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Grammar

as Style
Exercises in Creativity
Virginia Tufte

University of Southern California
.

and
Garrett Stewart

Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
.,

9

Preface

Grammar as Style: Exercises in Creativity is intended to guide the
amateur writer in creative imitation of sentences written by professional
writers. The book is designed mainly for college students in composition,
creative writing, grammar, literary criticism, stylistics, or any combinations
of these. It is meant to be helpful also to teachers and prospective teachers
of English, and to anyone outside the classroom who wants to work at
improving his writing.
This exercise book was written to increase the usefulness of Grammar
as Style, a much longer book that offers many observations and more than
a thousand examples in an effort to illuminate the relationship between
grammar and style in contemporary writing. Ideally student and teacher
should have both books. Either can be used alone, but we think that
Grammar as Style is almost indispensable to anyone seriously interested in
these matters. What it says has not been said before and is not repeated
here, although its principles underlie this book.
The exercises in this book are grouped by chapters, in accord with
the organization of Grammar as Style. Each chapter, after the first, deals
with a major grammatical topic and its relation to style in sentences by
contemporary writers. Samples from fiction and nonfiction demonstrate the
grammatical concept and serve as models for imitation. The two books
differ in that Grammar as Style offers theoretical justification for its approach, detailed explanations, and an overwhelming number of examples,
but no exercises; Grammar as Style: Exercises in Creativicy offers an over-

The Univer.15ity of Iowa

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whelmmg number of exercises-152 of them. to be eua., eacb baled ar
examples-with only brief theoretical justification. and brief Cle•q•JI;•-IIill•
This is not a workbook of the sort that bas blanks to be

Each exercise is a writing assignment, drawing on the student's own e•pur
ence and ideas, and carefully worked out to lead to mastery of a spo; ii
technique. In mastering, one by one, the techniques this book displays, tk
novice will build a repertoire of sentence patterns to serve in whatew:
kind of writing he undertakes. He will sharpen his ability to observe, ii J
everything he reads, the author's tactics of expression. Reading, rereadin! c
studying, and imitating good example after good example; framing agaiJ f
and again his own ideas in the rhythms of expert writers-such are tl¥ 1
exercises this book spells out for the apprentice.
.
Grammatical terms in the book are sometimes explained briefly bo J
more often are defined by the examples themselves. Most of the terms an
familiar and conventional, although the book reflects both recent and tracfi. 1
tional grammatical theory. Not an end in itself, grammar becomes a vehick (
for approaching style, for appreciating language and literature, for makiJl!
one's own prose more s~tisfying.
We have tried to choose prose samples that are attractive and worthr
of imitation. If we seem to rely heavily on creative writers and literaq
critics, we have done so because their sentences often demonstrate mott
dramatically than others the structures and techniques we are trying to
teach-structures and techniques adaptable to any kind of writing. Wt
have borrowed good sentences wherever we have found them, from novcl
ists, poets, columnists, reporters, sociologists, scientists, historians, biot
raphers, book reviewers, and professors.
The samples for imitation come from writers as diverse as Sham
Alexander, Richard Armour, Isaac Asirnov, James Baldwin, John Barth
Ruth Benedict, Eric Bentley, Richard Chase, Henry Steele Commager,
Francis Christensen, Winston Churchill, Donald Davie, Ralph Ellison.
William Faulkner, Northrop Frye, Graham Greene, the writer of a Holl~
wood Bowl program, Irving Howe, Shirley Jackson, Doris Lessing, C. S
Lewis, Bernard Malamud, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Herben
Read, J . D. Salinger, C. P. Snow, Muriel Spark, Wilfred Stone, Evel}'l
Waugh, Evelyn Kendrick Wells, Monroe Wheeler, E. B. White, and Vir·
ginia Woolf. We thank these and other writers whose sentences we quott
We hope the quotations will be provocative, as well as useful for til
task at hand. It is a task. Learning to write well is work. Katherine Annt
Porter describes the deep interest in craftsmanship that the writer as artill
must have:
A writer may be inspired occasionally: that's his good luck; but Jr
doesn't learn to write by inspiration: he works at it. In that sense t1x

all you workingmen and workingwomen. these can be compressed into a few weeks or fitted comfortably into an academic quarter or a semester. we offer fifteen sets of eurcises. which gnes a Mba.. a awl ga W••••~ eot ~ • a soiJa and ~wodld trade. He must roll up . Los Angeles. In the classroom.. Ready. 1be artist is first a worker. May you mingle your joys sometimes with your earnest occupation._ . -PI til * 11M : wllo are ready to roll up their sleeves may turn now to Chapa I 1kle ~ have tried to elaborate on what this workingbook's app••i• is and why we think it is useful. depending on what additional texts are used.. California October 1970 Virginia Tufte Garrett Stewart . •dd get to wort like a bricklayer. After that.

Exclamatory 102 Chapter 13 The Passive Transformation Chapter 14 Parallelism 112 123 Chapter 15 Cohesion 131 Chapter 16 Syntactic Symbolism: Grammar as Allalogue Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1() Bibliography· Index of Authors and Index of Terms 15 5 ~ Q. Mid-Branching. and Right-Branching Sentences 71 Chapter 11 The Appositive 85 94 Chapter 12 Interrogative.oted 143 ix .Contents Preface v How to Use This Book 1 Kernel Sentences 7 16 Noun Phrases Verb Phrases 25 Adjectives and Adverbs 33 Prepositions 43 Conjunctions and Coordination 50 Dependent Clauses 58 Sentence Openers and Inversion 63 Free Modifiers: Left-Branching. Imperative.

teacher. though he can afford to ignore nothing in the long run. At its base are the words the author chooses and the patterns he finds for arranging them into phrases. we need to justify the book's entire method and to explain its practical virtues. cannot hope to give attention to everything at once. syntax is the focus. As in Grammar as Style. It grew from the parent volume as a practical aid to the would-be writer-student. Also needed is a word about those other important aspects of style brushed to the periphery by our centering on grammatical matters. Anyone who starts out to analyze the style of a particular author. anyone-in learning to fashion responsive and versatile sentences. A preliminary word is in order to explain why. and larger units. it will make good its promise as a useful volume in its own right. the reader must recognize a basic limitation and be warned by it: Style is not any one thing but is the simultaneous functioning of many features of language. 1 . or who plans to improve his own style by consciously imitating professional writers. a starting point.Chapter How to Use This Book This exercise book. Each chapter begins with explanations and moves on to examples and exercises. answering objections to the very idea of learning style or anything else creative by imitation. First. He necessarily looks about for a focus. If the book performs this service. too. paragraphs. is meant to stand next to it but to stand on its own. sentences. sentences that say what the author means and say it attractively. Each chapter in this book centers on a grammatical structure or topic that may serve as such a point of departure. and the discussion then pulls in as well certain subtopics. designed as a companion to Grammar as Style. important variations on the basic one. And there is a third problem that also demands space.

" I . must fill the spaces and be sounded. Sound waiting in the words...F hat Syntta Htu • to Do_. a structure without content. Tone coloring them. Diction. syntax becomes the rhythm of expression itself. There remain all those things that every writer. overlapping criteria. SlyN Why should it be syntax that we learn? What does grammar. but rather the drama of its presentation. must employ. and cannot remain in isolation. Connotation shacling them. Making their a~ pearance one after another. It is not the subject of this one. in short. isolated. the right words. Syntax is the arrangement of words into sentences. Other things remain. and that make us see the clifferences." It is a rhythm that must accompany meaning but that can be timed differently with no difference to meaning. Ideas. we have done just that-separated. however. the way grammar negotiates us over the terrain of meaning in the uneven interval between start and finish.. It is a melody without notes. does syntax have to do with style?* Once an arrangement of words i made "correct" and "grammatical. is certainly a major factor in any discussion of style. Other Asp ects of S tyle When we separate grammar from the whole manifold of language as expression. Rhetoric packaging them for one audience or another. all the elements of expression that make meaning in the broadest sense. then. "The Relation of Grammar to Style. Apart from any specific content. knowingly or not. combined into various structures. Syntax is only a part of style. . We are urging for syntax exclusive rights to that side of style that isn't exactly meaning. that make one meaning different from another. words art directed by syntax to act together in the performance of meaning. Words. Words holding them. grammar as style. and the search for answen has as much practical as theoretical motivation. a choice of words based on numerous. Syntax has been given the spotlight throughout Grammar as Style • 1 I l I ' • ' ( l I ( *This matter is discussed at some length in Grammar as Style. Decision about diction. deserves a book of its own. breathing new life into the metaphor long laid to rest in the phrase "the movement of prose. what else caa grammar do? Such questions are justifiable. Stress varying between them. in the introductory essay.." in the minimal sense. a factor easily blurred by a narrow focus on primarily syntactic features. however. This is the crucial notion of syntax as sequence upon which the theoretical equation of grammar as style must rest. It is.

is one half •' •' of an age-old educational paradigm-master and apprentice._ _ . we are still faced with questions about na how to "learn" style.. of course. imitation.. we know. Very few premises in any field of education can be of entered without defense. Apprentice shoemakers learn to cobble only by watching shoemakers who know how.. The question then looms for the student writer: lY What kind of experience should I get? The present chapter is an attempt 18 nt at a partial answer. why we like it and ••• wish to emulate it. But concentration is always a kind of exclusion. Few of 111· . and it has tradition firmly on its side.. 1 The italicized verb form in our last sentence.. trying their own hand at it now and then. They are not poles apart...wnm:: wilb lJ' ~eltr. This is why good parody is such an art: we must master 1 before we can exaggerate. Skills die out. there can be 1 ~ no excuse for writing a sentence with only grammar in mind. in ways that are often automatic and unnoticed. imitates them. much lj} Ut How Imitation Is R elated to Learlling and to Creativity • lS Given the notion of style as a complex of different factors cooperating ve in the production of a sentence. but it must be agreed in general that we learn by experience... they were required to watch diligently at the forge..._ _ _ . persons outside the household..... The child observes his parents.._... year after year.... and models his actions on theirs. left unargued. too. The baby shapes his mouth the way his father does... not the other aspects of style-and no pardon for a book of exercises that does not admit ren as much at the outset.& oO Cedrht'lf'i: and tb Creatt'tizly!A 3 theoretical justification. listens to new words at home or next door. when there are no more skilled artisans left to be studied and imitated.. And while there is an excuse for is sta}ing mainly with grammar in studying a given sentence. when we can imitate we have r discovered exactly what it is we admire. makes noise and soon makes speech. as a noun.......s tonyms is surely misleading... on television and at school... Blacksmiths could never have learned their trade out of books and manuals. for the first is halfway to the second.. his brothers and sisters. So far we have I briefly considered how grammar can be thought of as a contributor to style. we must now defend our premise that imitation can somehow exercise creativity. month after month. foe concentrating on such a field as syntax. The method implied in this kind of instructional formula is. We begin by admiring. so huge in itself. This sort of education operates at every level. The colon in our title erects a barrier between two separate areas of contention. and the volume it leads off is one large dose of the recommended brand of experience-imitation.... That "imitative" and "creative" may sound to some almost like an.. and comes into proud possession of a vocabulary... how it works.. There are practical reasons enough.

where we watd how the tough fingering goes.. tricks of foreshortening. it Ul at p: at St sc G B1 st: se gc in at: th dr re pr se . of light. shade. Art students learn a whole range of media and techniques. far beyond the reach of imitation. the suggested exercises will. Style. in any sentence. in this final. and it is the manipulation of these separate elements. and learn by practice. We have said that intelligent imitation requires the choice of an admirable model and a close observation of the originaL This book does both these things for you. is indeed the stamp of individual personality. from the scantest notations. while keeping the original subject before you. to tie a shoelace. Strike a balance between the needs of your subject and of your audience as you fix upon the proper weight and tone of your language. the genius. to drive a car. Every sort of sentence will be practiced. Decide whether it n. watching for stylistic turns and developments. to build around it an entire approach to the teaching of style. and then try i for ourselves. You would probably learn much just by attentively copying over some of the examples.------. to the most ambitious utterances. propose similar subjects for sentences you might wish to write on the offered model. special sense. anc! shadow by imitating their instructors in the studio. you should worry about diction every bit as much as syntax." Here we come to the sense of style as an original and private signature. by imitation. words are the essential pieces pieced together by syntax. pushing out past anything you would normally ask or expect of syntax._ • us could learn to play the piano without the 9. various strokes and washes. not their fusion under the creative pressures of personality and genius. to write-why not to write better? ~ p y p fi g ft aJ t1 gt s~ tc si • How the Exercises Work Grammar as Style: Exercises in Creativity has been conceived to make imitation programmatic. the sense that seemingly drives it. Then. drenched in glamour and shrouded in mystery. some breaking off into fragments. long before they develop their own unique "styles. And again. after the commentary has pointed to the most interesting syntactical details in samples selected for you in advance. a genuine familiarity with the ways syntax actually organizes and transforms the raw material of new subject matter as you yourself formulate it.eekly lesson. but its components are shared in different degrees and combinations by many. Make each of your words count while you are making them add up to something as a sentence. the inimitable stylist in any art form is perhaps born and not made. but both he and the merely competent stylist do learn. The great artist. the difficult chords and runs. that can be taught. The method here should add to such benefits a far greater one. we all learn by imitation. As you work through the suggested exercises to come. This is not a theory of education so much as a fact Consciously or not.

UJ IIJA.. you will model the grammar of your sentence on the proven by syntax before you..J ._. narration. J011 are to rely primarily on abstract or concrete nouns._ _. content is the variable. Should the strategy be revised. whether your diction is to have a literal or a metaaop pborical bias. with types of writing studiously respected and kept separate? What author should a beginning writer with certain rather definite goals in mind bother to emulate? What author is a good model for a senior in high school submitting an autobiographical essay as part of a college application? Or a first-semester college freshman facing a term paper on the Thirty Years' War or a take-home exam on Macbeth? Or an architect drawing up specifications for a new building. unusual Ia. The suggested topics ke are no more than that-topics of varying complexity chosen for their comh. patterns like those of the profesve sionals.patibility with the grammatical pattern that is to arrange and transmit them. examples for imitation are another. nality by giving it a slight head start and a clear destination. you will see how a prothe fessional writer in full command of his diction arranges his words with the • 1ve aid of the particular syntactic feature under study. Jk Structure is the given. or conversational.----~-------------~.. what variety and flexibility it is to sustain. . For the next :ial fifteen chapters now you will practice both by imitation. We hope it will help you ct. 1l .present. any time you want to write on an unoffered topic that interests you. • • ~ b . to develop a store of sentence patterns. of course.VW~&.. interrogation are used almost indiscriminately in Grammar as Style to illustrate and examine modern professional usage.. simple or elaborate adjectives and illl ldvub&. and what interest your words themselves can foster in the ideas they join with syntax to na. an industrialist drafting a report to his stockholders? What can any of these writers stand to gain. that should increase the expressive yield of your writing... of and themselves often suggested by the content or title of the model passage. Alerted to the nts grammatical feature you are to concentrate on. polemic. Imitation of this kind hardly stifles creativity-rather it primes origi... It trains while it taxes inventiveness._. This will be the usual format. literary or chatty. many or few.t preciP: •abs or everyday forms.. description.._... And. practically speaking. :d • lll ct :e ~y ::r •t. led All this you should practice while you practice syntax.. you should do so. With your own words. ... But samples are one thing. from a familiarity with the polished and involved sentences of important contemporary novelists? Or what does an entrant in the school short-story contest. technical or not. then. :I Y :I s ~ J t T h e Choice of Models But what are you to imitate? And why? Exposition. a business- ._ _ _•. words selected thoughtfully by you to furnish a sentence on a sugtot gested topic. ist.

Watch for good sentences everywhere. Certain choices of words succeed in the lyrical last pages of a novel that would look idiotic in a law school's bulletin. but some have come from new searches. and force yourself to imitate them now and then. We are encouraged. Although this book is designed to be self-consistent and self-explanatory. a literary historian probing the effects of serialization on the Victorian novel. but the syntactic patterns that assist the novelist in displaying his brilliant choice of words might well serve the bulletin editor in making his announcement more readable and appealing. • man taking a correspondence course in creative writing for relanrion. This is not surprising. Read aloud the prose you admire. With shortened explanations and commentary. more so than skills in diction. is simply "proper words in proper places. everything. • . there is no magic or talent in their discovery. Remember to practice not grammar but style: diction. especially grammatical techniques.. syntax. or any general reader wishing for increased sensitivity to the good writing be meets-what do these people have to learn from the sentences of a political analyst writing about Asian affairs. Take as your motto the famous definition offered by Jonathan Swift. he said. For certain proficiencies. an art critic faulting a recent retrospective exhibit. engineers and even poets. by every aspiring writer. a housewife hoping to climb the best-seller list with a new candid DOYel. a scientist projecting the future of our space programs? The answer: There is much to be learned. are basic to all writing. it is still unavoidably sketchy. They are shared. Listen to its rhythms. and your own. Attentive reading of good prose should bring you up against some just as interesting every day. considered by some to be the greatest prose stylist in the English language. therefore. Style. many of the examples are repeated from Grammar as Style. from every good writer." The large task ahead of you now is to find them and put them there. to borrow syntactic examples from any place good writing is going on. by biographers and journalists.

Names are debts. Liberty is not license. A subclass of these equative clauses is what we call metaphor. Beauty is truth. The child is the father of the man. Honesty is the best policy. connected by a form of be. We offer examples from The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs. truth beauty. Virtue is her own reward. They have nouns in the first and third slots. in its simplest form: the equation of apparently unlike things. Kernel patterns lend themselves perfectly. Here are some proverbial metaphors: I Kisses are keys.a )f 1e al ts >- • Chapter •? •• r. brief axioms. by themselves or in loosely locked pairs. Every couple is not a pair. ! The Be-Pattern : Equative Clauses The sentences below are equative clauses. 7 • . Knowledge is power. to pointed statement. basic sentence is a proper receptacle for essential meanings. a natural setting for pithiness and compressed statement. • Business is business. where a forced synonymy brings some new insight. summary. Life is a pilgrimage. Kernel Sentences tl s j t A short. not as guides to behavior-any sensible person should be wary of an easy acceptance of aphorisms-but as illustrations of the basic patterns. and aphorisms.

• EQUATIVE CLAUSES AND METAPHOR For practice in constructing equative clauses. we often find adjectives in the slot after be. in another equative clause: Metaphor is the swift illumination of an equivalence. seems. The most common linking verbs (appears. grows) refer to something in process. or an idea and an image. surprising the reader with a sudden light. Two images. grows. continues. rewrite the last set of proverbs as linking clauses. Fact is stranger than fiction. Also. you might try thinking up your own noun phrases to complete the familiar "Happiness . Example is better than precept.And here is a writer about style using a metaphor to define metaphor." Be as cynical. somewhat less strongly assertive. life is short. as in the following sentences. looks. and so on. . Linking Y erbs Far less common than the be pattern is the pattern with linking verbs. forge a simple metaphor on the subject of each of the preceding aphorisms. appears. For example: "Every couple is a battlefield" or "Life is a compromise" or "Names are chains. again from the dictionary of proverbs: Revenge is sweet. Everything is good in its season. replacing is with feels. seems. Art is long. Love is blind. than the be-pattern. or moralistic as you wish. . EXERCISE 1. lS • . " Instead of nouns. 28. English Prose Style. romantic. stays. clash together and respond significantly. Fortune is blind. LINKING VERBS: TEMPERING THE ASSERTION To get the feel of sentences with linking verbs. feels) are a little more tentative. gets. EXERCISE 2. Blood is thicker than water. stand equal and opposite. remains. keeps. -Herbert Read. and some of the linking verbs (becomes. Beauty is skin-deep. p.

