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Great writing isn’t born, it’s built—sentence by sentence. But too many writers—and writing guides—overlook this most important unit. The result? Manuscripts that will never be published and writing careers that will never begin.
In this wickedly humorous manual, language columnist June Casagrande uses grammar and syntax to show exactly what makes some sentences great—and other sentences suck.
With chapters on “Conjunctions That Kill” and “Words Gone Wild,” this lighthearted guide is perfect for anyone who’s dead serious about writing, from aspiring novelists to nonfiction writers, conscientious students to cheeky literati. So roll up your sleeves and prepare to craft one bold, effective sentence after another. Your readers will thank you.
“an editor and grammar columnist’s funny but no-nonsense guide to better writing.” -St. Petersburg Times
“Great writing starts with strong sentences. This is your guidebook to mastering the art.” -Donald Maass, literary agent and author of The Fire in Fiction
“June mixes sassy fun with practical advice. You’ll laugh all the way to writing better.” -Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
“It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences is that incredibly rare breed of book: a guide to grammar and style that is simultaneously smart, engaging, and instructive. By tackling prose composition on a sentence-by-sentence level, June Casagrande has found a way to provide intensely practical advice for the novice writer—not to mention unexpected insights for the expert writer. It would make a welcome addition to any language lover’s library.”-Elizabeth Little, author of Biting the Wax Tadpole
|Introduction: The Sentence: The Writer's Most Important Tool||p. 1|
|Who Cares? Making Sentences Meaningful to Your Reader||p. 7|
|Conjunctions that Kill: Subordination||p. 15|
|Movable Objects: Understanding Phrases and Clauses||p. 29|
|Size Matters: Short versus Long Sentences||p. 36|
|Words Gone Wild: Sentences that Say Nothing-or Worse||p. 53|
|Words Gone Mild: Choosing Specific Words Over Vague Ones||p. 61|
|A Frequently Overstated Case: The Truth about Adverbs||p. 65|
|Are Your Relatives Essential? Relative Clauses||p. 72|
|Antique Desk Suitable for Lady with Thick Legs and Large Drawers: Prepositional Phrases||p. 80|
|Dangler Danger: Participles and Other Danglers||p. 85|
|The Writing was Ignored by the Reader: Passives||p. 90|
|You Will Have Been Conjugating: Other Matters of Tense||p. 98|
|The Being and The Doing are The Killing of Your Writing: Nominalizations||p. 107|
|The The: Not-so-Definite Definite Articles||p. 112|
|The Writer and His Father Lamented his Ineptitude: Unclear Antecedents||p. 116|
|To know Them is to Hating Them: Faulty and Funky Parallels||p. 122|
|Taking The Punk out of Punctuation: The Problem with Semicolons and Parentheses||p. 125|
|You Don't Say: Descriptive Quotation Attributions||p. 131|
|Trimming The Fat: Expressions That Weigh Down Your Sentences||p. 134|
|The Major Overhaul: Streamlining Even the Most Problematic Sentences||p. 149|
|On Breaking the "Rules": Knowing When to can the Canons||p. 164|
|Grammar for Writers||p. 167|
|Punctuation Basics for Writers||p. 191|
|The Deadliest Catches: The Most Incriminating Errors and How to Avoid Them||p. 204|
|About the Author||p. 208|
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