9780199342624

Understanding Style Practical Ways to Improve Your Writing

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780199342624

  • ISBN10:

    0199342628

  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/13/2015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

Understanding Style: Practical Ways to Improve Your Writing, Third Edition, uses the findings of modern linguistics to explore the relationship between written and spoken voices and to uncover little-known ways to control rhythm and emphasis. With a focus on sound and voice, author Joe Glaser explains and illustrates measurable, non-subjective keys to good writing--an approach that yields practical writing techniques and advice rarely found elsewhere. An excellent choice for courses in advanced composition, this book also covers more standard topics such as economy, diction, coherence, and variety--along with abundant open-ended exercises drawn from business, history, popular science, and other areas.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

Preface


PART ONE: FOUNDATIONS

Chapter 1: The Sentence as the Foundation of Style
Start most sentences with the subject
Make your subjects definitely named actors
Make your verbs name definite actions
Write mostly in independent clauses
Keep subjects and verbs close together
Keep verbs and complements close together
Use single verbs with multiple subjects. Use single subjects with multiple verbs
Favor the active voice
Choose positive rather than negative constructions
Focus each sentence on the ideas expressed by the subject and predicate
Mix long and short sentences
End sentences with a bang, not a whimper
Makeover
Your writing
Checklist

Chapter 2: Style and Audience: What's Your Purpose? Who's Your Reader?
Always write with a purpose in mind
Be alert for key words in assignments
Supply your own key words if necessary
Always consider your reader
Create an imaginary reader in your head
Create special readers for special situations
Enlist your enemies as readers
Your Writing
Checklist


PART TWO: WHAT STYLE IS: GOOD AND BAD WRITING

Chapter 3: Voices You Want To Listen to: Elements of a Written Voice
Voice and the Sound Qualities of Writing
Voice and the Writing Situation
Grammar and Voice
Diction and Voice
Avoiding Discriminatory Language
A Gallery of Voices
Your Writing
Checklist

Chapter 4: Voices That Put You Off: Common Modes of Bad Writing
The Professional Professional
The Creative Genius
The Zombie
The Clutz
Your Writing
Checklist

Chapter 5: Two Common Problems: Overwriting and Underwriting
Eliminating Deadwood
How Much Cutting Is Enough?
Varieties of Deadwood
-Verbal Filler
-Authorspeak
-Overexplaining
A Caution Against Underwriting
Makeover 1
Makeover 2
Your Writing
Checklist

PART THREE: ACCURATE, EFFECTIVE WORD CHOICE

Chapter 6: Finding the Right Words: What's in a Name?
A World of Words
Other Word Books
Types of Diction
-Formal and Informal Words
-General and Particular Words
-Abstract and Concrete Words
-Long and Short Words
-Learned and Commonplace Words
-Connotative and Neutral Words
Makeover 1
Makeover 2
Your Writing
Checklist

Chapter 7: Finding Fresh Words: Clichés, Usage, Figurative Language
Clichés Beat a Hasty Retreat: A Learning Experience
Usage Demons and Cranks
Some Notes on Quoting
Figurative Language
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist

Chapter 8: Naming Definite Actors and Actions
Naming Definite Actors
-Avoiding Indefinite Actors
-The Problem of Nominalizations
Naming Definite Actions
-Avoiding Weak Verbs: to be
-Other Weak Verbs
-Unnecessary Auxiliaries
-Unnecessary Passive Verbs
Keeping Actors and Actions Together
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist

PART FOUR: TRADE SECRETS: COHESION, EMPHASIS, RHYTHM, AND VARIETY

Chapter 9: Cohesion: Making Sentences Connect
Maintaining Related Grammatical Subjects
Patterns of Old and New Information
Reinforcing Cohesion with Transitional Devices
Reinforcing Cohesion with Coordinate Structures
Reinforcing Cohesion with Subordinate Structures
Checklist

Chapter 10: Assigning Emphasis
Nuclear Emphasis
Coming to a Good End
Nuclear Stress in Lesser Breath Units
A Note on Punctuation
Patterns of Emphasis
Using Grammatical Transformations to Shift Emphasis
Emphasis Through Grammatical Bulk
Checklist

Chapter 11: Controlling Rhythm
Sentence Rhythms
Types of Breath Units
Avoiding Overlong Breath Units
Using Breath Units to Control Rhythm
Using Stress to Control Rhythm
Using Long and Short Words to Control Rhythm
Checklist

Chapter 12: Grammatical Variety
How Sentences Become Complex
Grammatical Variety in Context
Varying Sentence Structure with Nominals
Varying Sentence Structure with Adjectivals
Varying Sentence Structure with Adverbials
Varying Sentence Structure with Parallel Construction
Grammatical Emphasis
Checklist

PART FIVE: WIDER CONSIDERATIONS

Chapter 13: The Logic Of Persuasion
Rogerian Argument
Toulmin Logic
Your Writing
Checklist