) .The lntramitive The third basic sentence pattern. Her pulse beats matrimony. Nature passes nurture. the transitive. Fortune favors fools. The fool wanders. Manners know distance. Loving comes by looking. the wise man travels. Silence gives consent. Might makes right. Failure teaches success. Pardon makes offenders. One lie makes many. with its subject. The beggar may sing before the thief. A rolling stone gathers no moss. here are examples of the fourth basic pattern. Curiosity killed the cat. the intransitive. is illustrated below: Time flies. and direct object : Words bind men. Nature abhors a vacuum. verb. Accidents will happen. Death pays all debts. The end justifies the means. Pride goeth before destruction. Charity begins at home. Clothes make the man. The stream cannot rise above its source. Many drops make a shower. History repeats itself. Mercy surpasses justice. The sea refuses no river. Murder will out. The Transitive And now. Beauty draws more than oxen. The tide stays for no man. A stitch in time saves nine. Misery loves company.

make the diction concrete and particular. . one static and descriptive. or some of those you coined. Choose three or four of the common proverbs. fools believe them. Examples: Custom is consolation. FUNCTIONAL SHIFT IN SHORT SENTENCES Now try altering some of the proverbs in the preceding lists by substituting verbs or adjectives for the nouns. an -ing verb preceding the subject. Hemlines seem capricious. EXERCISE 5. Following are two paragraphs. but rather as a handy term for a short. and ·don't worry about losing the ring of certain truth. Then frame a few observations or generalizations of your own in short sentences. Dying pays all debts. Wits write aphorisms. Certain human values endure. For example: Fortune favors the foolish. we are not using the term kernel at all rigorously. Keep the sentences short. Short Sentences at Work in Paragraphs It is now time to start putting kernels and near-kernels together into larger patterns. NARROWING THE GENERAL TO THE PARTICULAR Universal. Think of some proverbs that have infinitives in the noun slots (To err is human . In the last two sentences of the preceding list. In this book. and a prepositional phrase following the subject. unadorned statement in the basic patterns... proverbial assertions are usually couched in rather general terms. Try each of the basic patterns. Some rules of etiquette are silly. for example. a negative. ) and write some of your own. • • SHORT PATTERNS AND PROVERBIAL STATEMENT See if you can recall proverbs not included above that are in kernel or near-kernel form. EXERCISE 4. EXERCISE 3.Some Transformations Several of the examples quoted thus far display a few of the many transformations by which kernels are changed or expanded. and try to narrow the scope of meaning. Write down half a dozen or so and notice which of the four basic patterns they follow. we see.

. there was diversion. p. a tennis champion. -Thomas Merton. EXERCISE 8. part naked. a rodeo rider. for instance. He fired off a gun and made the people listen. BREAKJNG THE PREVAILING SEQUENCE OF ACTIVITY Working with what you produced for the last two exercises. the second on transitive and intransitive patterns: r ' • It was dreary. S. part wrapped in a flame-colored robe. p. or an intransitive. almost gigantic. . The first relies on the be-pattern. a mob leader. a transitive into your static passage. 31. Blend transitive and intransitive kernels in single and compound sentences for a description of vigorous behavior-an angry father. He blew back into the wind and stamped on the rolling earth and swore up and down he could make it all stop with his invention. but it was rare. It was not human though it was like a human divinely tall. not like Jane. He got up into the teeth of the storm and made a loud speech which everybody heard. TRANSITIVE AND INTRANSITIVE PATTERNS IN A VIGOROUS PARAGRAPH Now imitate the Merton example above. Lewis. -C. but it was remote. p. work which was mean and long. The Behavior of Titans. There was danger. a wearisome flight. It was larger. a gray landscape. break the prevailing mode of your kernels by introducing at the close a pattern from the other end of the scale of activity. -Norman Mailer. a boring class. 133. and work of the most distasteful character. For the most part it was work. EXERCISE 7. He roared and he boasted and made himself known. He swore at the top of his voice. Advertisements for Myself. It was not Jane. He cried out loud. a baseball manager. Imitate its form in describing a dull job. Light came from it. 382. THE BE-PATTERN IN A STATIC PARAGRAPH Study the preceding example from Norman Mailer for its repetition of be-patterns. EXERCISE 6. as in these two examples: He looked up and perceived a great lady standing by a doorway in a wall. That Hideous Strength.one a stretch of energetic narration.

In Exercise 9 you were asked to experiment with using a kernel to punctuate the close of a paragraph. t~ between clauses of definition or description and clauses of action: Her ringlets are dark. and punctuate the close of it with a kernel proverb. one of your own or one from the list of illustrations.:.Evelyn Waugh. for that matter.The other is not as dramatic. It heeds. . and his own moving life-story. T he Kernel as Focus or Punctuation in a Series of Longer S entences One of the kernel's most important functions is to focus or punctu ate a series of larger sentences. Her smile is smug. middle. as well as for the paragraph it leads off: Charles Dickens belongs to all the world. Yet this same "all-powerful" ocean now proves as slavishly subservient to natural laws as a moth caught by candlelight or a rose seed blown into the the Atlantic.evokes such reverence. A Little Learning: An Autobiography. He is a titan of literature. p. with its radiances of laughter. or redwood forests--. but it makes a petti!M'Dt 0011bast. three kernel sentences stand as a kind of focus and pivot at the center of a paragraph: No other natural phenomenon on the planet-not even mountains five miles high. p.Edgar Johnson . and its dark and fateful drift toward disillusion even in the midst of universal acclaim. She is not mourning deeply. her skin very fair. epitomizes hardly less powerfully than his works the mingled comedy and tragedy of the human struggle. for instance. its conquests of genius. EXERCISE 9. may work in this way at the beginning. vii. Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph. The ocean obeys. Write a short passage. rivers spilling over cliffs. In the sample that follows. or end of a passage. 3. or any short sentence. APHORISTIC KERNEL AS CLOSING SENTENCE OF A PARAGRAPH Try an experiment. but to all who find compelling the color and fullness and travail of life itself. . This book is therefore addressed not only to literary scholars. stands as a sort of topic sentence for an entire two-volume biography. her fine eyes inviting and she did not wait long for a second husband. The short sentence below. . A kernel. three or four sentences.

•• t I ' '' He stood in the rain. they stopped. p. It complies. claustrophobic. not knowing if the lovers were real or simply creations of the lightning and when it stopped. The nurseries of marine life can be varied. a kernel sharpens up the paragraph by punctuating it at the end: ~. Even if you don't believe the human lot has more to offer than this prospect of wretchedness. or end of the paragraph. play. lg In the two forthcoming samples. locked into a ruthlessness of perception. Set it down. Take one of the preceding samples as a model. p. 2-3. and expand on it with examples. middle. EXERCISE 10. or summary. qualification. or try one of the following: the opening paragraph of a biography. 84. some surprise. a river meeting the sea. a woman whose "pulse beats matrimony. and choose a topic that the model suggests to you. Washington. so was the sudden soft moan from the poolhouse. pivot. ~ore Vidal. or Martin Luther King. one you have some knowledge of or experience with: a man bound by his words. or one of your relatives.C. liquor is . Frank is very skillful. "First Novels: Sweet and Sour. But the cold rain was real.. unable to move. It has its tolerances and its stresses. you must write as if you do. The Frail Ocean. Place the sentence at the beginning. Otherwise." Find a topic you can write about. some variation. May 1968." Harper's. but in a novel there has got to be some contingency. or a rainstorm. He fled. a description of redwoods. In real life Bartholemew might indeed be a hopeless case. . go back to the list of proverbs under "The Transitive" earlier in this chapter. perhaps ofT. a breach of good manners. counterinstances. 4. but his novel remains airless. and begin. or novel.. Or just use the proverb to suggest a related subject. D. -Wesley Marx. the ocean falters. having loved in sleep. Eliot. unless of course be was dreaming one of those dreams from which he would awaken in that pain which is also sharpest pleasure. pp. S. y. an instance of undue concern with clothing. anything you like. -Irving Howe. a brief criticism of some aspect of a recent film. When these are surpassed. wheat fields. and choose one of them. If none of these topics appeals to you. Mr. Fish stocks can be depleted. I THE SHORT SENTENCE AS FOCUS FOR A PARAGRAPH Develop a paragraph in which you use a very short sentence as focus.• •r quicker.e.

Before and After Socrates. liberal . He He He He is is is is a a a a conservative . They branch off after the base clause. we are not to stuff modifiers inside the kernel. and to add modification in the manner demonstrated. holding to the tradition of Socrates' cheerful indifference to bodily pleasures. Sentences with free modifiers in this position are referred to later in this book as right-branching sentences. let us see what common sense and a good model to imitate can suggest to you. waits . In advance of specific attention to the various forms of free modification that will come in late'r chapters. take one from each of the following lists. to the right-hand side of the base clause. A KERNEL AS BASE. set off by commas. Cornford.. with face set towards a peak of infallible wisdom and virtue.Pre&ervation of a S hort Ba&e Clau•e amid Elaboration in a Long Sent. . As base clauses.. In this exercise. conformist . -F. • The preservation of intact kernels. nonconformist . M. . . . . WITH ELABORATION AFTER IT: THE RIGHT-BRANCHING SENTENCE T ake as your models the two sentences below that have italicized clauses: He is the puritan. but to preserve it intact. .. He marches. 108. He can see . and add modification to it in the manner demonstrated by Cornford's sentences. the italicized segments are base clauses. which even the small company of the elect have little or no hope to climb. talks . . All the rest of the sentence.ence . consists of free modifiers. EXERCISE 11.. but disposed to mistake this indifference for a rather grim and graceless asceticism. that is. . So much for that. no distinction between trust in providence and submission to fate. In the sample that follows. . . . a skill made possible only by free modification-probably the most crucial topic in the whole study of grammar as style. in both the sentences below. He He He He marches . p. Our immediate concern is to practice writing some sentences like the ones below. and each one is a kernel. in the filthy rags of righteousness. or very brief clauses amid much elaboration is one of the most important skills for a beginning writer to master. listens .. .

. Choose a topic you know something about. Build details into the modification. substitute some other noun in the first column. and some other verb in the second.1 If you wish. In later chapters there will be plenty of opportunity to practice deploying a variety of modifiers around the kernel as base clause.

The predicate can also accommodate many noun phrases in the form of predicate nouns. books on architecture and urbanism. television. lives and dies! . publicity. exhibition. disappearance of rebellion. rebellion. 31.Ionel Schein. direct and indirect objects. . noun phrases serve in appositives and nominative absolutes. introduced to us without predication. and can collect in a single socket as a noun series or noun catalogue. grease pencil. and objects of a preposition. imaginative sketch. weird perspectives. nouns can enter into what we think of as adjectival or adverbial positions. Nouns as Fragmentary Sentences We shall begin with a use of the noun phrase not mentioned so far.Chapter Noun Phrases • • The subject of a sentence is by no means the sole domain of the noun phrase. The names themselves. integration into the system. August 1966. "A Phenomenology of Research. objective complements. or things. model. publication. These and other noun phrases are indispensable for a mature and versatile style. p. worldwide recognition. We all remember our first definition of "nouns" as names-names of persons. lectures. Coarse paper. sometimes serve as fragmentary sentences. La glorie! That is how ARCHITECfURAL RESEARCH nowadays is born. Bel-Air. USA. radio." Arts and Architecture. USSR : FAIA. places. In addition. publicity. In free modification outside the base clause. the great architectural critic inventing cinemascopic epigrams.

proceed more slowly and deliberately from noun fragments to full sentences. Triumph. places.EXERCISE I . Work in reverse this time by dropping noun fragments into place after their context has been prepared by fuller statement. an assortment in series. it is possible to make book on the probable winner. EXERCISE 2. or things for yourself. Waves of applause. Or imitate the form of the example above in describing an evening's TV offerings. EXERCISE 3. Describe the "crescendo finish" of a symphony concert. maybe . . from immediate impressions quickly set down to a more coherent statement? Try progressing this way yourself. Or winning a game. 1967. or reaching the goal on a long hike or climb. to the ideas it arranges: . 30B. Why does this seem a sensible progression. NOUNS AS FRAGMENTS AFTER SENTENCES THAT GIVE CONTEXT Shift gears again. -Shana Alexander. NOUN FRAGMENTS WITH A SUMMARY SENTENCE Name some persons. the final chords and tbe first ovation. Get acquainted with several of them as a group. a housewife's daily chores. like this next sample. eyesores along a highway. Simply: If Bette Davis and Joan Crawford should ever come to blows.Brooks Atkinson. This is the idea: Success. Brief Chronicles. May 19. Life. The night came to a kind of crescendo Andy Hardy finish that I . Or the first sting of cold water on a spring swimming expedition. Bette Davis.have never been able to recapture. and then tying them together in a sentence of summary like that in the sample. parodying the progress of a college semester with a parade of discrete blunt nouns. say. FROM IMPRESSIONS TO COHERENT STATEMENT Instead of racing through such an obstacle course of nouns. or vacationers on a beach. Or in a complex "free-style" grammar appropriate. p. Start sharply. 33. p. Saturate yourself in "noun-ness" by performing a routine similar to the one above.

Here is another selection from Bellow: Stopping.I am an American. write an opening to a brief chronicle or adventure. and those who have seen the footage have strongly advised me against nurturing any elaborate distribution plans for it. first admitted. air. -Saul Bellow. Some examples: Something of literally life and death importance had happened in mortal history. The Adventures of Augie March. he looked for daylight. To get straight to the worst. or are joined with adjectives in compounds.Katherine Anne Porter. a memoir or other story. D. . Borrowing suggestions from the titles of the last three excerpts. and will make the record in my own way: first to knock. Salinger. bandy-legged. These functional shifts often replace nouns with hyphenated compounds: That hummated. p. Nouns Modifying Nouns Nouns often modify other nouns. . it was there. 184. The light was there. B. texturing it as a developed noun phrase and pointing back to the complete sentences that give it context. -1. The Adventures of Augie March. Flowering Judas and Other Stories. • Notice how much modification can attach to one unattached noun. 47. that somber city-aDd go at things as I have taught myself. Phillips. Yes. Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories. if not grace. sometimes an innocent knock. using noun phrases as fragments in company with complete sentences. . weak-haired and injured-in-the-eyes Sylvester. p. Sometimes the modifiers are in the company of adjectives. Conceive your own contexts for some dramatic noun fragments to depend on. Or. however . Ring of Truth. . -Saul Bellow. p. sometimes a not so innocent. Chicago born-Chicago. free-style. 36. . p. The noun as prenominal modifier is useful. . -1. -Saul Bellow. 213. . often efficient. The grace of life still there. p. Franny and Zooey. what I'm about to offer isn't really a short story at all but a sort of prose home movie. opening. 200. she bought the green glove silk slip with the tea-colored lace. but easily overworked.

17. Notice how easy it is to slip into jargon with some of these noun compounds and noun modifiers. :lll NOUNS AS PRENOMINAL MODIFIERS In two or three sentences of your own. a yachtsman. etc. p. If they will make you or your sentence more interesting. critic. the carbon dioxide gas laser and the neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet crystal laser. perhaps. a total abstainer. NOUN SERIES FOR DEFINITION Define yourself in this way. a massier. a baby. But beware. Use nouns and noun compounds as prenominal modifiers. EXERCISE 5. lecturers. a hospital patient.. essayist. and a lot more. June I968. painter. Do you find any nouns that cannot be used in this :iS way? Try always for variety and interest. They are efficient: Je a h The most promising candidates for the oscillator now include such lasers as the helium-neon gas laser. pamphleteer. sculptor. an editor. -Donald F. and for nouns that seem especially suited to this task of modification. Nelson. soldiers. all rolled into one. draughtsman. I ." Scientific American. I have been a soldier. p. patients. philosopher. explain how to adjust a machine. Blasting and Bombardiering.work them. combining all of your roles into one. I am a portmanteau-man (like "portmanteau-word"). "The Modulation of Laser Light. a traveller. a lecturer. their premeditated jam-up in a single syntactic groove: 1 I am a novelist. 3. e e Nouns in Series ·- Different from either the free-floating nouns as fragments or the freelancing nouns in adjective territory is the special use of nouns en masse. Make sure you do not overr.!ld b. as if you were a character in fiction.e EXERCISE 4. journalist. -Wyndham Lewis. politician. So I have met other editors. Try to create some interesting compounds. like l ) I • • one of those portmanteau-men of the Italian Renaissance. Or write an attack on a public figure you don't like. etc. have more occasion than other writers to use tc structures of this sort. an alcoholic. make them up. alcoholics. ~Scientists.

Louis Untermeyer. rogue'1 tale." is linked with epic.Richard Stern. his readiness to accept a challenge. -Edmund Wilson. like the above sample. Nouns as Appositives Study one more noun catalogue containing the bulk of information in the sentence it expands: He was unpredictable. . and a beatific divinity. p." Honey and Wax: Pleasures and Powers of Narrative. letter. . NOUN SERIES TO SUBDIVIDE A TOPIC OR TO CATALOGUE ITEMS Prose fiction. EXERCISE 7. Write about orchestral music or sports or mathematics. say. Expand on this model a catalogue built for the last exercise. memoir. his recklessness and ineptitude in practical matters. fable. • Subdivide a discipline or hobby. at times a sly mischief-maker. that form which "takes the minutest impressions. case history. variety. notice the amount of deftly varied modification that can accompany each item of such a noun series: He was a Northerner who resembled the Southerners: in his insolence. An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry. "Prefatory Note. and striving for interest. NOUN SERIES WITH VARIED MODIFICATION Next. as subject. chronicle. at other times a cruel tyrant. anecdote. Patriotic Gore. and put the catalogue you derive into various grammatical spots. 1. p. 'his independence. x. rhythm. report. prose romance. biography. . his romantic and chivalrom view of the world in which he was living. and what have you. a rascal playing with dangerous arrows. a dispenser as well as a healer of wounds. in its different branches. using phrasal additions and compounding to add new information.EXERCISE 6. or films. some specialized interest about which you know a good deal. 537. essay. or predicate noun. or as a large object of a preposition.

taking the whole base clause as its referent. his sunken. but rather an adjacent niche for free modification-an appositive slot. p. her eyes upcast and her lips dainty and tremulous. however. especially in narrative prose. her face tanned and smooth.----. in the heat. part of its predicate having been deleted : He laughed quietly. Noum in Nominative Ab1olute1 We turn now to a structure that is almost a clause. her brown eyes popping and her blond hair. it is not a basic slot in the sentence opened out for extensive modification.Joseph Heller. the nominative absolute. The nominative absolute is a sentence modifier. 249. Here. than you would be likely to suspect if you weren't alerted to it. 120. you would be restoring the nominative absolute to a form in which it could stand as a separate sentence. Here are three nominative absolutes from a single novel. -Saul Bellow. 71.Bellow. Decisively. 141. it is a far more common and natural device. -Bellow. Catch-22. p. and sang as she washed. three out of dozens. . she left the bathroom. shrewd eyes sparkling perceptively with a cynical and wanton enjoyment. perhaps hundreds. Herzog. but awkwardly. She leaned closer to him. p. her stride hampered by the long ugly skirt. It consists of a noun phrase and part of a predicate. 208: EXERCISE 8. happy. .-Again a noun slot is densely packed. Practice and further description is held for Chapter 11. -lames Baldwin. Each of the followiqg nominative absolutes also is a reduced sentence. in the gloom. p. Another Country. She bathed often. . that could have been chosen: In the brighter light of the seaward side of the house she looked extremely well. As such. forming a damp fringe about her brow. p. NOMINATIVE ABSOLUTES AS SUBSTITUTES FOR COMPLETE SENTENCES Notice that if you inserted "was" or "were" in each of the italicized structures above.

Again a noun slot is densely packed. Here, however, it is not a basic

slot in the sentence opened out for extensive modification, but rather an
adjacent niche for free modification- an appositive slot. Practice and
further description is held for Chapter 11.

Noun• in Nominative Ab&olute&
We turn now to a structure that is almost a clause, the nominative
absolute. It consists of a noun phrase and part of a predicate. The nominative absolute is a sentence modifier, taking the whole base clause as its
referent. As such, it is a far more common and natural device, especially
in narrative prose, than you would be likely to suspect if you weren't
alerted to it.
Here are three nominative absolutes from a single novel, three out
of dozens, perhaps hundreds, that could have been chosen:
In the brighter light of the seaward side of the house she looked
extremely well, happy, her face tanned and smooth.
-Saul Bellow, Herzog, p. 120.
Decisively, but awkwardly, she left the bathroom, her stride hampered by the long ugly skirt.
- Bellow, p. 141.
She bathed often, and sang as she washed, her eyes upcast and her
lips dainty and tremulous.
-Bellow, p. 208:

EXERCISE 8.

NOMINATIVE ABSOLUTES AS SUBSTITUTES
FOR COMPLETE SENTENCES

Notice that if you inserted " was" or "were" in each of the italicized
structures above, you would be restoring the nominative absolute to a form
in which it could stand as a separate sentence. Each of the followi.Qg
nominative absolutes also is a reduced sentence, part of its predicate having
been deleted:
He laughed quietly, his sunken, shrewd eyes sparkling perceptively
with a cynical and wanton enjoyment.
-Joseph Heller, Catch-22, p. 249.
She leaned closer to him, her brown eyes popping and her blond hair,
in the heat, in the gloom, forming a damp fringe about her brow.
-James Baldwin, Another Country, p. 71.

Peace threw the bone down on the ground, his lips drawn back in
grimace.
-John Hersey, White Lotus, p. 263.

4

Now, the fighting done and peace restored between them, or what·
ever state it was that was restored, they played together.
- William Golding, The Inheritors, p. 176.
Then these melodies turn to ice as real night music takes over,
pianos and vibes erecting clusters in the high brittle octaves and a
clarinet wandering across like a crack on a pond.
-John Updike, Rabbit, Run, p. 31.

