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Many writers view style as a dreaded Bermuda Triangle--they have no idea how to improve anything they have written. This book dispels much of that mystery, using 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, the 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. Each chapter includes a final, quick-reference summary and a "Your Writing" assignment that readers can apply directly to their own work. Updated throughout, the Second Edition emphasizes word processing and Internet resources and includes a new chapter on subjects and predicates. The book also features a glossary of writing terms, a brief dictionary of usage, a guide to punctuation, and a detailed index. Exercises, sample answers, analytical tools, writing links, and other helps are available on the author's website at http://www.wku.edu/~joe.glaser/style%20home%20page.html.
Table of Contents
Preface Part One: What Style Is: Good and Bad Writing Chapter 1: 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 Points to Remember Chapter 2: Voices That Put You Off: Common Modes of Bad Writing The Professional Terror The Creative Genius The Sleepwalker The Clunker Points to Remember Chapter 3: Two Common Problems: Overwriting and Underwriting Eliminating Deadwood How Much Cutting Is Enough? Varieties of Deadwood Verbal Filler Authorspeak Overexplaining A Caution Against Underwriting Points to Remember Part Two: Accurate, Effective Word Choice Chapter 4: Finding the Right Words: What's in a Name? A World of Words Types of Diction Formal and Informal Words General and Particular Words Abstract and Concrete Words Long and Short Words Learned and Commonplace Words Points to Remember Chapter 5: Finding Fresh Words: Clichés, Usage, Quoting, Figurative Language Clichés Beat a Hasty Retreat Usage Cranks and Usage Demons Some Notes on Quoting Figurative Language Points to Remember Part Three: Clear Subjects and Lively Verbs Chapter 6: Subjects and Predicates Subjects Standard Sentence Order and "You-Understood" Subjects in Dependent Clauses Types of Dependent Clauses Coordinate Clauses Predicates Multiple Predicates and Predicates in Dependent Clauses Points to Remember Chapter 7: 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 Points to Remember Part Four: Making Connections: Coherence and Emphasis Chapter 8: Coherence: Making Sentences Connect Maintaining Related Grammatical Subjects Patterns of Old and New Information Reinforcing Coherence with Transitional Devices Reinforcing Coherence with Coordinate Structures Reinforcing Coherence with Subordinate Structures Points to Remember Chapter 9: 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 Points to Remember Part Five: Changing the Pace: Rhythmic and Grammatical Variety Chapter 10: 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 Points To Remember Chapter 11: 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 Points to Remember Part Six: Quick Fixes Chapter 12: Rules of Thumb 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 Points To Remember Appendix A: A Brief Dictionary of Usage Appendix B: Alphabetical Guide to Punctuation Appendix C: Glossary