Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style lesson 9

This lesson focused on elegance, however, williams does make a disclaimer, saying that no one can tell anyone how to be elegant, it is something that everyone must learn for themselves, either by practice, or by reading other works that are elegant. instead, williams will explain all the aspects that contribute to elegant writing.

he begins his explaination with Balance. an elegant phrase is usually well balanced, that is each side of the sentence has echos of each other. "In Lippman's, we hear one clause and phrase echo another in word order, sound, and meaning, giving the whole passage an intricate architectural symmetry" (Williams 155).

Next Williams focuses on emphasis and the weight of certain words. he says that readers expect the end of a sentence to have more empahsis, and therefore are pleased when it has a weighty word. "At the end of a sentence, prepositions feel light- one reason we sometimes avoid leaving one there." (Williams 159). the main point of this sub section is that an elegant sentence should always end on strength. there are 4 ways to accomplish this.
1. End with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or a pair of them.
2. End with a prepositional phrase introduced by OF
3. End with an echoing salience
4. End with chiasmus.

Finally, Williams discusses the length of sentences within a passage. He advises that sentences should be roughly 15 words long, if there are consisitently too few, you would sound choppy, however if there are consistently too many, then you sound long-winded. However, williams says that there really is no need to overly worry yourself, sentences will naturally vary as long as one pays attention to editing fluff.


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