A boat glides by like a shadow, the moon going down behind her
tall sails. The boat sails on, through the very slowly lightening night,
through moonlight and music, the soft sea speaking against her side,
and is gone again.
-Dylan Thomas, The Beach of Falesa, p. 5.
Can you reconstruct each of the nominative absolutes above into a
complete sentence? Is it possible to do so in each instance by inserting
"was" or "were"? Why do you suppose the authors did not write these
as separate sentences?
Change the italicized sentence below to a nominative absolute. At
how many different points would it be possible to attach it to the preceding sentence? Which do you prefer?
I sat before the fire, musing, till it grew late. A volume of Dickem
was on my knee.
Here is the sentence as Stephen Leacock wrote it:
So I sat before the fire, a volume of Dickens upon my knee, musing,
till it grew late.
--Stephen Leacock, "Fiction and Reality," The Bodley Head
Leacock, p. 305.

EXERCISE 9. A DESCRIPTION
Describe yourself before a fire. Use a nominative absolute or two
and some other free modification.
Remembering the discrete "noun-ness" of the fragments worked
with earlier, do you think that this isolated nominal force is carried over
into absolute constructions in any way? What effect does the freewheeling
nature of the absolute, its independence as a modifier of the whole main
clause, contribute to the feel of a sentence as it goes by?

-r---~--------~-~---~~---- ~

EXERCISE 10.

- . ., ....

BUILDING ABSOLUTES AROUND
BASE CLAUSES

Try building a number of absolutes around one or more of these base
clauses, taken at random from Newsweek, December 1, 1969:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

The astronauts scrambled up a hill.
The dead are half his company.
Computers spew forth their documents.
David Niven plays the mastermind here.
The routine cadence of a senate roll call belied the feverish excitement of the crowded floor and galleries.

The Long Noun Phrase: "Hallmark of ]argon"
Moving from the preceding sections on the appositive and the absolute, we turn from the noun phrase as a modifier to the long noun phrase,
usually in subject position, that has been described by Francis Christensen
as "the very hallmark of jargon." The kind of noun phrase he is talking
about is usually loaded with bound (restrictive) modifiers, easy to write
but difficult to decode. Such a noun phrase, stuffed with compounds, embedded phrases, and embedded relative clauses, is indeed the "hallmark of
jargon" here, and a kernel is nowhere to be found:
The control of these fundamental protective systems and the channeling of them into team play and individual effort that possess logic
and reason acceptable to the individual's culture represent the mental
hygiene of athletic endeavor.
-Joseph P. Dolan and Lloyd J. Holloway, The Treatment and
Prevention of Athletic Injuries, p. 1.

So too:
'

A few families of farmers bound by the simple refusal to leave the
grass, the lean growth coming slowly out of the raw soil, the trees,
rock and hill--all that the ravaging waters had left behind-bad
survived.

But the last sentence was not really executed this way by its author. In
this description of a kind of bondage, the author in fact loosened her central noun phrase "a few families" from a thirty-four-word bound modifier
headed by "bound," making this over into a freely attached verb phrase
and releasing a hidden kernel as her base clause:
A few families had survived, a few farmers, bound by the simple
refusal to leave the grass, the lean growth coming slowly out of the

176. shining through the isolated windows. . Keziah Dane. Levin. is to master two features of grammar as style for the price of one. showing the occasional tall. It is important in helping you recognize the sort of thing a good writer should avoid. The General. too. You learn to avoid bulky noun phrases. p. p. . One meaning is owed so closely to the one before that a logical debt is contracted that is very hard to redeem. "Comments on Meter. 129. And notice the problem created here. by Seymour Chatman and Samuel R. nothing pays off. p. the transplanting of embedded struc-tures into branching positions as free modifiers. 3. To avoid this kind of writing. with its ponderous twenty-seven-word noun phrase headed by "cases": There remain cases in which the inadequacies of a conventional orthographic record cannot be put to rights by assumptions drawn from generalizations about the language and dialect in which the poem is composed or from hypotheses about the meaning or the meter of the poem. a technique previewed in the last chapter and soon to receive further attention. showing the occasional tall. Like this sentence. Stylistically. to make sentences on the excellent models studied in this chapter. rock and hill--all that the ravaging waters hod left behind. solitary wall of a house still standing like a makeshift crutch holding up the sky became visible again. the trees. solitary wall of a house still standing. in this next hypothetical rewrite: Stars shining through the isolated windows. and you also get practice in isolating kernel clauses as the base for branching patterns of free modification.raw soil. --Sue Grafton.Awn Sillitoe. like a makeshift crutch holding up the sky. ed. • Stars became visible again. Dependence becomes a real burden. is extremely important for a working sense of grammar as style." Essays on the Language of Literature. .Rulon Wells. What you have just watched. . at least.

Some of its effect and interest comes from its participial verb phrases. adjective. seems to demonstrate them. that are well drilled. 190. Participles. sentences that are turned out cleanly. itself. Here is what might befall our last example if English grammar did not allow clauses to be reduced: We have nouns that are strong. verbs that are plain and usually active. Present and Past Here is a sentence that has as its direct object a series of three nouns. Participial phrases. gerunds. p. and marching to their purpose. and that are marching to their purpose. Wilson Knight. is a series of three verb phrases: I I We have strong nouns. each well modified. "Byron: The Poetry. The final modifier. and infinitives into different positions within the kernel -into noun. and adverb slots--and he introduces verb phrases often as free modifiers. usually active verbs. Participles often work for compression and compactness: they are reduced clauses. italicized. two past and one present. sentences cleanly turned out. help to turn this sentence out cleanly and efficiently. well drilled. .Chapter Verb Phrases The skillful writer makes effective use of verb phrases in many positions other than the predicate of the kernel sentence." Poets of Action. plain. -G. The sentence describes certain stylistic effects and. He maneuvers participles.

write a sentence on one of the following topics: An assortment of products in a health food store. is shown by the creator of the following advertisement for a major Cinerama release. . controlled and controlling. and animates. one past and one present. English Prose Style._• • EXERCISE I. an irrefrangible instrument of clear. EXERCISE 2. his copy right before our eyes: KRAKATOA is erupting AGAIN! EXERCISE 3. PARTICIPLES AND ADJECTIVES Now use as a model for an account of a thrilling moment in your own favorite sport this excerpt. L . agitated and agitating. books in a bookstore.. the latter suggesting the power to infuse vitality and animation rather than just to receive or exhibit it. courses in a college catalogue. Notice how participles enliven your adjectival repertoire. as be deliberately edits.. in their commercial drawing power. with its two active and dramatizing participles and its accompanying straight adjective: . animated. or any other past participle with any present one. p.. WITH CONTRASTING EFFECT OF PAST PARTICIPLE AND PRESENT PARTICIPLE Here are two participles. wedged into a position between two adjectives. Contrive a sentence of your own along these lines. animating and effective thought. - PARTICIPLES FOR COMPACTNESS AND EFFICIENCY Using Knight's sentence as a model. Write about a rock concert or a performance of Hamlet. A remarkable faith in the market value of participles.v P' cru • . • PARTICIPLES FOR ANIMATION. xiii. magazines on a newsstand. perhaps pairing excited and exciting. This sentence is itself animated.. vegetables in a market. in another sentence about style: The prose style of Swift is unique. largely by the interesting and useful contrast between the past and present participles.Herbert Read..

1969. foiled . EXERCISE 4. capitalizing on their passive force to suggest action not activatedaction. we see a series of past participles closely following a noun: Seduction withheld. 5.was it never to find resolution? -Conrad Aiken. or a student unable to adapt his touch to an electric typewriter." Sports lllutrated. December 1. foiled-at any rate never accomplished -produced many interesting and complex characters. a tired mountain climber. try a sentence about a mediator's lack of success in a management-labor dispute. by John Gross and Gabriel Pearson. p. as the example has it. "Make Way for the Wild Bunch. FROM PASSIVITY TO ACTION Now try a gradual transition from the passive to the active state. 60. as accomplished with a mixture of past and present participles in the following example: . EXERCISE 6. "The Heroes and Heroines of Dickens/' Dickens and the Twentieth Century. or into a new one. THE PARTICIPLE IN A NOMINATIVE ABSOLUTE Perhaps you may wish to introduce into your last sentence.w------------------------------------·--·The ball and Dickerson somehow met in a diving. Can you fashion as interesting a sentence using past participles in this way. ed. deferred. never accomplished"? Imagine some frustrated or blocked hope appropriate to such a description. p. falling. desperate instant-just six inches inbounds-and USC had made the Rose Bowl. the chord suspended. again blocking or suspending action: Insoluble.. "withheld.. Ushant: An Essay. unsolvable. If you are at a loss for a topic. -Dan Jenkins. a similar effect with a past participle as part of a nominative absolute. and try to match the professional with your own set of past participles. 70. -Angus Wilson. ACTION WITHHELD OR DEFERRED In the next example. EXERCISE 5. p. deferred.

Something dim and far removed-buried in the dcptbs from immemorial time--stirring beneath the surface-coming to lifecoming up at last-well, I know where I am now.
-C. S. Lewis, They Asked for a Paper, p. 135.

This is about a surfacing and a rising to life. You niight write about a
coming awake after an involuntary afternoon nap, for instance. You could
even use Lewis' main clause, "I know where I am now," and distribute
your participles to the left of it, all modifying yourself as subject. If you
do this, your verb phrases will be in free modification, as they obviously
were in their isolation by dashes in the sample .

Participial Modifiers in
a Right-Branching Sentence
It is usually more convenient and effective, however, to put participial
free modifiers after the base clause instead of in front of it. Right-branching
sentences allow room for elaborate modification. Brace yourself, and look
at the example on the next page.
You see there the complete sentence from Joyce in right-branching
diagram. Modification of this size and density succeeds only when separated
from the main trunk of the sentence into free-branching limbs. It succeeds,
that is, when it is not bound too tightly to a noun phrase.
EXERCISE 7.

SIMULTANEOUS AND SUCCESSIVE
ACTIONS IN RIGHT-BRANCHING
SENTENCES

After two additional expert samples, it will be time to experiment with
subtleties of action, using -ing participles in parallel branches of cumulative
sentences.
She sat quite still for a long time, remembering the smell of Francis'
cologne on Celia's body, recalling the ambiguities of Celia's speech
ever since and Francis' oblique contradictory replies when she talked
to him about what was in her heart, remembering with bitter shock
his face and his words, "Forty is old to have children."
-Richard Condon, Any God Will Do, pp. 293-294.
At a distance he can see the tall line of a dozen or more aqueduct
arches, commencing suddenly, suddenly ending; coming now from
nowhere, now going nowhere.
-lames Gould Cozzens, Morning Noon and Night, last page.

THEY CAME

KerTUJl Base

-James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, p. 192.

.

After such a long wait for a stab at this kind of sentence, you deKa ve
free play with its many possibilities. Make some real experiments. While
you work, keep in mind some of the special features of our samples, their
unmistakable parallels and calculated successions. Notice the different
kinds of repetitions and alternations in the Condon and Cozzens excerpts:
Condon works with synonymous participles describing in different ways
actions going on at almost the same time; Cozzens records contrasting
motions, a real cycle of action. We see simultaneous action in the first
against successive action in the second. Work with each in your practice
sentences, but don't let the term "action" limit you. Think of it only as a
metaphor for syntactic motion, for grammatical sequence. Write not simply
about movements through space and time. Indeed, the "action" described
in the Condon sample is the action of remembering, and in the Cozzens sample, the sight of a stationary pattern of arches. If you are stuck for
a subject, write about prophecy, the act of looking forward, or about a
slow scanning view of an architectural skyline, with its peaks and caverns,
a sweep across Manhattan's silhouette, for instance.

Geru,ds
Gerund is the label often given to the -ing verb when it occupies a
noun position. Anywhere a noun can go, it can go.
Stealing watermelons on dark and rainy nights was a pious duty
when I was a boy.
-Donald Day, Uncle Sam's Uncle Josh, p. 5.

Above we see a gerund as subject. Below, we see a gerund as direct
object:
I remember seeing him a good many times before I first spoke to him.
-C. P. Snow, "Rutherford," Variety of Men, p. 4.
EXERCISE 8.

A GERUND SERIES AS AN
APPOSITIVE

Try gerunds not only as subjects and objects, but as predicate nouns
and appositives, even in series as gerund catalogues like this:
We also devised ordeals, which we suffered, as tests of courage,
walking bare-legged through stinging nettles, climbing high and difficult trees, signing our names in blood and so forth.
- Evelyn Waugh, A Little Learning: An Autobiography, p. 59.
You might wish to follow the professional in taking your own autobiography as subject for a sentence modeled on Waugh's.

as something that attaches to it. -Erik H. 15. One such sentence as those above is probably enough in a paragraph. to enjoy it. Brief Chronicles. INFINITIVES FOLLOWING THE VERB Infinitives are perhaps most often thought of in connection with a main verb. p. Romantic and Modem." or . and the infinitive phrase does the main work of the sentence. _... -Shana Alexander. The infinitive is a grammatical jack-of-all-trades. writing about a friend's "nutty abandon" on "ice skates. Classic.. INFINITWES IN NOUN SLOTS See what you can do for some noun slots by relieving them with infinitive phrases. the infinitive phrase can be a real stylistic asset.-. You might pick up the sample's final simile.. after it. the main verb makes a beginning. p. write a sentence on each of these topics: identity. 30B.. Using the sentences above as models.. -. Erikson. May 19. 148.. In the next sample.. and finally to play with the words and with the audience. Let the three nouns in our last title suggest a theme. To review the concept of identity means to sketch its history.. its perfect modulations testifying to the variety and vitality of these dependent infinitives: .. Expand each to a paragraph. serving effectively in many positions. EXERCISE 10. -Brooks Atkinson. to swoop and glide and describe arabesques with all the nutty abandon of Donald Duck on ice skates.. "make spaces in sentences" for some dependent infinitives of your own. In this common position. crisis. p. but to discern its fate. Life. -Jacques Barzun. Here are examples of infinitives in noun roles: To say this is not to condemn the age.. 1967. 150. EXERCISE 9..- Infinitives Infinitives often serve as merciful substitutes for whole plodding clauses. and to make spaces in sentences for it. p.. ready for any amount of expansion. youth. as I was reading I began to wait for it. To mention the name of Bert Lahr is to think of a number of enchanting words. Identity: Youth and Crisis... You will find that you can easily overdo this very particular effect. Modeling your prose on that above. if you wish..

252-253 . scalp another. or exbeme caution in a aoquet 11'4!llt•. p. let him strike some sudden oil. To return to the center of the Romantic scene. and twice use it to lead off a sentence. the testimony of Coleridge and Wordsworth implies that the main initial agent in the revitalizing of Greek myth was the Romantic religion of nature. He ran around wildly. or to any other. wheeling to shoot one dead. 37. -Donald Day. -Douglas Bush. Imitate these infinitive openers at your own discretion. INFINITIVES OF PURPOSE There remains for practice the infinitive of purpose. turn him into a garden patch. then ride off in all directions firing volleys of sparks into the air. 89-90. as a free frontal modifier: • • I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. . After limbering up. you may want to try your hand at some silly formulaic aphorisms modeled on the last excerpt.Wright Morris. pp. give publicly and steal privately. attach it to the main verb. P • a main verb from which your infinitives can sensibly depend. Uncle Sam's Uncle Josh. p. . To remove grease from a man's character. place it next to a participle for elaboration. Don't become addicted to any of these patterns.recklessness on the ski slopes. for that matter. Pagan Myth and Christian Tradition in English Poetry. 235. pp. The Field of Vision. The samples. -James Joyce. To enjoy a good reputation. To find the square root of a hog's nose. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. • EXERCISE 11. in order. To get wrong things out of your child's head--comb it often. pursued by Indians.

At other times you will find that the important new information that the sentence is to bring can best be transported in adjectives and adverbs. strike it out.Chapter Adjectives and Adverbs In the last two chapters. to cheapen your sentences with unwanted modification. of course. offer answers to questions that may arise when we are faced with a noun or a verb. overturning them completely for a real surprise or paradox-adjectives and adverbs. a demand for more information. When there is a residue of uncertainty about them. we have studied noun phrases and verb phrases." More recently. be chosen to dispel as much doubt as they can ·on their own." Gertrude Stein has these hard words to say: 33 . to address your writing to them is to be redundant. something waiting description. Pushing at them from a new angle. pressing them into specification. author Shirley Jackson warns against excess in the use of adjectives and adverbs. and with more reservation. Adjective• Mark Twain did not extend a very warm welcome to adjectives. In Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar. Nouns and verbs themselves should. Now we shall look at adjectives and adverbs. nudging them around to show some undisclosed facet. modifiers that exercise a kind of leverage on their nouns and verbs. adjectives and adverbs are enlisted to answer such questions as "which?" "what sort?" "when?" "where?" "how?" "to what extent?" Sometimes these queries are far from urgent. in effect. calling them "coloring words. he tersely advised: "As to the adjective: when in doubt.

Lectures in America. . Wisdom flew over his head. The Pyramid. p. He sounded weary. however. as many as you want. often occupied by an adjective that brings the primary information of its sentence. p. -William Golding. p. so sharp. The Faith of a Heretic.Adjectives are not really and truly interesting. Watch these authors multiply the effect by sending more than one adjective into this third socket. His head was hard. -Vladimir Nabokov. Here is where transformation comes in. He felt porous and pregnable. Do it yourself. SINGLE AND MULTIPLE ADJECTIVES IN FRONT OF NOUNS The chief function of the adjective. responsible or irresponsible. EXERCISE 2. p. Anybody turns first to adjectives in triniming down a sentence. But most amateur writers profit from looking closely at the way good professional writers do adjectives.. both in be-patterns and linking ones: The noise had been so loud. use the base clauses of the professionals. perhaps turning out a whole catalogue.. If you wish. -Bernard Malamud. DOUBLED OR IN SERIES In the first two examples that follow.. she put can use PREDICATE ADJECTIVES. . primary emphasis is directed toward the third syntactic slot. • EXERCISE I. 88. neglects to mention. Value judgments may be informed or uninformed. The Assistant. because some writers are so much inclined to them in and to put in ill-chosen ones.Gertude Stein. Pnin. hurt. -Walter Kaufmann. 20. is not its appearance in kernel predicates. In a way as I say anybody knows that because of course the first thing that anybody takes out of anybody's writing are the adjectives. 4. and into them deposit your own adjectives. 335.

Whereas the truth was. the trick is to use only the ones you need. But equally important is the arrangement of what remains. A planned impact is the obvious result of these mammoth modifications. PRACTICE WITH ADJECTIVES IN VAR IOUS POSITIONS.---~--. Again. EXERCISE 3. 8. heavily adjectival. BEFORE AND AFTER THE NOUN Extract the essential descriptive information from the separate sentences in the following sets of data. to edit only after you have made some very careful choices in the first place. given in a key at the . Then compare it with the authors' own structuring of the material. low-down bunch of cruds it would be hard to picture. Place some adjectives before the nouns. and a more foul-mouthed. pessimistic. Indian Summer. Pay particular attention to the smoothness and rhythm of modification. keep the author's given frame and fill it up with your own adjectives. 27. This. Remodel it into one sentence each. fuse into a single transformed whole: Wisdom flew over his hard head. passionate. that the heavens were a glorious blazing golden limitless cathedral of unending and eternal light. if you choose. -John Knowles. suspicious. In general. and most like them. the flair with which you can parcel out your adjectives beside each other and around their nouns. Here are some of these. p. as he alone knew. 18. Sometimes a whole cluster at a time enters in this way. malingering. with adjectives piled relentlessly into the standard prenominal slot: Everything he writes is written as an angry. 108. lazy.. anemic. is the way adjectives get into sentences before nouns. -Bernard Malamud. During his four years in the Army Air Force the American people had been represented by the other enlisted men around him. bewildered and bewildering man. generous. But notice how soon you would tire of these effects. theoretically. . The Assistant.. The Vanishing Hero. I ndian Summer. with one main clause-and thus. p. -Sean O'Faolain. how soon you would go with Gertrude Stein for the pruning away of adjectives. set others off by commas after the nouns. p.~----These two kernels. fumbling. rebellious. p. Try for it yourself. laying on its "color" in large doses.--------------~. -John Knowles.

