Grammar

It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: by June Casagrande

By June Casagrande

Nice writing isn’t born, it’s built—sentence through sentence. yet too many writers—and writing guides—overlook this most crucial unit. the end result? Manuscripts that may by no means be released and writing careers that might by no means start.
 
In this wickedly funny handbook, language columnist June Casagrande makes use of grammar and syntax to teach precisely what makes a few sentences great—and different sentences suck.
 
With chapters on “Conjunctions That Kill” and “Words long past Wild,” this lighthearted advisor is ideal for an individual who’s useless excited about writing, from aspiring novelists to nonfiction writers, conscientious scholars to cheeky literati. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to craft one daring, powerful sentence after one other. Your readers will thanks.

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Additional resources for It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences

Example text

Or FASHIONABLE—an adjective with the affix -able that appears to be built on a noun, and with an unpredictable meaning, ‘in line with the current taste of influential people’? ) You’ll almost certainly think of some sets of words that seem to suggest a different pattern from the one suggested by the word I’ve given. I’ve indicated a possibility for you to consider by putting two UN- words in the above exercise. When this happens, you should consider that you are dealing with two different elements that just happen to be written or pronounced identically.

RED-EYE (the technical problem in photography) isn’t a sort of eye, but EYE in RED-EYE is, like EYE by itself, a noun, so the condition for its being the head of the compound appears to be satisfied. But the semantic or meaning-head is unexpressed: the meaning of RED-EYE is something like ‘result of poor technique showing up as red eyes in snapshots’, and the head of this phrase is RESULT. The head is therefore, from this point of view, outside the expression being analysed. This sort of compound is called EXOCENTRIC (‘having the centre outside’)—the meaning of the head is not directly expressed in the compound.

Examples of this kind include EYEBRIGHT (the name of a plant), the pronoun SOMEBODY, MIDOFF (a fielding position in cricket) and HANGDOG (an adjective, as in a hangdog look). 12 Which of the following below are compounds? Of those that are, what is the head? 13 Which of the compounds are endocentric and which exocentric? 14 Which of the compounds are neither endocentric nor exocentric, but appear to have bases neither of which is dependent on the other, like for instance OAK-HAZEL in oak-hazel woodland (‘woodland dominated by both oak and hazel’)?

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