Chapter 14: Details That Give Your Style Weight
Use appropriate graphics
Research everything
Important cautions
-Evaluate your sources
-Treat your sources fairly
-Fit Researched Material Neatly into Your Text
Your Writing
Checklist


APPENDICES
Appendix A: A Brief Dictionary of Usage
Appendix B: Alphabetical Guide to Punctuation
Appendix C: Glossary
Preface
PART 1. FOUNDATIONS
1. The Sentence as the Foundation of Style
Start most sentences with the subject
Make your subjects definitely named actors
Make your verbs name definite actions
Write mostly in independent clauses
Keep subjects and verbs close together
Keep verbs and complements close together
Use single verbs with multiple subjects. Use single subjects with multiple verbs
Favour the active voice
Choose positive rather than negative constructions
Focus each sentence on the ideas expressed by the subject and predicate
Mix long and short sentences
End sentences with a bang, not a whimper
Makeover
Your writing
Checklist
2. Style and Audience: What's Your Purpose? Who's Your Reader?
Always write with a purpose in mind
Be alert for key words in assignments
Supply your own key words if necessary
Always consider your reader
Create an imaginary reader
Create special readers for special situations
Enlist your enemies as readers
Your Writing
Checklist
PART 2. WHAT STYLE IS: GOOD AND BAD WRITING
3. Voices You Want To Listen to: Elements of a Written Voice
Voice and the Sound Qualities of Writing
Voice and the Writing Situation
Grammar and Voice
Diction and Voice
Avoiding Discriminatory Language
A Gallery of Voices
Your Writing
Checklist
4. Voices That Put You Off: Common Modes of Bad Writing
The Professional Professional
The Creative Genius
The Zombie
The Klutz
Your Writing
Checklist
5. Two Common Problems: Overwriting and Underwriting
Eliminating Deadwood
How Much Cutting Is Enough?
Varieties of Deadwood
--Verbal Filler
--Authorspeak
--Overexplaining
A Caution Against Underwriting
Makeover 1
Makeover 2
Your Writing
Checklist
PART 3. ACCURATE, EFFECTIVE WORD CHOICE
6. Finding the Right Words: What's in a Name?
A World of Words
Other Word Books
Types of Diction
--Formal and Informal Words
--General and Particular Words
--Abstract and Concrete Words
--Long and Short Words
--Learned and Commonplace Words
--Connotative and Neutral Words
Makeover 1
Makeover 2
Your Writing
Checklist
7. Finding Fresh Words: Clichés, Usage, Figurative Language
Clichés Beat a Hasty Retreat: A Learning Experience
Usage Demons and Cranks
Some Notes on Quoting
Figurative Language
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist
8. Naming Definite Actors and Actions
Naming Definite Actors
--Avoiding Indefinite Actors
--The Problem of Nominalizations
Naming Definite Actions
--Avoiding Weak Verbs: to be
--Other Weak Verbs
--Unnecessary Auxiliaries
--Unnecessary Passive Verbs
Keeping Actors and Actions Together
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist
Part 4. TRADE SECRETS: COHESION, EMPHASIS, RHYTHM, AND VARIETY
9. Cohesion: Making Sentences Connect
Maintaining Related Grammatical Subjects
Patterns of Old and New Information
Reinforcing Cohesion with Transitional Devices
Reinforcing Cohesion with Coordinate Structures
Reinforcing Cohesion with Subordinate Structures
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist
10. Assigning Emphasis
Nuclear Emphasis
Coming to a Good End
Nuclear Stress in Lesser Breath Units
A Note on Punctuation
Patterns of Emphasis
Using Grammatical Transformations to Shift Emphasis
Emphasis Through Grammatical Bulk
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist
11. Controlling Rhythm
Sentence Rhythms
Types of Breath Units
Avoiding Overlong Breath Units
Using Breath Units to Control Rhythm
Using Stress to Control Rhythm
Using Long and Short Words to Control Rhythm
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist
12. Grammatical Variety
How Sentences Become Complex
Grammatical Variety in Context
Varying Sentence Structure with Nominals
Varying Sentence Structure with Adjectivals
Varying Sentence Structure with Adverbials
Varying Sentence Structure with Parallel Construction
Grammatical Emphasis
Makeover
Your Writing
Checklist
PART 5. WIDER CONSIDERATIONS
13. The Logic Of Persuasion
Rogerian Argument
Toulmin Logic
Your Writing
Checklist
14. Making Good Use of Sources and Technology
Use appropriate graphics
Research everything
Important cautions
--Evaluate your sources
--Treat your sources fairly
--Fit Researched Material Neatly into Your Text
Your Writing
Checklist
APPENDICES
Appendix A: A Brief Dictionary of Usage
Appendix B: Alphabetical Guide to Punctuation
Appendix C: Glossary

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