The mouths had a solemnity. PIECE BY PIECE. He had a momentary glimpse of their faces. The solemnity was half-spectral and half-idiotic. She was courageous. . The Kensington woman was sad-eyed. b. too. BY MEANS OF ADJECTIVES Now jot down a string of sentences. There is. EXERCISE 4.-- -·-. for instance. Father Urban smiled and put out his hand. c. no single "right answer.---. Then assemble them in one long and interesting sentence. like "hate" or "laughter. Yet this person was flirtatious. The noses were drooping. This is practice in reduced clauses. the Kensington woman gave way to a person who was curiously gauche. • a. The faces were thin. or an abstract idea. He is a trifle red of eye. F ather Urban is fifty-four. He is handsome. Watch your combinations and your pace. He is tall. But she was snobbish. The faces were unnaturally long.------ end of this chapter. But the dexterity with which the experts managed it will reward close study. she was hopeful." no one and only way to weave this data into a single sentence. Above all. but condensation and economy are not the only things at stake.---. Above all. • . of course. They had drooping mouths. They had long noses. She was embittered. As she talked of her girlhood.-. giving one new piece of information each to our growing knowledge of some person or some gadget." Try to make each new snippet of information interesting in itself. He is a trifle loose in the jowls. ADDING INFORMATION. again with one main clause strongly adjectival. It was a scared glimpse. she was extraordinarily adventurous.

What Modern Hypnotism Can Do for You. p. 27. Set off by commas in quick free modification. 90. we can permit ourselves participial stand-ins. Powers. Stone. which might have gone: The cobwebbed. Morte d'Urban. Here are some assorted illustrations: - The lamp had been standing cobwebbed in a corner. p. the past participle has. 187. As usual. the present participle interrupts the sentence just as the described building interrupts the scene. p. In the first sample. pastor of St. Here is another: Early in the afternoon on Christmas. unplugged lamp had been standing in a corner. are especially useful for suggestive modification. transfixed. "transfixed" the sentence itself at its own close: Our living room looked out across a small back yard to a rough stone wall to an apartment building which. Of the Farm. Monica's. F. these adjectives are sometimes called "appositive" adjectives. after a good meal with Paul Smith. Great Plains. with their latent verbal force. in a sense. EXERCISE 6. USING PARTICIPLES IN ISOLATED POSITIONS Participles. Shadow and Act.EXERCISE 5. 11.) Practice them first by adding a sentence or two to your creation in exercise 4. p. See if you can fit your adjective and its chosen spot as closely to the matter you write about. (See Chapter 11. towering above. . caught every passing thoroughfare sound and rifled it straight down to me. below. Father Urban got on a train for Duesterhaus. tired. -John Updike. thinning out your adjectives but using them more carefully. -1. -Sidney Petrie in association with Robert B. ISOLATED ADJECTIVES Developing adjectival skills sends us now. Try making things easy for yourself at the start. not to the piling of three or four modifiers close around a noun. unplugged. -Ralph Ellison. but to the doling out and isolating of one or two rather far from it. In the second sample. Onlookers young and old line the curb.

P. vii. -William Van O'Connor. dead. -Saul Bellow. for the history of Myshkin to come out. It was very bot and bright and the houses looked sharply white. distantly. most of them probably right for some god. Perhaps they reminded me. a little furtively. p. Their position in the kernel. Henderson the Rain King. it had to come out. peripheral. -Ernest Hemingway. p. p. The Mythmakers. 142. Eleven Essays in the European Novel.pick an adjective or a participle that cries out for this kind of dramatic isolation: like isolated. And the fact remains. We have a variety of answers." the adverbs. and therefore nothing on earth could really surprise me. intellectually. 480.John Crowe Ransom. utterly. of myself. 54. Campus on the R iver. A Little Learning: An Autobiography. 59. 156. p. imaginatively. She held the paper bag containing two bottles close to her side. This is not how Dostoevsky meant. dimly. 90. The Kenyon Critics. p.Evelyn Waugh. p. separate. . . The mobility of adverbs also sends them into adjective territory to modify those other coloring words: He was fatally vulgar! -Norman Mailer. but it is how. of something we had lost. long ago. somewhere. can submit themselves to the same kind of spotlighted detachment. p. or alone. finished. • Adverbs The other "coloring words. last page. -Mary Barnard. their unequaled syntactic mobility shifts them into almost any position. Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone. -R. . 44. Blackmur. is the optional fourth slot in all four patterns. you will remember. mortifyingly. We were rather priggishly high-minded. Like these: • From mind the impetus came and through mind my course was set. But by the simplest of transformations. Perhaps they reminded me. The Armies of the Night. The Sun Also Rises. that we can issue no book of this sort without ransacking the whole house. p. -lames Baldwin.

EXERCISE 7. 9). -Desmond Hall. The limping earnestness of his speech disappeared. almost. I Give You Oscar Wilde. mythmaking. those "unwarinesses that defeat precision" warned against by Marianne Moore ("Feeling and Precision. heads the list of thirty-one dos and don'ts jotted down by Wolcott Gibbs and collected. p." Editorial theory should probably be that a writer who can't make his context indicate the way his character is talking ought to be in another line of work. it is impossible for a character to go through all these emotional states one after the other." "He said morosely. I I . under the title "Theory and Practice of Editing New Yorker Articles": Writers always use too damn many adverbs. terrifically and such laming qualifiers as fairly. but an added strength : He drank eagerly. copiously. he talked as he drank. violently. pp. On one page recently I found eleven modifying the verb "said. FINDING THE MANY POSITIONS IN WHICH ADVERBS WILL FIT . . Attach some to adjectives. 160. Anyway. AVOIDING TRITE ADVERBS OF MANNER AND FINDING INTERESTING ONES Adverbs have by no means evaded the censure to which we saw adjectives subjected at the beginning of this chapter. Olinger Stories. 129135. p. EXERCISE 8. but he is dead. p. awfully. to the beginning. eloquently. the rising of the sun. involving adverbs of manner used to pad weak verbs of speech." Predilections. It is related to the malady of such overworked intensifiers as tremendously. abundantly. unpublished. phenomenally. pretty much. the end of the clause. Separate some from their verbs.• The service was fatiguingly long. Practice a few sentences like these. Some topics for these practice sentences: rain. a little learning. . a campus on a river. . Lon Chaney might be able to do it. The problem diagnosed by Gibbs is a very special one. for instance. the middle. Move adverbs around. nearly. of course. Adam in America. so on. -John Updike. 139. The following complaint. -quoted by lames Thurber in The Years with Ross. But there are. vigorous adverbial styles in which the heft of modifiers betrays no failure of the verbs at all.

Try working with the preceding sentences by Waugh and Aiken. and behind them. 308. The Loved One. pp. substituting for the italicized words some adverb phrases of your own choice. though. thunder crashed against his eardrums. -William Goldman. -Evelyn Waugh. Here Belisarius prepared an ambush. straight. Another bolt of lightning. in which there was a narrow defile. 396-397. Then another. • When the girl spoke it was briskly and prosaically. p. p. perhaps using a dictionary to find some striking adverbial forms. as they direct us through large verbal spaces: Lightning spit all around him. 67.So one day he silently and suddenly killed her. more and more overtly he had himself leaned out to watch. clustered around a verb or set aside. p. or a set of adverbs. Investigate the variety and effect of adverbial phrases. his army of "spectators. -D. or some adjectives that can be made into new and unusual adverbs. Do not use an unreasonable number of adverbs. whose habit it · was to lie in wait for prey among the thick bushes that fringed the track." as he called his stake-armed infantry. -Robert Graves. p. on the other Thurimuth's. ADVERBTAL PHRASES FOR COHESTON. H. while at the same time incorporating other types of single-word adverbs. lining the steep sides of the defile. Etruscan Places. Lawrence. closer. Direct us with your adverbial phrases across such a space. Clay looked up. On one side of the track he hid Trajan's troop. Count Belisarius. You might . 15. this was a notorious haunt of bandits. 198. This cohesive effect is one owed often to adverbs. thick forest. Weigh results for yourself. right up into the sky. • • What is important is the choice of an interesting adverb to begin with. and their thoughtful deployment. See what you can do. Soldier in the Rain. -Conrad Aiken. rain cut in at his face. Notice in Aiken's sentence above how a parallelism of such phrases ties the sentence together. closer still. Ushant: An Essay. strike your own balance. Their way led through a wide. More and more candidly she had dressed and undressed by her window. DIRECTING THE READER THROUGH VERBAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL SPACE Do not stick with single adverbs. EXERCISE 9.

-Lord David Cecil. or some recent event in the news. And here is a special elegant turn. fresh and warm and living. in several paragraphs. Worry about every noun and verb. p. go all the way by writing an opening descriptive block for a fantasy or science-fiction novel. . Morning Noon and Night. Since you have just been looking at adverbs. you may want a brief look again at some predominantly adjectival writing: The painter must choose between a rapid impression. or write a new adventure for Alice in Wonderland. heavy with evocative memories. . last page. 30. of course. so that each one counts. Use this as a review. Don't avoid adjectives. and do not think of your "coloring words" simply as adjectives and adverbs. and occasional broken hunched old trees. Make your verbs colorful and forceful. sere swards of coarse modern grass. ADVERBIAL AND ADJECTIVAL STYLES The final exercise in this chapter is a large one. The final sunset of a sort sometimes seen in Canaletto paintings gilds gently enigmatic ancient stone. If you prefer a shot at something unrealistic. and will-power. Capitalize on this. of a lost city of antiquity whose traces extend over a campagna otherwise empty under a clear level vacancy of sunset light. EXERCISE 10. -James Gould Cozzens. Churchill. knowledge. with adjectives heading with-phrases: They come to him murmurous with imaginative overtones. words that contain and carry meaning. while including the emotions of the soldiers in your adverbs.after this brief review. on adverbial and adjectival styles. exposition or narration. Attend to everything in your grammar. of course. but probably deserving only of a short life. profound. The last three chapters mark off our practice with content words. Record some impressions about the last act of your favorite play.wish to stage your own behind-the-scenes battle strategy. or for Gulliver in Whatever-Land. I investigate fragmentary scattered ruins. intense effort of memory. Give color and concreteness to your nouns. or some historical event that has seized your imagination. Painting as a Pastime. so that l . Get a subject you can feel comfortable with over the course of two or three paragraphs. or Dorothy in Oz. Try fact or fiction. The Fine Art of Reading. -Winston S. eons old. p. Structural words are next. and none needs too many adjectives. All content words have hues and shades. . 282. both mixed with description. and the cold.

KEY TO EXERCISE 3. . And then use only those adjectives and adverbs that will be a credit to your nouns and verbs -to their meaning and to their rhythm. and don't forget to spotlight by isolation an adjective or an adverb here and there. p. ' a. Father Urban. The Wild Garden. S. the ease with which it passes and completes. p. hopeful person. c. Out of the Silent Planet. the sad-eyed. embittered. yet flirtatious and. scared glimpse of their faces. Lewis. 17. F. Use verbs also in free participial phrases. 44. He had a momentary. Use free modification. Be very careful with the tempo of your modification. and employ gerunds and infinitives on behalf of nouns. half-idiotic solemnity. fifty-four. Try a catalogue of nouns or adjectives. above all extraordinarily adventurous. smiled and put out his hand. -C. As she talked of her girlhood. -Angus Wilson. drooping noses and drooping mouths of half-spectral. b. 63. tall and handsome but a trifle loose in the jowls and red of eye.you don't need unnecessary adverbs to glamorize them. Morte d'Urban. with long. putting many of your nouns and verbs into major appositives and absolutes. p. Powers. thin and unnaturally long. courageous but snobbish Kensington woman gave way to a curiously gauche. -1.

but often as the carrier of unique "content. Pain has become more frequent and unwilling to take on any extra exertion. 296. -p. . as you are doing now? the voice pleaded. -p." in that it is the namer of some very particular relation.Chapter Prepositions The preposition contributes to style not just as a structural word.. the first two are in kernel patterns: Her love was like a death-sentence. Can't you just go on. Others follow: One hand clasped the package in his pocket like a promise. Beauty is like success: we can't love it for long. hardly ever credited to the work of prepositions. -p.. . 292. the like or as phrase. .p. 289. Like a vice. like a dealer in a market. Here are some examples from Graham Greene's The Heart of the M atter. The Preposition as S haper of Metapho r One of the most important aspects of any style. 296. is the shaping of metaphor and that special brand of it known as simile. lowering the terms every-time it spoke. 290. -p. designed to rivet a noun phrase to some other part of the sentence.

bow they thread the texture of prose both as structural words and as content words. in which it will be compared with some new object of the preposition like. -Graham Greene. often.p. while practicing equative clauses.they pass on and forget like beings from another world. helping to pull together the fabric of grammar and of meaning. take the object of the preposition in any of the sample similes and make it the subject of a new sentence. EXERCISE 1. Greene's generosity for two more examples. and the wish struggled in her body like a child . is only one of the many relationships a preposition can establish. 298. 306. the way the prepositional phrases are arranged before us. The following parallel occurs in an internal monologue on the next page of the novel. • • She was alone again in the darkness behind her lids. She had denied just now that she felt any bitterness. however. He tried to pray. PRACTICE WITH SIMILES You created some metaphors in Chapter 2. -p. p. The first sentence is largely articulated by prepositional phrases: This was what human love had done to him-it had robbed him of love for eternity. and he was aware of his heart-beats like a clock striking the hour. . but the Hail Mary evaded his memory. 294. but a little more 1 of it drained out now like tears from exhausted ducts. We will avail ourselves of Mr. Prepositiom to Show Various Relationships Simile. It is now time to practice similes. More important. 304. than the actual nature of the relationship is the very way we hear about it. with the same network of prepositions situating a new dilemma in similar terms: . 288.Wasn't he clearing himself out of her path like a piece of danger0111 wreckage? -p. -p. -p. One can say anything to a stranger. For this exercise. 304. The Heart of the Matter.

p.p. for practice in their various directions and effects. EXERCISE 3. . someone wandered. someone in need of him.Irving Howe. Choose some Matter of the Heart for your subject. -pp. 298-299." cleverly varied. Human love admits of many relationships. p. Faulkner rued as the culture which sustained him was also dying. EXERCISE 2. AND PROGRESSIVE SPECIFICATION Here is our final model from Greene's novel : He had a message to convey. See what you can do along these lines. Notice how the alternation of "within" and "outside. and experiment in · rough imitation of Greene. Then write a related sentence with the same sequence of prepositions. seeking to get in. "Radical Questions and the American Intellectual. grammatical and otherwise. but the darkness and the storm drove it back within the case of his breast. outside the world that drummed like hammer blows within his ear. someone appealing for help. Write a sentence with a sequence of prepositional phrases. and all the time outside the house. placing prepositions for alternation and contrast or for progressive specification. died in history. This is adroit grammar. even. rather than against it. Spring 1966. Here are some less dramatic samples: The intellectuals can no longer be said to live beyond the margins or within the crevices of society." Partisan Review. Fiedler. 289. Waiting for the End. REPETITION OF PREPOSITIONS IN SEQUENCE Use this stylistic and thematic echo from The Heart of the Matter as your guide in writing your own pair of sentences. that is to say. your own significant parallel. . and yet you'll do this to me-rob me of you for ever. -Leslie A . Use more prepositions than he did. CONTRAST. 180. PREPOSITIONS FOR ALTERNATION. . captures the shifting subjective focus of the scene. and how the last sequence of prepositional phrases guides and builds the sentence to its climax in the statement of personal need. 11.You say you love me.

living up to their category as structural words. Sons and Lovers. seem almost poetic. p.F. Literature and Science.328. . Write about anti-intellectuals. 136. "Absolution. • Our immediate experiences come to us. 18. -William Golding. The Moon Is Down. H. where the surprising choice of preposition. p. . and a little lingering warmth remained in the houses against the morning. squirrels. -Aldous Huxley. But their "content"-exactly what relation they name-comes through very strongly. 3. Northerners. among the graves. he went out of the chapter houses to where the sun piled into the open square of the cloister. p. Notice especially the change in meaning between the two appearances of "against" in the last excerpt. p. ballet. through the refracting medium of the art we like. . or a single pebble. So. Write about a moon going down behind a spire in Babylon. glowing yellow right up the sky. one that moves through a sequence of them. so to say. -D. The houses were dark against the night. pp. FOR LITERARY EFFECT Prepositions certainly do structure their sentences. if you can. Lie Down in Darkness. 285.Rats stir in the weeds. or a lover. Approximate this. Lawrence. A Single Pebble. and the added attention it demands of us." Babylon Revisited and Other Stories. 327. -John Steinbeck. . in the next samples. one sentence that turns on a contrast of prepositions. I lived to sounds. 147. and some of the other effects managed in the above samples.William Styron. The Spire. heaped in soft. 71. Scott Fitzgerald. Imitate one of each. or about a son. too. EXERCISE 4. and he bad found the scent of cheap toilet soap desperately sweet upon the air. Immense piles of gold flared out in the southeast. . -John Hersey. • SURPRJSING CHOICE OF PREPOSITIONS. p. . And laughing again for joy. Tease out a subject from the list of titles. p.

its anxious attempt at a sentence. The condensation of an understood action into a single prepositional phrase is common enough in poetry. Shakespeare.One of the most suggestive remarks about the preposition's stylistic role is this of some thirty years ago: • When a child shapes the sound Up! it is not enunciating a part of speech. bags. far from being a preposition. 14. Again shelves to the ceiling . or sleep. are some larger prepositional phrases fragmented off as sentences." its unknowing ellipsis of all that would make a sentence around his preposition. 508. 257. p.. winter. .Henry Roth.Isaac Goldberg. for the men a home-brewed lemon and licorice and aspirin syrup. The mother.. 173. Up. we must agree with the statement... Write about home. had bis char- . p. EXPERIMENTING WITH PREPOSITIONS On your own now. 3I9. p. in The Tempest.. Closer to that verbal force are the prepositions in the examples collected below. . . in the baby's Up!. lifting it from the ground into her arms. p. the river and to the right. perhaps. first as interrogatives: And for what? For what this agony of concentration? For what this hell of effort? . On one side--counter. than in the above samples. p. Excusing the unsteady pronoun reference in the third sentence. The sense of predication was much stronger. "What Is Grammar?" The Wonder of Words: An Introduction to Language for Everyman.Truman Capote. implying predication. The Winter of Our Discontent. Before him. Here.John Steinbeck. shows that she has understood it as such. assign and situate some noun phrases. discontent. You Can't Go Home Again. Tie-dye scarves for the ladies. EXERCISE 5. independent of other grammar. Breakfast at Tiffany's.Thomas Wolfe. cash register. Call It Sleep. is in significance an entire sentence. but using only prepositions. The child's "fragment.. still is interpreted as a sentence and can be acted on as such. the long grey bridges spanning it. of course.

Herzog. Lawrence. Sometimes this is deliberate. p. H. Two doors opened.What sea? -Saul Bellow. p. On up Number 58. "Author's Note. EXERCISE 6." A Bit off the Map and Other Stories. 244. On with the story. -Robert Penn Warren. and from one of them. 12 . drew up. All the King's Men. p. On with the story. The Lyrical Novel. A great train. . All the way home in the taxi and in the lift up to her flat on the seventh floor Mrs. . -John Barth. . p. -D. Etruscan Places. "After the Show. 258. p. x (conclusion)." Lost in the Funhouse. William. p. Piling up Prepositions as Parody of Action Opposite to the planned and forceful isolation of prepositions and their phrases is their reckless congestion and pile-up in larger sentences. when an exhausting effect is wanted. p. to the tombs! -D. 110. and the country breaks. Lawrence. PREPOSITIONS AS ACTION WORDS The following excerpts show authors making use of this privilege in many different ways. Uphill with broad strength. Sons and Lovers. 81.Ralph Freedman. 2. Liebig kept on talking.almost a kind of parody: The procession of men and women from the street into the station and down the escalators towards the trains becomes a movement from a world above to an underworld of death. Avail yourself of it after studying the samples: • But to the tombs.acter say "I shall no more to sea!" and a modern novelist has the sanw: privilege: • But what could he do about that? To the sea! To the sea!.John Updike. H . -Angus Wilson. Run. bound for Manchester. R abbit. p. 34.

