespeare’s noblest characters express sentiments of patriotic or personal
honor which to young modern ears sound flamboyant or unconvincing.
n Most forceful kind of two-part parallelism – balanced contrasts or opposites:
n To the mighty general war was a glorious enterprise; to the plodding foot
soldier it was a grimy hardship.
n Ambition in a man is praised; ambition in a woman is denounced as unfeminine.
n Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those
problems which divide us.
Martin Luther King
n We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad
people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
n Martin Luther King,
n I was told about good but not about evil; I was shown pictures of saints
glowing with ecstasy, but not of the damned souls writhing in the flames of Hell.
n The hippie “scene” on Haight Street in San Francisco was so very visual that photographers came from everywhere to shoot it,
reporters came from everywhere to write it up with speed, and opportunists came from everywhere to exploit its drug
addiction, its sexual possibility, and its political or social ferment. Prospective hippies came from everywhere for
one “summer of love” or maybe longer, some older folk to indulge their latent hippie tendencies, and the
police to contain, survey, or arrest.
Parallel series –
Power of Rhythm
n Our transportation crisis will be solved by a bigger plane or a wider road, mental illness with a
pill, poverty with a law, slums with a bulldozer, urban conflict with
a gas, racism with a goodwill gesture.
Pursuit of Loneliness
n I spent much of my time photographing the living things of the Mohave
Desert: cactus flowers in yellow bloom, an indigo bush with dark blue flowers, kangaroo rats hopping frantically
over the sand, a vulture circling overhead, a rattlesnake basking in the sun.
Modern prose stylists
n Use forceful rhythm of parallelism
n Avoid tedious repetition
Modern AP students
n Aim for graceful, inspiring symmetry
Take Off Your Gloves
n Write! Write! Write!
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