Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style Lesson 9

There are a few techniques that one should know and use these to achieve elegance with their writing. They include balance and symmetry, climactic emphasis, and extravagant elegance. For a sentence to be elegant you need balance and symmetry among its different parts. The parts should echo each other in sound, rhythm, structure and meaning. This takes a lot of work to become skilled with. Climactic emphasis refers to ending the sentence with rhythm and elegance. There are three devices that are suggested to help end a sentence with special emphasis: of + nominalization, echoing salience, and chiasmus. All of these deal with word choice and order in a sentence. You want your readers to pick up on what you are trying to emphasis.

“An elegant sentence should end on strength. You can create that strength in four ways: 1) end with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or better, a pair of them.

2) End with a prepositional phrase introduced by or.

3) End with an echoing salience

4) End with a chiasmus.” (161)

The use of extravagant elegance takes the factors suggested above and includes them all. Not necessarily in the same sentence but in the same passage or paragraph.

This section also discusses the use of short and long sentences. Be careful when writing to not have all short or all long sentences. These two types convey certain feelings so be aware of the point you are trying to get across. The section leaves us with three important things to remember: “the simplicity of characters as subjects and actions as verbs; the complexity of balance syntax, meaning, sound, and rhythm; the emphasis of artfully stressed endings.” (172) These are all very important things to keep in mind when writing.


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