. .EXERCISE 7." or expressing exasperation by means of an unrelieved sequence of phrases as in the second example. and go right on. Under no circumstances copy or approximate this. When not in some peculiar context that calls for it. This is a problem not worried about quite long enough by the student who wrote the following in an English paper: He breaks down on the misinformation of the death of his son after preaching to Joseph not to become caught up in human love at the expense of a slightly lessened attachment to divine faith. and then simplifying it as "from . Also try piling up prepositional phrases in a sentence that suggests exhaustion. to. Be warned. But make sure you form no stylistic habits from this exercise. EXASPERATION AND EXHAUSTION For additional practice in the various effects prepositions can have. detailing a complicated movement. . undue nesting of such prepositions tends to lump up your meaning and numb your readers. you might try modeling a sentence of your own on one of these.

we shall look at phrases and clauses spliced together without their ordinary structural links. and nowhere more clearly than in the case of coordination. And coordination is a structural principle. p. a method of sentence-building. as well as structure. -Evelyn Waugh. The phrases and clauses merely abut against each other.Irwin Edman. The highest good exists. 258. she must hurry. But again.Chapter Conjunctions and Coordination • • Like prepositions. -John Steinbeck. . Several follow: The fog had all gone. The End of the Battle. This is called parataxis. the wind has risen. p. Par ata%U To begin with coordination before it involves conjunctions. Lewis. it is God. p. S. p. The sun was up. the farm was alive. their common boundary marked by a comma." The Consolation of Philosophy. 175. It is axiomatic in all writing about style that meaning can be jeopardized or abetted by structure. it is perfect. -C. conjunctions are structural words. That Hideous Strength. They involve meaning. She must rush. conjunctions and coordination are more than mere structural devices. before it was too late. "Introduction. 198. so . or content. they touch but are not connected. The Winter of Our Discontent. • xzv. it is unified.

they popped the cork. went steady. intransitive. (See Chapter 16--"Syntactic Symbolism: Grammar as Analogue. too. a paratactic grammar. convicting. and logical sequences. in clauses that slide automatically forward. freeing the bolt. bow often kernels are spliced or abutted in this way. EXERCISE I. ABUTTING CLAUSES Study the preceding samples. You may have unwittingly tried out one or two of these at one time or another. --George Orwell. then the dogs were gaining on him again. a good review in itself. the wind-up. The Escape Artist.") The last screw carne out. spatial. work with temporal. But if you build into the semantic structure of your sentences a good enough case for these abutting clauses. and became engaged. . sentencing. for instance. and transitive--and then set one type harshly against another. I . go doggedly on--each as a grammatical replica of meaning. 426. you may now practice a few with impunity. and batting slam of a perfect base hit. They snipped the ribbon in 1915. 11. 58. pause and repeat. p. Try in your sentences for the aptness achieved by the following authors. Begin with kernels.William Styron. p. Many other subjects can be made just right for this kind of coordination. Miami Beach was born.be-patterns. . 244. Miami and the Siege of Chicago. There is something about minimal utterance that encourages minimal connection. pitch. and pick as your models those that interest you and that fit syntax to sense most effectively. Compose a set of abutting clauses for each of the four types. Automatic links in thought often deserve them in syntax. and confining an extortionist. seems a subject to justify abrupt or hurried connection. the whole lock case slid down. p. Footsteps outside the door jar me from my reverie. I hear white men's voices. -Norman Mailer. linking. Animal Farm. perhaps you were accused of a "run-on" or a "commasplice" and cruelly downgraded.Tben be was up again. Do certain types seem to lend themselves more easily to this sort of connection? In your practice.David Wagoner. the sure speed of public justice in catching. Write about the rapidity with which a certain couple met. Abruptness or hurry. running faster than ever. Notice. The Confessions of Nat Turner. p.

B.J. p. On summer evenings they danced in the half-light. The Human Metaphor. . paused three times again. The Shapes of Sleep. . S. no table. The End of the Battle. EXERCISE 2.C. this is common knowledge. -Elizabeth Sewell. Lewis. --Stephen Spender. 312." The Partisan Reader. -Evelyn Waugh. "New York. went doggedly on. January 11. tragic.The bell in the church tower rang three times. just their laps. The Allegory of Love. And from these tight paratactic clusters we turn to the expanded series with a conjunction between each item and the next. ed. . "The Underground Church. the rooms and windows. death are not. The last quartet of juxtaposed phrases extends almost to the length of a series or catalogue. 26. p. weakness. Priestley. one of adjective phrases. It is a myth. Here is a triple noun series opening a sentence: Suffering. 214. p. 13. and two clusters of prepositional phrases. on mattresses. For all of these are translations into the visible of feelings else blind and inarticulate. 1969. 138. 397. a cynical red.Michael Novak." Local Color." The Saturday Evening Post. a familiar pattern of loose coordination that you practiced in Chapter 3. p. everyone a different myth. an idol-head with traffic-light eyes winking a tender green. in themselves. drawing out the series and relaxing the connections even more. p. for anyone. -Truman Capote. Work with them as you did with the abutting clauses: They had no altar. by William Phillips and Philip Rahv. p. . SHORTER PARATACTIC UNITS • Below are examples of some shorter paratactic units--one group of noun phrases. 258. with singularly little loss. "September Journal. the steam-spitting streets. on the beach. He ignored this. and when they were tired of dancing they lay down in the forest. on the bare floor. the city. p. and they are translations made with singular accuracy.

. And near the end of the piece: They left the piano in the restaurant. -Graham Greene. say. Exercise 3 should also be an exercise in caution. by Frederick J. and when they went down the elevator and out and turned into the old. Perley. p." Here are some of these easy. by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. the air was as clear as your grandfather's howitzer. Slack coordination. 348.String• of "And. pp.' Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm. a stylistic mannerism. and so on: In the kitchen they had grits and grease and side meat and coffee for breakfast. singsong listings. "Across the Street and into the Grill. In the distance the houses were the houses in a quiet Victorian print. The End of the Affair. a practice in restraint. it also becomes an easy target for parody. small and precisely drawn and quiet. White. here at Hemingway's expense: This is my last and best and true and only meal. ed.E.Faulkner. one and two and three and four.and After. In other words. only one child a long way off. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart. thought Mr. can be most effective. 204. -Carson McCullers. EXERCISE 3. Manufacture one noun catalogue partitioned by conjunctions between items-a list of sports cars. beat-up pavement of Fifth A venue and headed south toward Forty-fifth Street. but when it starts to become habitual. experiment with different patterns of coooection within the same sentence. in a closely packed series or across larger phrases and clauses. by Dwight Macdonald. 27. p. p. hard. . Hoffman and Olga W. Vickery. "The Stockholm Address:' William Faulkner: Three Decades of Criticism. . PATTERNS OF SLACK COORDINATION Practice with different parts of speech lined up in these patterns of slack coordination. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. where the pigeons were. ed. or vacation spots-and modify it across an equative clause with a series of adjectives differently sorted and punctuated. a perfect relief from some other prevailing syntax. B. 251-253.

• Her face was worn but her hair was black. . "A Painful Case. \ Here are more correlative samples: One might say either that Swinburne's artistic maturity was attained very early. Sartoris. ." Idiots First. p. not. p. Modify and qualify. nor to produce the basic correlative frames both . for imitation. but (also).Douglas Bush. dropping the precoordinator the second time around: He had neither companions nor friends. . p.James Joyce. . p. but frankly and beautifully office-buildings. and slowly and imperceptively it lost its jovial but stately masculinity. Correlatives If you matched your own syntax to the last of the preceding models. not (only) . 5. You have seen an example of the last already. not. either . . A BLEND OF CONJUNCTIONS Now notice. or. or. in a major political address. Anticipating your practice with balance and rhythm in Chapter 14 on Parallelism." Dubliners. Convey in two or three sentences like this the emotional aura against the factual burden. 332. both. 153. . but. church nor creed. . Here is another. 109. . or. 59. · and. . nor. but. They were neither citadels nor churches. neither hook up with conjunctions and. 'The Maid's Shoes. style versus content. and her eyes and lips were pretty. -William Faulkner. display and contrastand do it with conjunctions. either. -Bernard Malamud. you have the jump on this discussion of the correlative conjunctions. Mythology and the Romantic Tradition in ' English Poetry. p. the various rhythms that a blend of different conjunctions can produce: But during his son's time it fell less and less into use.EXERCISE 4. Certain precoordinators. and looking back to your exercises in the smooth deployment of adjectives in Chapter 5. and. Babbitt. . -Sinclair Lewis. neither . produce some nicely timed. and so forth. or that his development was prematurely arrested. . well-moving sentences like those above.

73. Think carefully. Miss Brodie. Con junctive Adverbs Adverbs boast the greatest syntactic mobility among the parts of speech. however. The American Adam. also. This hardly restricts you to dry philosophical argument. 222. Lewis. 193. . first. The Age of Innocence.Prom now onwards Animal Farm would engage in trade with the neighbouring farms: not. logical development. -Joyce Cary. Propose some alternatives. p. are flexible as to position: Invariably. Herzog. had already fastened on Mary Macgregor who was nearest to her. . He reflected. . Consider the problem of rising costs in election campaigns. Imagine yourself an editorial writer for a large metropolitan newspaper. --Saul Bellow. The hopeful attitudes are phenomena. The conjunctive adverbs.Muriel Spark. ball. however. EXERCISE 5. p. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. about which we are today somewhat embarrassed. It is. say. and evaluate some of 'the techniques candidates use in an effort to influence voters.Edith Wharton. . . p. see how many correlative structures you can use effectively in a few sentences. Selected Essays. p. besides. far to the west of all direct European influence. -William Carlos Williams. 56. p. Indeed. the latest presents from Ramona's admirers were displayed. for any commercial purpose. Animal Farm. 66. or to legal prose. that Mrs. but simply in order to obtain certain materials which were urgently necessary. p. W.R. 195.George Orwell. 155. Herself Surprised. p. of an idea warranting this kind of measured. Strother's Sunday evenings were not like a. everyone who knew Matt recognized it and all our friends came to sympathize with him and with me and to see how we took our misfortune. of course. B. indeed. PRACTICE WITH CORRELATIVES Without your hand getting to feel too heavy. sampled below.

one each. device for local adhesion. It refers to an entire mode of writing. closing paragraph. Expression in America. -Robert Ardrey. African Genesis. p. The title sets the theme and tells the story. and the transparent curtain is gone and faces are no longer strange. Civilization is disintegrated and meaning is disintegrated and despair and disillusion stalk the waste land of the world. .. EXERCISE 6. Now Eliot undertook to delineate this distintegration of thoughts and things and processes by an analogous disintegration of speech and technique. and balanced. ~he LOOSE AND BALANCED COORDINATION I Use each of two preceding passages as a model for an effort of I your own. calculated. Men not ignoble have gone down before life in other ages and wandered in waste lands and taken refuge in some monastery or hermitage either of the soul or of the body or of both. . perhaps borrowing the topics of Africa and America and writing 1 about some sort of expression characteristic of each. between j the two types of coordination you are to use. of planned but casual additions and of heavily plotted coordination in phrase and clause: Slowly. the most magnificent star that I have ever seen. and I am beginning to know its name. • This heading refers to the process at its largest range. Chaos of the world and the soul is set forth by the learned and calculated chaos of the poem's method. ever so slowly. applied to narration and to exposition alike. not just to a . comprehension and compassion become possible things. Old tides pull at me and ancient swells sweep in from forgotten seas and support me. maybe musicalAfrican tiibal music and American jazz. -Ludwig Lewisohn. Coordination can be either loose and rambling or weighed. 587. Divide the topics. and I take my coat because these June nights can be bitter. . the loose and the balanced. and I have a lightness. Alpha Centauri. or treat the subjects together in two different modes of grammatical ar- . An example of each type follows. and there is a star in the southern sky.

series with and without conjunctions. for contrasts and progressions.-mt. And don't • forget the available services of well-chosen prepositions for careful new directions and developments. for practice in different sorts of grammatical order. correlative patterns. wonder and worry as you write. And most of all--do not write artificial. Pan or praise. and you can look forward to the next chapter for more practice in other kinds of grammatical architecture. Notice that coordination is unnatural if too exclusive. Treat not only 1 the plot of the film. You will see that you need other kinds of syntax. but do it with coordination.. Work with images and ideas. .. and others when you can. the narrative track and the thematic line. experimenting with the difference in effect. Don't restrict yourself. oecessarily. even the phrases? Assail yourself with such questions after you once start assembling your ideas. or something looser. to your prepositional phrases as you put together some coordinated structures. PRACTICE IN COORDINATION This exercise calls for a review of the sc:rcalled structural words. using as many of the different types as you reasonably can-parataxis.. for one thing. EXERCISE 7. nor. Use but. too severe to remove all conjunctions in the next patch of coordination. Don't stay just with action. Limber up for the final exercise below. Think of syntax critically. cohesion achieved with conjunctive adverbs. something in line with the more relaxed grammar of the larger development? Am I using prose rhythm as well as I can? Would it be neat-or maybe too cute-to replace every comma with an "and" in this series. the skill of individual performances and their relation to the larger conception of the story. but its theme as well. compounding your phrases when it seems appropriate. Is this the best connection I can make? Have I embedded too many prepositional phrases here? Do I want such formal balance in this noun phrase. or. Choose your subject carefully and break it down so that it makes sense in a coordinative scheme. three or four paragraphs of comment on a film you loved or loathed. hothouse prose. so that it invites additive or balanced or contrastive development. just abutting the clauses.. Pay close attention. A good way to test your skills is on a short movie review. as much as the samples did to the conjunction and.

and who never will. and what he is supposed to do. A PAIR OF CLAUSES AS SUBJECT Follow the Lemon example in using a pair of relative clauses as subject in an equative sentence. "Psychiatry: The Uncertain Science.. .• Chapter Dependent Clauses • Acquaint yourself in the following samples with the different positions and patterns. p. are subjects of great confusion among laymen. and even psychiatrists themselves. but in broad terms his assignment is clear. August 10. EXERCISE I. 37. August 10.. What this man does. the parallels and contractions that relative clauses allow: Colleges insist on graduating students who can't write an intelligible English sentence. EXERCISE 2. 1968. Teachers insist on teaching courses that . p. "/ Don't Trust Anyone under 30. 1968." The Saturday Evening Post. doctors. . ministers. who have read neither Marx nor Keynes nor Freud nor Joyce. . -Richard Lemon. RELATIVE CLAUSES IN SERIES Follow the first of these examples in using a series of four relative clauses to complete each of the following: Parents insist on raising children who . 58 ." The Saturday Evening Post. who don't speak three words of a foreign language. 12.Cecelia Holland.

26. 122. -John Steinbeck.EXERCISE 3. May 18. or sports. which room is performing its loud and distinct nature to which audience. in your subject itself for this sort of internal development. Or take as your subject a coach pondering his strategy. EXERCISE 4.Henry Steele Commager. The Dickens Theatre. . a couple choosing furniture. that statesman who became the greatest historian." Saturday Review. however. our last three examples came from Saturday magazines. EXERCISE 5. for a rising anticipation of the waiting verb: The reader is invited to open any Dickens novel at random to see which character. in order to emphasize its point: j Winston Churchill is. 69. which landscape. movies. a third from the Saturday Review. Use Saturday as a subject for a sentence like the one above. p. . • with multiple subjects in a relative clause. and that historian who became the greatest statesman in the long annals of England. one as obvious as this series of interiors: The inner door. and celebrate his or her achievement in a sentence like that last. was beside the stove. which led to the passage. -Robert Garis. where "which" attaches itself to four nouns in the compound subject of a single relative clause. MULTIPLE SUBJECTS IN A RELATIVE CLAUSE Notice the faster shuttling of the next sample. which house. A GAME OF REVERSAL Next is an interesting pair of relative clauses inserted in a complicated pattern that reverses dependent and independent material during its own run. p. Reflect on the greatness of an American statesman. one nested inside the other. p. TELESCOPING DEPENDENT CLAUSESFOR SPECIAL EFFECTS ONLY Now practice with "concentric" clauses. which in turn led to the storm door. 1968. two from the now defunct Saturday Evening Post. a girl dressing for a date. Find a very good reason. or your own favorite superstar in music. The Moon Is Down. beyond all doubt. Before this. "The Statesman as Historian.

and by responding to these as carefully as possible. As usual. 73. although. as." The Ugly Russian. Subordinate Clauses Following those two nonrestrictive relative clauses in Frye's sentence. 112. whom we shalf call the critic. a word such as when. by practice. Humorist Stephen Leacock has turned his attention to style and lodged this prominently among his complaints: • Most objectionable of all are sentences made with subordinate clauses introduced by relative pronouns and conjunctions that are telescoped in together one after the other.. . also. " The Complete Thought Called a Sentence. . "Prologue. then. p. Avoid a d unearned embedding as the next. because. From the samples that follow. He then travesties this kind of headlong embedding: George Washington who. a skill and flexibility. The critic. it will become apparent that in this book we are using the term "subordinate" to label those dependent clauses that have a subordinator to introduce them. is exposed to a series of impressions from literature. never despaired . the best and surest cure for this embedding is free modification and the breathing space a comma affords: At present we shall represent the literary public by a single sympathetic and informed person. if." How to Write. J -Victor Lasky. the first effectively reduced to get rid of an unnecessary subject. for which the traditional term in English is taste. since. he develops. the next sentence from the same page shows subordinate clauses.A built-in reason is the precondition for anything like that. where the writer interviewed several African students who had fled the Soviet Union where they claimed . -Northrop Frye. such arbitrary bunchings of dependent ideas: The trip began in London. they had suffered all sorts of racial-indignities. --Stephen Leacock. in free modification. p. when whatever he attempted had failed. The Well-Tempered Critic. each clause modifying the one in front of it.

Take the same subject and write a right-branching sentence with several free modifiers. . with a subordinate clause or a pair of clauses as the sentence-opener. ending with a subordinate clause as the sentence- . write a sentence of your own that begins with a free subordinate clause. as in MacLeish's sentence. while she read a book." Ten Green Bottles. EXERCISE 7. or with a pair of them. p. he deserves no one's serious consideration. L. An Infinity of Mirrors.Richard Condon. "'Why Can't They Say What They Mean?'" To the Young Writer. 150. eyes closed. take violence in life or literature." Time. . p. SUBORDINATE CLAUSE AS SENTENCE-CONCLUDER Below. or if he affects.Frye. The sentence you wrote for Exercise 6 was left-branching. 1968. the impact of television on children. p. somehow more arrogant than ever. 49. at the tip of a right-branch. -Archibald MacLeish. after three nominative absolutes and an adjective phrase. the effect of a certain law on your conduct. EXERCISE 6. 35. As your subject. as in the one above. ed. -"Cinema. Bader.T•lte. p. by calculated dubieties. August 2. this one doesn't. . meanings of which his intelligence is incapable. Below are three left-branching sentences that open on a free subordinate clause marked off by a comma from the main clause: j While politicians ranted. As westerns go. p. may in tum lead to general theories about the process or products of literature. SUBORDINATE CLAUSE AS SENTENCE-OPENER Taking the three sentences just quoted as models.Audrey Callahan Thomas. If a man cannot write clean English. . by A. "A Winter's Tale. he leaning back on his elbows. the army acted. if a general theory happens to be the bent of a critic's interest. wlwn ocquired. 112. 64. comes a climactic subordinate kernel: They sat there. his face tilted upward.

It does not rank or evaluate the ideas that go into dependent clauses.concluder. it only describes their syntactic status. They write well only if they disregard this counsel. dependent is purely a grammatical term. Perhaps you can contrive a sentence that will nicely follow die one you wrote for Exercise 6. Not Logical. and to enter the main thought of their sentences in the main clause. T erms . Try locating some sort of conclusion. The impact of a particular word or idea does not depend on its being placed in a "main" clause. Time after time beginning writers are told to confine . Additional practice in the use of dependent clauses will come in other chapters. or key idea. or punch line in the final subordinate clause. the key word or the most important new information in a sentence is housed not in a main clause or a modifying dependent clause but in some other structure of free modification-for example. subordinate ideas to subordinate clauses. . • Depend ent and S ubordinatee -Grammatical. • ' J As must now be clear. indeed. in an appositive or a nominative absolute that by reason of its position receives heavy stress. Often. Yet handbooks often advise in ignorance of this distinction.

is one of many sorts of reasons for tampering with syntactic expectations. for using inverted grammar. set off by commas like that last clause and this phrase. for instance-using a kind of pivotal emphasis for a more coherent transition. kind of inversion. Inversion we usually call anything that puts before the subject something from the main clause itself. about their sentences as the demonstration above.• 1 Chapter Sentence Openers and Inversion The large conception of grammar as style takes root in the simple notion of syntax as sequence.an implicit motto behind so much bad advice to students about varying their sentence openers--does not seduce the expert. such as the objective complement out of place at the other end of this very sentence. The point is that good writers always have such a reason before they invert. amounts to a reversal of expectation. but a particular grammar called the sentence. Johnson exaggerates the rarity of such occasions: . If what jumps the gun is free modification. Dr. a certain set and series of expectations. Anything happening in a sentence before its subject comes onto the scene. "Variety for its own sake".a. Getting the key italicized terms of this discussion back to back at the adjacent ends of those last two sentences. But they are never as self-conscious. of course. but amounting ordinarily to an encounter with a subject and a brief wait for its predicate. we call the result a left-branching sentence. of course. Here we have simply to practice f inversion and other variant sentence patterns for the time when what we want to say definitely needs their services. therefore. Not just any sequence. ready enough for change.

p. but by those who write to be admired. mannered. "The Life of Abraham Cowley.James Hilton. or even if you are simply trying to be . EXERCISE 1." The Lives of the English Poets. African Genesis. -James Joyce. -T. Johnson is unhappy with what we might term the "elegant inversion. H. EXPERIMENTING WITH "ELEGANT INVERSION" Count the number of different items shifted and inverted in these samples." an end in itself or. Nothing So Strange. -Samuel Johnson. But go you down. 255. Perhaps take Mistress Masham from the last sample and her escort as your key figures. Here are some examples: • An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes and wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs. Mistress Masham's Repose. is practiced. p. Then. Many were the unblemished fallacies that the well-educated young man of my generation took with him into a rambunctious world. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. the preenings and posturings of High Society at a fashionable ball after the benefit premiere of the new opera season. ' Inversion for Emphasis Whatever your motive in shaping inversions. not by those who talk to be understood. . Amaryllis. ''write to be admired" in this way. a parody of "elegance. directing grammar as an ironic comment on meaning. So happened the curious visit to Linz. p. looking bright upon the water of the lake. . "stylish. You might wish to test your skills as a satirist.Robert Ardrey. . or serious. past the Quincunx. I. p." Use inversions to describe the empty gestures and vacant graces. Himself no stranger to inversions in general. staging the parody around them. 11. . whether satiric as in the last assignment. White. in Johnson's terms." a subspecies of "elegant variation". by which the established order of w01dl il changed . mocking sham and vanity in attitude and attire. 169. 26. as you wind your long way home. Exaggerate your grammar to match your caricatures. costumes and conversation.The artifice of inversion. and for practice moving different elements to the front of a clause or sentence. . 133. just for fun. p.inversion that is self-conscious. a means of evoking the reader's admiration. and you might see a newly varnished punt.

