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Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 2. Juli 2010


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Taschenbuch, 2. Juli 2010
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8dcf9ba0) von 5 Sternen 44 Rezensionen
34 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von LPal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Williams stands out in a crowded field of experts on writing. He delves into more detail than any other expert on the topics of clarity and coherence, providing a systematic approach to diagnosing a piece of writing and correcting its flaws. He even has insights about concepts for which I thought no new insight was possible, such as the concept of topic sentences. While most writing instructors will teach you to use topic sentences and where to place it, Williams goes into extensive detail about what makes a proper topic sentence (what he calls a point sentence)and how it must introduce not only the paragraph's characters and actions, but also the paragraph's themes or concepts. You might uncover the same principles of clear writing if you carefully study several style books, but why work so hard when Williams has distilled and explained the principles already in one book?
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8e0789f0) von 5 Sternen The Contemporary Classic on Substantive Editing of Nonfiction Prose 21. November 2012
Von C J Singh - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
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Reviewed by C.J.Singh

Even a brief browsing of Joseph Williams's STYLE: LESSONS IN CLARITY AND GRACE, would persuade most readers that it makes the much touted Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" look, well, elementary. Simplistic. If the seductively slender "Elements" -- easily read in a day, no exercises to do -- could deliver its claim, by the end of the day there'd be millions of excellent writers. Besides, Williams shows how Strunk & White flout their own advice to "omit unnecessary words": he edits their 199-word paragraph to just 51 words (Williams, pp. 126-28). Williams shows grace in conceding that "in boiling down that original paragraph to a quarter of its original length, I've bleached out its garrulous charm."

In the preface, Williams urges the reader to "go slowly" as it's "not an amiable essay to read in a sitting or two.... Do the exercises, edit someone else's writing, then some of your own written a few weeks ago, then something you wrote that day."

I often assigned STYLE as the main textbook in Advanced Editorial Workshop, a ten-week course, I taught at the University of California. Each term, students rated the book as excellent. (The prerequisite to the workshop was a review course, with the main textbook "The Harbrace College Handbook." Although STYLE includes a 32-page appendix summarizing grammar and punctuation rules, most readers would be well-advised to review a standard college handbook, such as the Harbrace or Bedford. See my review of Bedford, seventh edition on Amazon.)

Amazon has published numerous reviews of STYLE's various editions. The one-star reviews criticize the author's own writing in the book as lacking grace. Let's not forget that this is a text- and work-book -- so occasional pedagogic tone is to be expected. On the whole, the author's voice sounds earnest, refreshingly honest: Commenting on what's new in the recent edition: "Finally, I've also done a lot of line editing. After twenty-five years of revising this book, you'd think by this time I'd have it right, but there always seem to be sentences that make me slap my forehead, wondering how I could have written them."

His expository style is clear. Two examples: Introducing the concepts of cohesion and coherence, Williams writes, "We judge sequences of sentences to be cohesive depending on how each sentence ends and the next begins. We judge a whole passage to be coherent depending on how all the sentences in a passage cumulatively begin. . . . It's easy to confuse the words cohesion and coherence because they sound alike. Think of cohesion as pairs of sentences fitting together the way two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle do. Think of coherence as seeing what all the sentences in a piece of writing add up to, the way all the pieces in a puzzle add up to the picture on the box."

"You can write a long sentence but still avoid sprawl if you change relative clauses to one of three kinds of appositives, resumptive, summative, or free. You have probably never heard of these terms before, but they name stylistic devices you have read many times and so should know how to use.

To create a resumptive modifier, find a key noun just before the tacked-on clause, then pause after it with a comma . . . . Then repeat the noun ... and that repeated word add a relative clause beginning with `that': 'Since mature writers often use restrictive modifers to extend a line of thought, we need a word to name what I am about to do in this sentence, a sentence that I could have ended at that comma, but extended to show you how resumptive modifiers work.'"

"To create a summative modifier, end a grammatically complete segment of a sentence with a comma . . . . Find a term that sums up the substance of the sentence so far . . . . Then continue with a relative clause beginning with `that': 'Economic changes have reduced Russian population growth to less than zero, a demographic event that will have serious social implications.'" And, free modifiers: "Like the other modifiers, a free modifier can appear at the end of a clause, but instead of repeating a key word or summing up what went before, it comments on the subject of the closest verb.

"'Free modifiers resemble resumptive and summative modifiers, letting you (i.e., the free modifier lets you) extend the line of a sentence while avoiding a train of ungainly phrases and clauses.'" In the preceding sentence, Williams simultaneously explains and exemplifies the concept of free modifiers.

In the chapter titled "Elegance," Williams points out that "the device that often appears in elegant prose" is the use of resumptive and summative modifiers. An example from Joyce Carol Oates, using two resumptive modifiers: "Far from being locked inside our own skins, inside the `dungeons' of ourselves . . . our minds belong . . . to a collective `mind,' a mind in which we share . . . the inner and outer experience of existence."

In the final chapter, "The Ethics of Style," Williams takes on academics who "rationalize opacity," with a ". . . claim that their prose style must be difficult because their ideas are new, they are, as a matter of simple fact, more often wrong than right. . . . Whatever can be written can usually be written more clearly, with just a little more effort."

Well-crafted writing emerges only from repeated rewriting. This five-star text- and workbook teaches the exacting--and joyously rewarding--craft of rewriting. Moreover, I wholly agree with the author's observation on writing clearly and cognitive psychology: "The more clearly we write, the more clearly we see and feel and think."

-- C J Singh
35 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8e0789b4) von 5 Sternen Great Lessons, but Concise? 28. September 2010
Von pwilli! - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This book contains informative lessons on grammar, sentence structure, clarity, concision, etc. The only problem I had with this book is the wordiness of the authors. Sometimes the lessons are extremely repetitive, sure it helps to drill it in your brain, but that's only if you're focused enough to keep reading. If you'd like the lessons in a shorter format, buy Style: The Basics in Clarity and Grace. You get the same lessons without the fluff.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8e078ca8) von 5 Sternen Style 28. September 2010
Von Randi - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This text is a useful tool for a person trying to understand English style and grammar and how they work. The book even describes some elements of style that have changed over time (for example rules that have been made up or others that are obsolete). I am an English Comp. teacher at a university, and I plan to use this book as a resource in my class; it will help me articulate some of the errors I see frequently in papers.
13 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8e078d08) von 5 Sternen A Surprisingly Interesting Read for Writing 21. September 2011
Von cookiemonster - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This was one of the textbooks we used for our college writing course, and I have to admit I don't usually enjoy writing, and particularly, the grammar and style that needs to go into essays. When I heard that we had to do lessons on them with this textbook, I wasn't looking forward to it. But once I started reading, I found it to be quite interesting, as it doesn't emphasize the rules of writing, but more of writing coherently and clearly. The authors are very engaging, rather than just saying this is what you need to do in your writing. If you are looking for a book to help improve your writing style, I would say give it a try!
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