10. Secretly. Tolkien. Adverbial in Front Position Below are some less literary examples. most copious water in all the land that bordered upon or existed in the great ocean.YERB INVERSION In the preceding examples.J. The Hobbit. . No Laughing Matter. .oar own. I In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Engage all five senses in your brief narration. ADVERBIAL IN FRONT AND SVBJECT-. Michener. 400. Sometimes this is desirable. -Robert Penn Warren. followed by the action and the actor. the location or direction. Imagine yourself exploring some unknown territory and render the surprises of scenery and wildlife in a grammar of adverbial openers and inverted main clauses. p. p.oa . Let syntax register with care an experience complete in itself. Why I Am Not a Christian. however elegant-an inescapable shift in emphasis. Evolve similar inversions of your own. the great renunciation. R . Children of Violence. Flood. smiling too. · -Bertrand Russell. sweetest. From the bent old body came a stale sour smell that made her recoil. locating and then naming in an apt and dramatic rearrangement. EXERCISE 2. the appropriate order of stress and disclosure: Into this grey lake plopped the thought. adverbials are shifted to the beginning of the sentence. 5. -Angus Wilson. with subject and verb inverted. imprisoned by this watertight cap of rock. Opposite him appeared the well-endowed young woman. p. where the altered emphasis seems to accord with the natural direction of the thought. p. lay the purest. and in this sentence it both elevates the style and accomplishes the desired emphasis. -James A. don't I? -Doris Lessing. 264. thus revealing to us the where or whence. far beneath the visible surface of the island. trying for a continuity of observation and a grammatical cohesion. opening line. This is the very common subject-verb inversion. R. To every man comes. Write three or four sentences this way. Hawaii. p. there is one invariable effect of inversions. 111. sooner or later. I know that man.

the toys for the children that were regularly issued by the old Francis Cleary. maybe a barker at one of the attractions. 247. Perhaps you may want to use an adjectival opener at some point. Cast a Cold Eye. 79. EXERCISE 3. p. Perhaps you can combine them. 225. the last of them an entire clause: The turtles he fought in a curious fashion. p. or .Jerry Allen.fillers like "there" are by no means the only structures shifted up front by the process of inversion. • I· Direct Object in Front Position Adverbs and . Imagine a conversation at a funhouse. -Hillaire Belloc. Life he saw as a ceaseless and courageous contest. Memoirs of Hecate County. Tradition in the new materials we have not. Any number of forms can be promoted to sentence opener in this way. -John Barth. Continuities. ~p. but tradition in decoration and of detail we can recover. an additional model: Gone are the potted plants. p.Mary McCarthy. none knew for certain. somewhere in an amusement park. -Frank Kermode.first two examples above. but on impact it had resolved into separate angry bees. PRACTICE IN INVERSION FOR EMPHASIS Memoir and biography are the modes of the . Use at least two different kinds of inversion in the passage. p. a theretransformation. 4. the Christmas cheeses. 28. Here is one inverted from the predicate. .• Notice that Tolkien's sentence is a special kind of inversion. Describe this conversation.Edmund Wilson. following are four examples of a direct object in front position. aided by a front-shifted adverbial cluster. The Thunder and the Sunshine: A Biography of Joseph Conrad. as if it were an important memory or sipi. Following is another. p. . Lost in the Funhouse. Where the cluster fell. . prolonging our wait for a subject that only at last ''begins to emerge": • Out of the goings-on that ensue there begins to emerge an interesting . p. 233.ficant incident in someone's biography. . perhaps with a stranger. desiped to locate an emphasis that is particularly desirable. A Conversation with an Angel.

Cronin. and for the latter use as many different types of free modification as you can. Down the slope of the northern Scottish bank tumbled the town of Twwedside.I We have come to another important use of inversions. Be . avoiding a stumbling rhythm caused by the embedding of that long relative clause. I. EXERCISE 4. Plot out emphasis and elaboration in advance. beating on a gong the hours as they fled.Wilhout JeoouJse to inversion. their ability to relocate in a more convenient spot the element that is to have major modification-in the preceding case. the Christmas cheeses. J. . or rapid faddish changes in public taste. A Single Pebble. The Keys of the Kingdom. Perhaps you may wish to let the grammatical topic itself suggest subjects to you. Carson McCullers shaped it this way. came from far away. 181. Miss McCarthy would have been forced into this: The potted plants. --Carson McCullers. ' I II ~ I STRATEGIC INVERSIONS Mold some sentences of your own after these examples. in hairstyles or in skirt lengths. reversals_in support of the President on some matter of foreign policy. masking the maze of cobbled streets. -A. clarified by distance and echoing in the woods with a lost hollow tone. Write about inversions of inherited moral values. Here are two more examples of inversion making such an adjustment: Through distant streets wandered a timekeeper. p. Reflections in a Golden Eye. about drastic shifts in popular opinion. the toys for the children that were regularly issued by the old Francis Cleary were gone. Would you choose to rewrite the next offering? The sound of the bugle.John Hersey. about a historical event that reversed the course of world affairs. clarified by distance and echoing in the woods with a lost hollow tone. p. p. with inversion saving modification till the end : From far away came the sound of the bugle. Inversio n to R elocate an Elem ent That Need s Exten sive Modification . 6. its tiled roofs a crazy quilt of pink and yellow.

try for different types of modification at the end-absolutes. long appositives. of bruised grass.Lionel Trilling. p. p. you might try restoring one or two of your sentences to normal order. besides that planned to aid elaboration. the adverbial opener and its follow-up inversion let "stand out" in final position. Below. develop a short narrative paragraph about a journey. 69. Tie your separate actions and fast observations together at least once by means of a cohesive inversion. Again adverbial openers often set the stage. It is even possible to combine the inversion for apt emphasis with this cohesive inversion. Below. Close upon these came Emily's self-indulgence. of river mud. INVERSION FOR INTERRUPTION Pairing the last two titles as your subject. Through the windows ajar on the side aisle came the sweetness of blossom. the dis- J . And in the next sample. permitting the "through" phrase to open the sentence and to stand next to the "through" phrase in the preceding sentence. preceding the verb "came" in both of the next two samples. is one mentioned already. If as much is lost to your work in ease and flow of modification as to the professionals'. perhaps in the center of your paragraph. as meaning dictates. Mter working out your strategic inversions. interrupted by a flood. predicate nouns. 78. . and adjectives. participial phrases. with adverbial openers. EXERCISE 5. gathering interesting and concrete data and dispersing it every attention to sense and rhythm. Try for different sorts of frontal elements-direct objects. Flood. Light fell through the colors of the stained glass beyond the altar. The Middle of the Journey.inversion to assist cohesion.specific. Do not rely only on simple inversions of subject and verb. Inversion to Assist Cohesion • Another kind of tactical inversion. the plan allows the second sentence to follow as "close upon" its forerunner as the sense tells us: Emily Caldwell's intellectual pretensions were the first matter of comment and then. by car or on horseback. what seemed connected. her manner of dress. a certain affair of strawberry jam bought with relief money. -Robert Penn Warren. strong cohesion comes from inversion of "came" and the subject in the excerpt's second sentence. then your own inversions are serving you well.

devise a pair of sentences. or an economic movement of goods to consumers or money to manufacturers." Add your work to the last passage you wrote about the flood. of arms to some revolutionary leader in Africa. like the national setting. --G. one inverted. linkage. its tricks for emphasis. EXERCISE 6. 3-4. On Being Creative. scheming for emphasis and transition. disjointed. p. how the second sentence itself is grammatically "disjointed. And for another double-duty inversion. are necessary tools for an accomplished writer.Irving Babbitt. Or write about the flow of silt and other deposits from a glacial source down the length of a river system to a large delta region. Remember to start your sentences with their subjects unless there is good reason not to. pp. and learn creative grammar by imitation-the working plan of this entire volume. . with which it might well fit. Or a less literal flow-of propaganda from behind the Iron Curtain. His life and work are. just before its renewal at the head of the second: From the age of Britain's greatest internal disorder stand out the life and work of John Milton. Wilson Knight. Chariot of Wrath. not merely in literature but in life. Notice how complete is the gearing of syntax to sense. one must be imaginatively and emotionally spontaneous. Any ' \ . around some form of the verb "flow. 17. but ones that are not his workaday equipment. if one is to create. elaboration. here is an excerpt in which one thing "flows from" another in a syntax calculated to strengthen the cohesive link of the demonstrative reference ("this repudiation") : To be cultivated is to be imitative. From this repudiation of imitation in favor of spontaneity have flowed innumererable consequences down to the present day. and use many details to substantiate. Right now. Use inversion to move smoothly from one sentence to the next. Evaluate what you describe. cohesion. whereas. Inversion as a Mannerism Inversion and its strategies of dislocation." jerky. INVERSION FOR SMOOTHNESS Put off your own "repudiation of imitation" awhile longer.I 1 bird subject of the first sentence.

. ed. So. Author Winner. by Dwight Macdonald. when you wish to bring forward a dependent clause or some sort of a phrase in free modification. in his chair once more settled. for shifting positions. regulating stress and modification. again looked upon his work and found it good (Not by my syntax wilt thou judge me!) . "By Henry James Cozened. collecting himself in tranquility. you want something to enter before your subject.." Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm-and After. When.Felicia Lamport.. fixing new emphases. there are methods other than inversion available to you for reordering the grammatical priorities of your sentences. transition and cohesion. but do not want to deform your main clause by inversion in order to have this. • e II - ·-- From his second-Boor bedroom descended. again. the techniques you need are those you will be practicing at the beginning of the next chapter. ' The baroque and absurd inversions in the left-branch above. score heavily in this parody of biblical rhythms in modem fiction. And remember. for example. if the need arises. start with the subject unless something better suggests itself. itself part of an elaborate delay of the subject. and later of the verb.habitual avoidance of the subject as opener rapidly b -and a target for travesty: I . 262. p.

Chapter

Free Modifiers:
Left-Branching, Mid-Branching,
and Right-Branching Sentences

One of the perennial subjects of philosophical discussion, being important, indeterminate, inexhaustible, and, above all, intrinsically
. interesting, style is at the present time as lively a theme as it ever was.
-W. C. Brownell, The Genius of Style, opening sentence.

That is a left-branching sentence. It consists of a base clause, STYLE
IS AT THE PRESENT TIME AS LIVELY A THEME AS IT EVER
WAS, plus two free modifiers, both of them left-branches, as indicated in
the diagram on page 72.
The modifiers are called "free" because they are not bound closely
to a single word or to the base clause and are, in fact, set off by commas
from each other and from the base clause. They seem to "modify" the
whole clause rather than a single word or structure within it. They are
called left-branches because they precede the base clause and actually
stand to its left on the page. Mid-branches interrupt the base clause. Rightbranches follow it. Many, if not most, free modifiers can be attached at
various points to the base clause. In the preceding example, the two free
modifiers could have been inserted in the middle of the base clause as
mid-branches, or they could have been tacked on at the end as rightbranches.

EXERCISE I.

EXPERIMENTING WITH BRANCHES IN
THREE POSITIONS

See how many different arrangements you can make of the three parts
of the sample sentence. First, put both free modifiers at the end of the
71

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STYLE IS . . . AS LIVELY A THEME AS IT EVER WAS

Le/t-Branch e•

Baae Clau•e

••r. daose, as right-branches. Then try putting both free modifiers in

the middle of the base clause, that is, as mid-branches, between the subject
and the predicate. Do you like either arrangement as well as the one the
author himself chose? How many other possible arrangements can you
figure out for this sentence? Try having one left-branch and one rightbranch. Try having one mid-branch and one right-branch.

Left-Branching Samples
The two free modifiers in the sample consist of a noun phrase and
an -ing verb phrase. The noun phrase is a front-shifted appositive. The
verb phrase is a participle heading a string of adjectives. Here are some
additional left-branching sentences, the first another front-shifted appositive:

A woman once of some height, she is bept small, and the lingering
strands of black look dirty in her white hair.
-John Updike, Rabbit, Run, p. 111.
And here is a left-branch of "appositional" adjectives:

Tall, powerful, barefoot, graceful, soundless, Missouri Fever was like
a supple black cat as she paraded serenely about the kitchen, the
casual flow of her walk beautifully sensuous and haughty.
-Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms, p. 54.
And now verb phrases anticipating the subject, headed respectively by a
present and past participle:

Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather
conservatory, we started to town.
- F. Scott Fitzge;ald, The Great Gatsby, p. 64.
Quickened by this spiritual refreshment, it had a boom.
--Sinclair L ewis, Babbitt, p. 178.
Notice that the main clause in each of the last pair of samples is a pure
kernel.

EXERCISE 2.

TEMPORAL SEQUENCE IN
L EFT-BRANCHES

Take the two kernels in the preceding samples and use them as
base clauses for two left-branching sentences of your own. As you keep

EXERCISE 3. in the interest of their readers. instead. the temporal sequence in each of the samples. p. Add to your last exercise a second sentence elaborating on the same subject and using a full subordinate clause as opener. a straightforward conditional clause. Fowler admonishes us about the use of participial leftbranches. two left-branches. it might be well to take Fowler's warning. But not always. that happens. one cannot tell because it is no longer fresh to anyone." Write about an important interview with a commanding officer in a tent somewhere behind the battle lines. Take from him. writing about any sort of interview: with a girl about a date. as he tied to a prepositional phrase a subordinate clause beginning with "before" and rightly coming before the main clause. Make the modification seem as much at home up front as you can. bids fair to swallow up all others. in the warning against "sentries." actually used two of them.O. This time you need not restrict yourself to a kernel base clause. In general. then" pattern. In the second. and you may try any kind of left-branching modification you wish. Notice that Fowler himself. before we are allowed to enter. -A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2d Edition). maintain any discipline over the gentlemen who provide inch-long paragraphs. In these paragraphs. what he cans the "sentry participle": If newspaper editors. at the start of two out of three sentences quoted. In the first. the way in which it jusrifia the left-branching variation by preparing for the main clause in a logical way: this done or being done. Or try any variation on the suggested topic. as you (or a character you have created) are led in by an armed guard or sentry. . with a prospective employer about a job. The fussiness of this is probably entertaining while it is quite fresh. the hint for a topic in constructing a sentence with a "sentry participle. (or subject of the sentence) shall not take place without due ceremony. THE "SENTRY PARTICIPLE" H. Prepare for your own start to town and your own boom in this way. and not just yet. . his meaning also invited the left-branch. he set up conditions for his base clause in an "if . l . they should take measures against a particular form that. W.these kernels and precede them with new elabotariaa. 438. by a survival of the unfittest. we are challenged by the sentry in the guise of a participle or some equivalent posted in advance to assure that our interview with the C.

.EXERCISE 4. the fresh phrasing and the vigorous rhythms do not come alive. 3. The participle. p.. to use them sparingly. their bedroom settled instantly into impersonality. And important. the main clause settling into view only after certain conditions have been met.anything that needs left-branching. dramatic preparation. This is exactly what the author wanted. . Babbitt. Diagrams of the two appear on p. -Brooks Atkinson.. and a temporal-causal "as . so" introduces the second. -Sinclair Lewis. an ordeal over. COMPLETED ACTION AND ITS EFFECT Returning to the actual participial "sentries. For additional practice.. conveying a sense of completed action out of which the main clause issues with a kind of finality and relief. when he begins to soar. 76. It is important to get enough practice with left-branching sentences to have their services in reserve when they are the best stylistic choice. when . The left-branches of the first consist of three "if'' clauses: If "one touch of nature makes the whole world kin" does not illuminate reality. then" introduces the first example to follow. Or about finality. if "our little life is rounded with a sleep" does not put life into simple perspective. a task finished. a career ruined. to save him from infatuation. with the temporal sequence used to real advantage: J Relieved of Babbitt's bumbling and the soft grunts with which his wife expressed the sympathy she was too experienced to feel and much too experienced not to show. noticing the special rhythm that parallelism gives to each: When a writer begins to be successful. as . he needs to be pelted with bitter apples." here is a more ambitious example from Sinclair Lewis than the last borrowed from him.. . p.VanWyck Brooks. 15. Fashion a sentence like this about some other relief and its effect. as . then. Study them. Shakespeare is a wordy bore. then. about a momentous decision reached. A Chilmark Miscellany. Brief Chronicles. framed by "when . A temporal pattern. if the music. 152... from which a large relative clause grows. notice the special effects gained by parallelism in the three samples that follow.. is in the past tense. .. outwardly but especially inwardly. about the halt of papers and exams for another summer or of nine-to-five I hours at the office for another two-week vacation. p. a piece of legislation passed.

#~ ~e~ ·o<V"' ~e~ ·#~ \S>'b-\. -. . .e'..o• e._o ~ Le/t-Branche• Base Clause .• • • Bale Clause • • • TilE GNARLED OLD TREE OF LATIN PUT FORTI! NEW SHOOTS .. .

Latin Fundamentals. as the need grew for a new vocabulary and wider connotations. Or deliberately ambiguous and funny: It is the cold hour of repentance.lild toward your main clause. Dangling Modifiera Before turning away. with the base clause written first EXERCISE 5. in any sensible way. an Elk never really forgets his wife." from the inside cover of a matchbook printed by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. homecoming time for those who have wandered. when they fail to introduce us to the C. Notice the loss of impact if the patterns of the three preceding samples were to be reversed. when they bear no relation at all to the actual subject. Maitland.As the limits of man's physical horizons and experience constantly withdrew. mechanical or otherwise. 331-332." The effect can be accidental and ridiculous: In continuous operation since 1929. --anonymous address "To Our Wondering Wives. sorting your material as often as you can into parallel arrangements that bl. our wait and anticipation. the near arrival signaled by "then" and "so" respectively.O. our descent through its graded levels on the way to the main clause. stand accused as "dangling modifiers. in meaning or in grammar. Blonde or brunette. C. . Connecticut. our proprietors invite you to dine at George and Harry's.blurb on a restaurant menu in New Haven. and A. . -Ernest L. as the flights of his imagination soared and new discoveries shattered the confining walls of outworn theories. PARALLEL BRANCHES Our entrance into each of the preceding left-branches. Hettich. to meet that imperious demand. we should note that "sentry participles" and other openers. . only to be deferred by an infinitive phrase of purpose. Write about the descent and perfect three-point landing of a jetliner. then at last our touching down on the independent clause-the whole approach and landing is beautifully calculated in both of the preceding examples. the gnarled but sound old tree of Latin put forth new shoots and sent its roots still deeper and wider into its sustaining earth.so. never actually forsakes her. pp. Or any left-branching sentence you want to make about flight. G. in our atmosphere or beyond. Calculate your own sentence using the idea suggested by this metaphor.

the enforced alienation which constantly knifes into our national identification with our country-have not been those of white Americans. Shadow and Act. Mid-Branching Here is an example to show how mid-branches are attached in the middle of the base clause: • OBVIOUSLY THE EXPERIENCES OF NEGROES Base Clause Mid-Branches Base Clause This chart shows free modification-a quartet of appositives themselves expanded by phrase and clause-branching between the subject and the predicate of the sentence. -Ralph Ellison. the stigma of color. the grueling and continuing fight for full citizenship since emancipation.• • is unwanted. . Obviously the experiences of Negroes-slavery. so are they. p. 24.

in midstream in this sentence or one like it: "Of course it was a hell of a nerve for a newcomer with so little experience in politics . and so forth. Retaih the predicate of the sample. to ask them to elect him head of department. p. in her worn sealskin pelisse. -Katherine Anne Porter. Or record the problems of women or any other minority group. AND NOMINATIVE ABSOLUTES AS MID -BRANCHES Now scan the following mid-branching sentence and its incorporation of verb phrases. A New Life. to ask them to elect him governor of the state. prepositional phrases. Enter data of your own. and change the subject to the experience of American Indians: their conquest by white Americans. muffled down in the back seat in the corner of the old carryall. holding off completion for the insertion of explanatory rephrasings: Of course it was a hell of a nerve for an instructor with so little experience in a college.Bernard Malamud." Leaning Tower and Other Stories. 1 VERB PHRASES. an Easterner not long in the West. Insert interesting mid-branches in an even more interesting base sentence. 44. "The Old Order. the herding of them into reservations. . . her hands waving together. 289.APPOsrrWE NOUN PHRASES AS MID-BRANCHES Write a similar sentence using at least as many mid-branches as Ellison did. any underprivileged people seeking equal rights. had been occupied once more in losing a son. and nominative absolutes between subject and verb: The Grandmother. INSERTION OF EXPLANATORY REPHRASINGS Appositive noun phrases also interrupt the next sample. until recently a stranger to most of his colleagues." EXERCISE 8. p. EXERCISE 7. PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES. showing coffee-brown at the edges. perhaps. . . continuing discrimination against them. her eyes closed.

now you might treat problems of the aged. perhaps. optimistically. the gift of full maturity and hindsight. Mid-8ranehe1 Ba•e After writing about the problems of minority groups and underprivileged citizens in question 6. R ight-B ranching If you were to put everything you added to the preceding base clause. Also. . take advantage of the central branching and its postponement of predication.Study this in diagram before modeling your own seuleoce oa It . Whatever your subject. the given one or your own. . use participial phrases and absolutes in the mid-branches. F rancis Christensen has appropriately named this formulation the cumula- . was gradually losing interest in getting out and meeting people. Follow the model. and discuss another loss: "The grandmother . to return to the suggested base clause. her retreat from society. about the gains of age. in specific terms rather than general. not in the middle but after the full stop at the end of the clause. for the grandmother's gradual retirement." This is just a suggestion. • • • THE GRANDMOTHER HAD BEEN OCCUPIED ONCE MORE IN LOSING A SON. you would make a right-branching sentence. writing about a grandfather or. and you may vary it in any way you choose. Use its arrival before the verb to explain matters that naturally condition the action recounted by the verb-the reasons. Use the grandmother from the example as your subject.

Here are participial expansions that demonstrate this: She had left him. 216." Flowering Judas and Other Stories. p. glancing at the clouds. packing up suddenly in a cold quiet fury. holding their umbrellas at cunning angles against the few last raindrops. -Katherine Anne Porter. evolving. Base Rlght-Branchu I I EXERCISE 9. now and again cutting him to the bone with a short sentence expelled through her clenched teeth. really. .• success1ve. Their trim boots prattled as they stood on the steps of the colonnade. holding their skirts demurely. carrying us past completion into active elaboration. pp. adding one to the other for a real accumulation of data beyond a base clause. -James Joyce. PARTICIPLES IN RIGHT-BRANCHES Use participles of your own in this successive way. bl c~•lly when the right-branch is developed with verb phrases. closing them again. For this . talking quietly and gaily. kinetic. "That Tree. PRATTLED AS THEY STOOD . . Here is the second in diagram: I • THEIR TRIM BOOTS . A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. stabbing him with her elbows when he tried to get his arms around her. 95-96.

ADVERBIALS FOR PROGRESS Below is a sentence with a short left-branch and a considerable rightbranch. when a fall would break their necks. her . Unloading this bulk of nominative absolutes and other free additions in a left-branch. for instance. on her back. and with the variety of possible arrangements. along the sidewalk. • His grandfather's dry grip enveloping the end of his arm.and probably the most useful. EXERCISE 11. David walked up Wilson A venue. In much the same way. -John Updike. the right-branching construction is indeed the loosest. across the mall. Its extension by free modifiers. that is. would make no sense: He could bear to think of her only after she had overpassed the common life of everything and lay in her bed. and build your owa mation that changes the context of the original clause entirely. 96. as if in a historical novel. the most relaxed of all the branching patterns. all of it. We have the main clause behind us.O. for instance. the freest. describe a walk downtown or across campus.• one from Joyce. or. up the steps. the latter illustrating even more clearly an accumulation that is also a progress or succession: . The Poorhouse Fair. What effect does parallelism. and we know just what is being enlarged and modified. however complex. pairing. or other close grouping. imposes no strain on the reader. Try fiX participles with very exact meanings and specific connotations-for very interesting participles.have on the sense of movement imparted? Make your placement and tempo contribute to the implications of your writing. p. where men were digging for the clover- leaf.such as across the street. MANIFOLD RIGHT EXTENSION WITH NOMINATIVE ABSOLUTES Sometimes called a loose sentence. along the wall where fearless bad boys dared run along the top. Experiment with the number and individual length of the expanding units. past the house of the woman who teased. this time with adverbial phrases and clauses rather than participial expansions. a carriage ride through ornate gates and across the spacious lawn to the manor house beyond. EXERCISE J.

Her small toothless mouth was open like an "0. including verb and prepositional phrases. He was drenched in light. The nominative absolute. Her huge eye-sockets and eyes were in a fixed. I I. the latter containing one adjective phrase and four nominative absolutes.. in its near approach to an independent clause. RIGHT-BRANCHES WITH ASSORTED INGREDIENTS Follow the same procedure with the sentences below. phrases headed by one subject giving way to clauses or absolutes introducing new related subjects.• . Her sparse white hair was short and straggling over her brow." Her skin was stretched thin and white over her bones. -Robert Penn Warren. . relative and subordinate clauses. p. p. 84). remolding them into a single right-branching structure-this time of very mixed ingredients. witlt moortlight falling across her face. . They looked at him. . Put it into one of your own. Ben lay upon the bed below them. her left arm laid across the mounds of her breasts. is the freest of possible attachments. Synthesize the separate data into one main clause with a manifold right extension. EXERCISE 12. He seemed like some enormous insect on a naturalist's table. She was tiny among the pillows. manufacturing it from the raw material found below.lzrt aJm. her right arm flung back on the pillow. The Cave. Watch all this find its way into a single sentence (see author's version. Bean. He went to speak to Mrs. He was fighting to save with his poor wasted body the life that no one ' could save for him. Now turn to the end of this chapter for this sentence as it appeared in its own novel. this construction does its best work in a right-branch. infant-like stare. As a sentence modifier hooked to no one part of the base clause but rather adding to it as a whole. and notice the variety of material that can be managed in this way. crooked over her head.

When you prepare your short sentences for transformation into the right-branch as absolutes or relative and subordinate clauses. 173. infant-likt 1 stare. a patient on an operating table. p. dimly lit backroom. as the guests fawn and fidget. . or a pompous host or hostess at an elegant supper table. Make sure you vary the focus of your "source" sentences. while they looked at him. her small I• toothless mouth open like an "0.Muriel Spark. deserving new "subjects. Bean. flanked by restless and angry executives. in effect. What you are doing." If you enjoy this kind of syntactic · tour de force. is practicing most of the possible free modifiers-participles. Now write a brief sketch about a cheating dealer at a poker table. some that relate effects on him of the smoke-filled. Look Homeward. p. 452. try the same method on the description of a nervous bani: president at a conference table. Begin by writing half a dozen or more short sentences. and dependent clauses.Thomas Wolfe. I t Ben lay upon the bed below them. drenched in light. and her sparse white hair short and straggling over her brow. • The last example describes. Angel. absolutes. in a brief paragraph that you will convert to one long sentence. 1 . like some enor· mous insect on a naturalist's table. also describe the actions of some other players at the table. tiny among the pillows. prepositional phrases. her huge eye-sockets and eyes in a fixed. to save with his poor wasted body the life that no one could savt for him. ~ .EXERCISE U. Memento Mori. fighting. A. LONG ONE . Then weave them together into a single main clause with attendant data in right-branching free modification. Write some that convey a physical description of the dealer or his movements and expressions. appositives. other verb phrases. KEY TO EXERCISES II AND 12 He went to speak to Mrs." her skin stretched thin and white 1 over her bones.

p. an act of creation different from any she had known. or merely emphasize. qualify or confirm. Scott Fitzgerald. a working over something. . 61. the generation that co"upted its elders and eventually ove"eached itself less through lack of morals than through lack of taste. -F. It does this work in one of two ways. p. and redirecting it for new emphasis. • • • Below. is the appositive. The first two of the three appositives in the right-branch of that sentence stand almost as a definition of the appositive: "a working over some! thing.pattern of (1) reiteration or (2) synonymy. ! narrowing or widening our focus.n Chapter . p. appositional noun phrases help develop the idea: ( r 3 . working over an . Scott Fitzgerald. Changing perspective. the appositive can open out an idea . 15. -F. idea." The appositive does rep. The Appositive of R eiteration This was the generation whose girls dramatized themselves as flappers.or close down on it. The Crack-Up. appositional unit. a direction. in a . it often serves to break up an otherwise loaded pattern by shearing off part of the meaning into a separate. -Fitzgerald. Here is a jug. In its common form as a free noun phrase. a beautiful black milk jug-the dairyman left it years ago when it was cheaper to make your own ice-cream. 85 . a direction. 19. generalize or specify. one of the most prevalent structures t of free modification.•• she felt a purpose. e • •• The Appositive D •v 1 As we saw in the last chapter. one of the most flexible and efficient.a me or revise. Tender Is the Night. that is.

Even more common. NOUN PHRASE AS REITEIUTION The reiteration in the preceding examples is more than repetition. Or you might write about a jug if you wish. "The Problem of Defining a Mature Style. • EXERCISE 2. t Notice as you practice appositives how much of your material gets ~ assigned to their positions. 48. the elm walks and meadows.EXER CISE I. T he Appositive as Synonym The "device" Christensen used was. I such as this appositive. ' -Francis Christensen. is the appositive as synonym. perhaps in a gradual spread of application like the sample's. of course. that are practically unknown to our textbook writers. • . the second a triplet of prenominal adjectives. the second of the types mentioned at the start of this discussion. This appositive often arrives in f f . and more likely to include the major data of a sentence. or any object. and the way it seems still. pp. ADJECTIVE OR PARTICIPLE REITERATED Here is a reiterated adjective. The appositive l» comes a grammatical moderator. that drives home its point. stressing it by repetition before enlarging the context from "spring" to "everything": We loved the temperate shapes of Nassau Hall's old brick. again from Fitzgerald. And in." English Journal (April 1968). and how this allows you to break up otherwise 1 lengthy noun phrases and relocate their information. addin& important new material along with your appositive reiteration . New information is brought along.c • crease or decrease its reference in some dramatic way. the college windows open to the spring--open. open to everything in life-for a minute.579. the head of your appositive structures. Try both enlargements in a sentence or two suggested by the first sample. Francis Christensen explains by example: On nearly every page of this paper I have had to resort to syntactic devices to keep them [the noun phrases] within bounds--devices. 572. the appositive of reiteration. Devise a sentence of opposite context in which you can use "closed" as your repeating word. from the specific to the general. a discussion of your generation and its relation to your parents. a tribunal of early American ideals. p. The first sample above adds a relative clause to expand and explain. -Fitzgerald. artistic or not.

honest forest life against that of the town. "Newspaperman. Let's play a game for a few minutes with appositives derived from the two sentences above. p. into an appositive. ) The theme is that of all Robin Hood ballads. 194. demands that his readers know the classics and the Bible. the law. Where the Appositive Comes From To backtrack a bit. or any other predicate noun. draws heavily on the work of his predecessors. . January 5. one of the greatest poets. NOUN PHRASE AS SYNONYM . -James Thurber. the crumbled shoe. The Ballad Tree. and load them with entertaining data nom both sense experience and imagination. -Helen Waite Papashvily. the fading flower. Appositive and principal are italicized: Milton. We can then insert the appositive into new sentences in various positions. p." The New Yorker. and the disconsolate frown of a hunter who has seen nothing but warblers all day. 1952. the golden curl. Use appositives to add density and color to your ideas. All the Happy Endings. wearing a suit too dark for the season. the setting of the fair. using appositives to convey most of your ideas. the Frankies and E/fies and Charlies and Nellies remembered by the tiny rose-bud. • s l The domestic novel offered this glorification in the child only lent by God. the dented locket. to flesh them out in the most interesting and satisfying way possible. we see two equative clauses: Milton is one of the greatest poets. or in actual experience. and the church. We can transform either of these. It s.gone to meet again in a happier place. let us watch the process of forming appositives. free. a big guy in his middle twenties. 21. the baby angel.11 He lumbered into the city room. Write about the "happy ending" of your choice. e l . Milton. -Evelyn Kendrick Wells. Milton is also one of the least-read poets. the little ones too good for the world's wickedness. Below. 1 Try some in mid-branching arrangements as well as at the end. II. EXERCISE 3. one of the least-read poets. in a book or film.

Start unambitiously with the merger of two equative clauses. enter your heaviest cataloguing after the main clause in a right-branch. Milton is also one of the least read. fusing our two samples: One of the greatest poets. EXERCISE 4. Lives of the Poets. let us look at the sentence composed by a professional writer. One appositive precedes the base clause. Next we see the same process incorporating far more material. one of the least read. a physically handi· capped and psychologically maimed youth who triumphed over every disadvantage. Milton. Oftle of rite lewnt n s'. is Milton. Lives of the Poets. To put an end to our game. -Louis Untermeyer. if you'd rather. an audacious rebel who loved liberty and could not refuse a folly. novelist. I89.Milton. and a series of appositives follows it: A truly Byronic figure. -Louis Untermeyer. your favorite musical artist or composer. where the two "source" clauses have so little to do with each other that their yoking in a single transformed structure is absurd: The most lovable of great composers. 383. Franz Schubert died of typhoid fever at the early age of 31. Milton is one of the greatest poets. as in the earlier sample. -from biographical notes accompanying a recording of Schubert's Ninth Symphony. is also one of the least read. One of the greatest poets. _ being force-fed to the immature. an aristocrat who lampooned his class. • The Inverted Appositive Untermeyer's sentence opens with an inverted appositive. . and then try your skills on a full-scale appositive romp like the one above. . Before moving on. we need one failing sample as warning. all feeding into the pronoun subject (he) without stuffing the subject slot with an unwieldy noun phrase. AN APPOSITIVE ROMP Write about your favorite poet. a device that is handy but one that can easily be overworked. or. p. To avoid confusion. an irresistible lover. a dreamer courting disaster. also one of the least read. one of the greatest poets. one of the greaten pot!b. . he was strikingly handsome and flamboyantly reckless. or essayist. and an irresponsibly shocking genius. one you particularly dislike. p.

FRONTAL A PPOSIT IVES What is the chief difference between the grouped appositives that open the two sentences above? Isn't it a matter of diction." "folk.these were the hallmarks of the New World.'' "gospel. a difference in levels of generality and abstraction? T o start a sentence of your own. Dorson. lushness." -JohnS. "Youth Will Be Heard. EXERCISE 5. July 1966. keeping the main clause of the first example and sharply specifying some exact "hallmarks" for it." or the most esoteric type. any subject for which you can come up with some eyecatching. its abstract and general nouns. render the lush Latinate catalogue of the first. Mexican folk music. they are later. 212. about westward ' expansion. French haute couture. p. Choose anything you can . ." H ouse Beautiful. pertinent appositives. as in the second example.Richard M. as the main clause gets underway. about American painting or sculpture. Choose a subject about the American scene in an aspect other than those discussed in the two samples. The Appositive's Easy Rhythm When Gertrude Stein writes They the names that is the nouns cannot please -"Grammar as Poetry.this blend of seemingly disparate elements is typical of the invigorating curiosity which has led today's young creative talents to cut through the relatively provincial categorization which once designated a song as "popular. recapitulated by a demonstrative pronoun or by a noun subject with a demonstrative adjective: Fertility. "foreign. into a quartet of specific and concrete frontal appositives. p. fecundity." Lectures in America. when catalogues of appositives are placed in initial positions. A merican Folklore. 14. 102. . You may even wish to write historically about America. Wilson. abundance.IJD= and they should be employed Catalogues of A p positives in Initial Position Sometimes. American jazz. politics. or philanthropy. p. Write about the American dream of 1 striking it rich. divorce. make interesting.

This is meaning. (2) Orderliness. 142. or a gifted musician. from the clumsiness of punctuation. In the preceding sentence. in this case. this syntactic rhythm.. p. of unworried addition. -Stein. as you maneuver appositives in the exercises that follow. (1) Humility. the easy addition that makes the appositive so 1Jiefrt She writes about nouning and naming (coincidentally the work of appositives) in a chain of appositives liberated.. . Without giving up the undeniable advantage of punctuation. Lives of the Poets. For what is in fact being accomplished is exactly this sort of unemotional or syntactic balance-the work. of course.. but very close to meaning in this sentence. . or scholar sharing his talent in a self-effacing manner. It is not suited for widespread imitation. serenity . here is a list of abstract nouns in frontal apposition: Humility . -Stein.she betrays ber coa and relaxed pace. Here is another removal of commas from an appositional unit: If you read my writing you will you do see what I mean. • This is the grammar of afterthought. p.. about a servile clerk or an obliging neighbor. 225. "the unemotional balance" is certainly a reiteration of "balance" with an explanatory adjective. Rhythm is something else. In a book called How to Write I worked a lot at this thing trying to find out just exactly what the balance the unemotional balance of a sentence is. 213. grace-these are the words with which Herbert has been commonly characterized. EXERCISE 6. MAKING THE ABSTRACT CONCRETE Once again. -Louis Untermeyer. the university student faced with degree requirements and dormitory rules. but it does tell us much about our normal punctuated syntax. orderliness . Write a sentence about a particular case of humility. or the official or agency that imposes them. Let two of these abstract nouns suggest subject matter for sentences. strive for this prose balance.. a thing or person ordered or bringing order-the child subjected to rules and schedules. p.. deal with a specific case. of a well-poised appositive in a most intrepid grammar. actor. Again. as she thinks they have every right to be. or the parent or teacher trying to bring order and a ·sense of security into a child's life. Try to use the reiterative appositive.

and experiment with using verbs in apposition. EXERCISE 7. elapsed. Adverbial and Other Phrase& as Appositives I Adverbial phrases and other prepositional phrases can also assume appositive slots. Let us turn our attention to other word groups that serve as appositives. Write a base clause. Write a sentence or two on one of these. or. p. Maybe it didn't take even three years of freedom. just over two and a half months have gone by. Golding. Salinger. a shy person at a cocktail party. on a corner not far from the hospital. taking Faulkner. London during World War II. The Mansion.to schedules and procedures. p. could be he. Do not use inverted or frontal appositives. -James Baldwin. or the employer who sets and enforces them. immunity from it to learn that perhaps the entire dilemma of man's condition is because of the ceaseless gabble with which he has surrounded himself. Any one of them might be he. or Salinger as models. insulated himself from the penalties of his own folly. 236. 1e1e Verbs as Appositives Up to this point we have been working mainly with nouns in apposition. might be her landlady's husband or son. 80.An Introduction. Take as a theme the idea of insulation or defense: an Infidel stronghold during the Crusades. or a self-consistent philosophical system against rival understandings. -William Golding. four blocks up Lenox Avenue. Western nations during the Cold War. -William Faulkner. Here are two samples for imitation from James Baldwin: The church was not very far away. 149.1. Go Tell It on the Mountain. p. Free Fall. Here are some verbs in apposition to other verbs: Between the last paragraph and this. D. 4. metaphorically. enclosed himself. and then expand it with right-branches that include appositives of synonymy. The rhythm itself becomes thematic. Seymour. . p. they seem to accumulate the very insulation they describe. . As the appositives pile up in the last sample. PRACTICE WITH VERBS AS APPOSITIVES .

l t • Appo1itional Adjective• 1 Adjectives are called appositional by analogy with nominal modifica· r tion. no longer safe and reliable. . . ( There is no reason to limit your sentences to one brand of apposition. -John Steinbeck. p. 48. Education in the Forming of American Society.She was and the fiery sun going down in the evening over t~ farthut hiU. p. EXERCISE 8.. their restatement or renaming. and for me fiUed with fore-~ boding. with the eternal fires of Hell. branching from these suggested clauses: • The catastrophe was very near . the whole enterprise of education. . constructed: a matter of decision. The sentence below relies on the appositive format three separate times. but they are usually better in medial or terminal slots. will. as in "our maid Beatrice" or "the melting pot New York City" bind their modification. desolate and dangerous. as we saw in left-branching samples in the last chapter. where they often work in pairs: s 1 a a ( t F Such a place the Fallen Angels might have built as a spite to Heaven. into noun phrases of apposition: No longer instinctive." If these adjectives. just as adjectives are commonly bound in prenominal positions: "our lazy Beatrice" or "the teeming New York City.. 152. and. Close or restrictive appositives. and effort. . the transfer of cul· ture. 154. Travels with Charley. the abstract to the concrete. in large appositional expansions of your own. PRACTICE WITH SEVERAL KINDS OF APPOSITIVES Match this movement from the general to the specific. p. they are performing like free apposi· \ tives. at the center and the right. Their dislocation can carry adjectives into the position of sentence opener. She was associated in his mind with ice . to the head or principal.Baldwin. f dry and sharp. had become controversia~ conscious. .Bernard Bailyn. are set off by commas before or after the < noun to which they add information. then. branching into appositional adjectives to the left.

p. EXERCISE 11. the performance of a highly tuned sports car. Do not limit yourself to single words in apposition. Seize the Day. moving from the abstract to the concrete. p. Deploy appositional adjectives in more than one position. 64.cA staDding starers. but entering appositional adjectives in various interesting. serene and unperturbed. ( 1) Serenity. the . as you write about a large tree in your backyard. white as tufa in the sunlight. phrases. unexpected . singly or in pairs. in a single manifestation. MORE PRACTICE WITH ADJECTIVES Add to the sentence devised for the last exercise another sentence or two. a few village women. even dependent clauses. divine or personal.quiet of the backyard at midnight or of the woods newly covered with snow. (2) Grace. MORE PRACTICE IN USING APPOSITIVES FOR CONCRETENESS Let's try working with two more abstractions. -Dylan Thomas. a graceful act or gesture perhaps. move. EXERCISE 9. but develop each appositive with as much free material as you can. or tension in a com. 5. L Notice and imitate the like-similes in the main clause and the as-similes in the adjectival additions. -Saul Bellow. striving for varied rhythms and successful balance. Write about a clear conscience or a peaceful evening on the deck of a cruise ship. or seem to glide in the quivering sunlight. The "it" of this excerpt is left for you to specify in your imitation. Write about grace. l . munity and its change "under the changes of weather. a love affair." • ' • EXERCISE 10. Approximating such a sentence on your own will give you a concentrated review of similes and of the concrete diction that gives them life. attached modifiers. this time without simile. The Beach of Falesa. slots. APPOSITIONAL ADJECTIVES IN SIMILES Here the appositive slot becomes a pretext for expansion by simile: :0 D Under the changes of weather it may look like marble or like sea water. black as slate in the fog. about their business. white and scriptural.

The Centaur. one important paradigm for the appearance of interrogatives in narrative writing-a dramatic ploy to heighten suspense. p. p. Herzog. What in the world was happening? Would a squat woman step out and ask the man to please stop? Would be raise his hand to strike her and would she retreat? -Joseph Heller. What made it clear? Something at the very end of the line. p. 221. What in the world is happening? This is. 325. Catcb-22. a rhetorical pause while the author builds anxiety and delays action.John Updike. This is a simple question accompanied by a simple answer--displaying the interrogative in its most direct form. Exclamatory • What is a hero? A hero is a king sacrificed to Hera. . Or another example of raised anticipation: It all seemed to him exceptionally clear. Imperative. Yet this pure version of questionand-answer is an unusual arrangement for both fictional and nonfictional prose. Was that thing Death? --Saul Bellow.• Chapter Interrogative. so to speak. 424. 94 .

LEADING QUESTIONS Did you find yourself answering your own questions? Phrasing an intended answer in the form of a leading question. love at second sight. but not our souls? Is man sovereign? Are babies born good? Is the human fault to be explained successfully in terms of environment? Is man innately noble? -Robert Ardrey. about the chance of immortality. You may wish to mix st~tement and question like the last sample. xvii. And vary your sentence lengths. 13-14. QUESTIONS IN SERIES Here is another model for a passage of your own design: Is man innocent? Were we in truth created in the image of God? Are we unique. or lack of it. Ask yourself or your readers-the effect is usually the same-not about man's physical nature or his role in the world. QUESTION FOR SIMILAR EFFECT IN NONFICTION Now transfer this effect to a stretch of nonfiction. Wonder aloud like this about a play you've seen recently. about its impact. EXERCISE 2. African Genesis. separate and distinct creatures from animal kind? Did our bodies evolve from the animal world. perhaps taking something else "at the end of the line" as your subject. an auto accident on an icy road. I • l EXERCISE 4. The Theatre of the Absurd. and aim at this effect in a short paragraph of your own. dropping some kernels into place between longer interrogations. one that won't take no for an answer? Here is what we mean: . a business failure. Vary your focus and the levels of abstraction like the professional sample. but about his spiritual destination. on the theater audience. Here is a sample from drama criticism: Why did a play of the supposedly esoteric avant-garde make so immediate and so deep an impact on an audience of convicts? Because it confronted them with a situation in some ways analogous to their own? -Martin Esslin.EXERCISE 1. pp. EXERCISE 3. QUESTION FOR HEIGHTENED SUSPENSE IN FICTION Cast yourself as a story-teller in search of such heightened suspense. p.

more important for fiction than for exposition. p. at school. but this is your life.. which M. Discussion and samples follow. If you haven't already done so. are not preoccupied by death. are addressed here in internal dialogue by the narrative persona to himself: Sometimes I thought. I28. lodge a couple of these leading questions where you can in the last passage you wrote. COMMANDS Command forms. EXER CISE 7. Stop fighting it. only an effect. does not really seek an answer. The Courage to Be. The Spaniards. -lames Baldwin. higher animals only by analogy but not properly? Does this not decide for the moral against the ontological understanding of courage? -Paul Tillich. like the leading question. it is a question that. Set your passage in your own room. • • • RHETORICAL QUESTIONS And now the rhetorical question. DIRECTI VES Directives of the following sort are more common in essays and other nonfiction than in stories or novels: . You might ask ironically about the justification for some political malpractice or gross failure of taste. Hemingway adds. about senatorial bribery or some offensive new piece of architecture. 24. "You'' Understood Imperatives are characterized by their personal and unmediated appeal to "you.." the reader. 57. 82) . H . "It has no fascination for them.Is c:oanp not • '""" 3 . Writers in Crisis. Use such commands in a passage of your own. Giovanni's Room. Drive home a point of your own with one of these rhetorical questions-about any subject you wish. Stop fighting. Often ironic. EXERCISE 6. Five primary types can be isolated. Abrams says "won't take 'Yes' for an answer'' (A Glossary of Literary Terms. p. or in an office. p. with exercises suggested for eacH type." Can the writer say as much for himself? -Maxwell Geismar. at home. EXERCISE 5. p.

faced with a block of material you wish to quote and wanting to send your readers to a very specific phrase in the center of it. p. African Genesis. the so-far-final result of our magnificent technical triumphs in the reproductive arts. Lend your money and lose your friend." The Films of Greta Garbo. Art and Technics. FORMULA OR RECIPE Formula or recipe: act and outcome.. The Death of Tragedy. Notice. "do-this-andthis-follows": Laugh and the world laughs with you. 254." Lord Jim. -Lewis Mumford. and build on the results a second directive. "Afterword. Ask no question and you will be told no lies. pp. 6.-Robert Ardrey. how much a hair-do alone can transform her in person and in mood. 9-10. and focus our attention with a directive or two on some particular feature or expression. or begin with these words. manufacturing a proverb on the spot or just telling us what to do and what will happen in some situation. borrowed from the first sample: "Call for justice or explanation . Behold. Then imagine yourself in the middle of an essay. Start from scratch. "The Garbo Image. p. 314. Here are two: Call for justice or explanation. and the sea will thunder back its mute clamour. Add to these the parade of further commentators and of characters in positions analogous to Jim's. 99. Follow either the first or the third. And there is a class of proverbial sayings phrased this way." . and we have a brilliant series of variations upon a theme. all made available to us by Marlowe. Imagine or perform an examination of yourself in a mirror or of Garbo in a photo album. -George Steiner. Fall back on the kind of imperative forms you have just been practicing.. say. p. -Parker Tyler. EXERCISE 8. p. -Murray Krieger. then. in this book. • I Phrase something this way yourself.

-J. The English Novel: Form and Function. a pure disembodied injunction like the biblical "Let there be light. -Richard M. Power. p. With this view of the problem. p. Let me put it like this: When you're up in the corner. and then turn from these first-person permissions to the more common firstperson plural imperatives. p. an invitation in third person related also to the Latin subjunctive. politics. Let the poets and their defenders. -Dorothy Van Ghent.his beach. -F. 41. be tempted to practice it all too often. RHETORICAL IMPERATIVE Not so. I MPERATWES OF PERMISSION. Seymour-An Introduction. Scott Fitzgerald. in fact. p. It is a sort of plea in a vacuum. refute it if they can. almost purely rhetorical imperative. perverted now to the tastes of the tasteless.• E X ERCISE 9. } -C. D. 8. p. Fabulous Voyager. 108. and J we shall listen to them with respect. You may. EXERCISE 10. 143." It enters both fiction and nonfiction: Let him look at it. An extremely common device in organizing an essay. Kain. "Nature and Homer. he says.. • • Put something of your own this way. Wright Mills. and People. Politics. this sort of imperative is often overworked. INVITATION Examples follow of the imperative of permission: • Let me change the subject and say . p." Fables of Identity. Tender Is the Night. probably. about power. Salinger.. with the less frequent. private enter1 prise can make only an economic appeal to the employee. or people. . related to Latin's hortatory subjunctive and called here the imperatives of invitation or exhortation: Let us turn for a moment to a brief survey of the conditions of modern society. let us set beside it an analogous case of conscience in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. 280. 117. -Northrop Frye.

There is some- • . "The Literature of Exhaustion. I add on behalf of the rest of us. 14. After which.. punctuation . Kain. 235. of reversed stress and new emphasis. The Heart of the Matter. Write about exhaustion after a fabulous voyage. Seize the first three nouns that come into your head. .and the carnation mate with the cabbage. 31. Exclamation Sometimes exclamation is simply a matter of inversion. but about rhetoric-about emotional levels. INVERSION AND EXCLAMATION Most often. Experiment with the stylistic elevation this can bring. but surprisingly pertinent. August 1967. not about structural divisions and patterns. Sometimes punctuation alone must lend the emotional edge: "Nought nowhere was never reached"-a ludicrous." The Atlantic. p. Was this as easy as it looked? Did you have any trouble fitting the assigned grammar to the suggested topic? Is there anything about the exclamatory mode that would offer itself sooner to a passage about exhilaration than to one about exhaustion? If you found this so. -Graham Greene. inversion and the exclamation point work together. and "let them" do something appropriate. 208. Let the swallow build in the drawing room . with punctuation not needed to convey the exclamatory feel: He thought: How beautiful she is. do you think this quality has anything to do with the common characteristics of the three modes treated in this chapter? The Writer's Voice Here we are not talking about syntax. To the Lighthouse. . Have them do so in a brief exclamatory passage taking its subject from the last two titles. I EXERCISE II. even characterization! Even plot! -John Barth. p. -Virginia Woolf. it might be conceivable to rediscover validly the artifices of language and literature-such farout notions as grammar. use of the triple negative! -Richard M. Fabulous Voyager. p. making at least one a proper name. p.. of course.

But in reading J great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. reached by an undergraduate in an English essay: . in . but they destroy the privilege. . nonfictional writings of all kinds. from self-commitment. and intending in one way or another to engage and commit his reader. No easy answer is available. But no one is indulged or gratified by too few. in moral action. Evasions of the first person singular bring too many artificial "we's" and other less attractive forms. I see with a myriad eyes. . but if one finds oneself rereading with weariness what one perused with gusto a few years earlier in Joseph Andrews or Tom Jones. quickly grow self-indulgent. are the real proving ground: Literary experience heals the wound. Too many "l's. one that might have been discussed as a coda for the chapter on noun phrases. and if one's inclinations are such that one found Vanity Fair completely unconscionable the first time around." too many wallowings in the confessional or selfcongratulatory tones of the first person. no quick and surefire method for mastering the judicious use of first person. in love. the realm of " It is demonstrable that . And this calls to mind another topic. . . his own emotion. . a felt element)-there is something about all these structures that suggests a speaking voice immediately involved with what is being said.. a writer engaged and committed.. the whole mauling battery of "one's" and "he who's. but it is still I who see. without undermining the privilege. and for which there is no substitute. " and "It was asserted earlier that . and about an exclamation made (with the personal "I" of the speaker. and a dangerous retreat into some bad stylistic habits. Good habits in this respect form slowly. It becomes an escape from direct responsibility. of individuality." Escapes from the first person altogether can also become fatal excursions into the anonymous wasteland of the impersonal passive.thing • a quesdou . This is the question of which pronouns should substitute for nouns. one can probably attribute the dissatisfaction to two sources . Examples are their spur. And essays. Students are often mistakenly taught to avoid both. grammatical but mainly rhetorical. . Here. as in worship." These evasions can bring writers afraid to say "I" to a dead end like this. In them our separate selves are pooled and we sink back into sub-individuality. and it involves primarily the question of first person singular and plural. There are mass emotions which heal the wound.. Like the night sky in the Greek poem.. any more than by the loss of that interest that comes naturally with persons and personalities. a 1 "command" given in any of its forms (with ''you" or "us" stated or understood).

the escape from "sub-individuality" that literature allows. perhaps an evangelist. EXERCISE 12. -C. This is hard-and as an exercise. the rising out of plurality into personality. "Epilogue. and then on to the striking release of the "I" at the exact moment of personal transcendence. Record a similar arc of experience for practice in the capacities of "I. some practice in using the first person to avoid impersonal passives is just around the comer. Just be ready to do something like it when the occasion asks. S. a bit contrived. Right now. Lewis." You might write of your charging ahead in a track or swimming event. final paragraph. from straightforward comment to general involvement. Describe a fleeting sense of identification with some performer on stage. followed by the drift back into collective appreciation.• I do. then into lone domination and single victory. a ballerina or popular singer. with yourself as merely a part of the audience or congregation. Or work it backwards. in an experience of that "mass emotion" Lewis mentions.'' An Experiment in Criticism. . I FROM THIRD PERSON TO FIRST Study Lewis' perfect curve from third person to first person plural. first into the lead group.

Pincher Martin. FROM ACTIVE TO PASSIVE In a quick drill. -Eric Hoffer. 30. Bainton. -Vladimir Nabokov. Sometimes the agent is accompanied by a phrase of instrument." Nabokov's Congeries. "Terra Incognita. --+ We are made kind by being kind. 9I. EXERCISE I. p. a transformation that inverts subject and object and then must patch things up between them so that another kind of sentence gets built. 102 .Roland H. -William Golding.• • Chapter The Passive Transformation . p. p. The Passionate State of Mind. Here are three unwritten active "sources" accompanying their published passive forms: Strange hallucinations tormented me. remodel some active sentences of your own in this way. 27. --+ I was tormented by strange hallucinations. --+ The pictures were interrupted by the solid shape of a snore. The solid shape of a snore interrupted the pictures. 77. Being kind makes us kind. watching as the subject becomes an object of the preposition bythe agent in a phrase of agency. . . p. . Here I Stand. usually a with~ phrase: He was then received into the convent by the brethren with the kiss of peace and again admonished by the prior with the words . • A passive is a kind of transformation that is also an inversion. It is a transitive pattern (subject plus verb plus object) in reverse.

the capacity for sidestepping unneeded or unknown subjects. only the passive voice would permit an economical treatment: A warning should be posted. as if the stress on it hadn't been fully intended. or less automatic ones. (3) transition and cohesion. In such cases. . and the war finished. For now. EXERCISE 3. The town was occupied. the subject from which the passive syntax itself then veers away: This last emphasized word was oddly veered away from. -1. we now approach the other main question: why? In what situations and for what purposes should the passive be called into service? Economy was just mentioned.EXERCISE 2. p. This emphasis makes good sense. with and without a phrase of instrument. PASSIVES FOR EMPHASIS "This last emphasized word" is the first thing stressed in the following sentence. 264. as to chronology. practice a few passives with unstated agents.John Hersey. and is also urged by factors of economy -since. D. More important reasons. 194. ( 4) parallelism. (2) ease of modification. Next. . follow: (1) emphasis. and ( 5) meaning itself. the description of a facial emphasis or accentuation calls on the restructured emphasis of passive transforms: The thinness of his lips was emphasized by a narrow line of dark moustache. involving the continuous focus on the same subject from different angles. at this point. the agent is understood and any active formulation would use it redundantly as its subject. sometimes even unknown. p. Franny and Zooey. The Algiers Motel Incident. More about this later. the thematic relevance of the passive voic<?. UNSTATED AGENT And sometimes the agent itself is understood or unimportant. the defender defeated. -John Steinbeck. . Reasons for Using the Passive Knowing what the passive is. The Moon Is Down. . 11. again. p. The general gauntness of his looks was accentuated . Salinger.

sadly." Come Along with Me. 152. "Notes for a Young Writer. exclaim. edging into the second main use of the passive. Which end of the sentence did you find yourself enlarging. straightforward "said" and the hubbub of loud verbs: Do not worry about making your characters shout. . -Richard Armour. p. was intoned by of manner or accompaniment. : And final emphasis in the next sample stresses a contrast in the passage between the quiet. sending your major stress toward the phrase of agent. its ability to rearrange ideas for ease of modification. For example: " _ _ _ (with ) . American Lit Relit. -Shirley Jackson. Next. working backwards from means to motive. For it is usually when the agent needs considerable expansion that the passive is used. subject or agent? We are. 3. EXERCISE 4." Build into your sentence as much compelling logic for its order as you can. of course. shriek. p. This is. Hemingway's short stories and novels are concerned with the fundamentals of life. remark. reason. from syntax to idea. or any such thing. Assume you have a reason for doing it. a long relative clause. PASSIVES FOR EASE OF MODIFICATION Now take your practice sentence and elaborate part of it with a good deal of bound or free modification. but it is good practice. for instance. or beyond it to a phrase . --George Woodcock. All remarks can be said. such as death. holler. The author warns you away from the verbs in her catalogue. a witty sentence is made possible by saving the punch line till last in a passive arrangement: . but what she suggests is only a general rule. p. or a participial phrase. The general point is made for us if you found it easier to modify to the right than to embed a clause or heavy phrase after the subject. intone. The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell. of course. unless they are doing it for a reason. 239. and choose one of these verbs for practice in passives for emphasis.

but he might have expanded the list: We live in an age of adjustment when the individual is forced into group modes and preferences. Here is a variant professional example. grief. Add a series of agents to those in the sentence above: " . The Passionate State of Mind. expression as political rhetoric or as slang. joy. MODIFYING THE AGENT Conceive an action to be depicted in which the agent is most important. In addition. of underground movies. We are gratified by the discovery that we are not all sham and show. itself a passive form: I And whether it be genuine disgust. 18. . by moving the agent to the end of the base clause. Creativity and Conformity. . -Clark Moustakas.EXER CISE S. this shift allows space for the writer to Hst more than one agent. by authority or by popular vote. Write about the voice of conservatism. pity. if he wishes.either by authority or popular vote. What you should notice here is the value of the passive for transition and cohesion. Produce a sentence about expression in America. or some clear renaming of it. or by . artistic expression in rock music or campus journalism. EXERCISE 6. some particular form of it. that there are elements in our inner make-up as organically our own as the color of our eyes and the shape of our nose. allows room for extensive modification of the agent." EXERCISE 7. where the quick link is not between some noun phrase as agent and the same noun phrase as subject. of Pop art. The writer in the example below names two agents.Eric Hoffer. 11 S. ROOM FOR MORE AGENTS We have seen that the passive construction. p. . expressions of protest. as a unifying or divisive force. at least most in need of modification. PASSIVES FOR TRANSITION AND COHESION Now add to your last production another sentence using as its subject the last in the string of previous agents. . shame or desireit is accompanied by a vague sense of gratification. . . but between the last noun in the phrase of agency and the same word as a verb in the next sentence. p.

in the third person. Write a paragraph something like this. And again. I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe. I am invisible. Tie the agent of your first sentence. too. PASSIVES FOR PARALLELISM A different. EXERCISE 8.The Langston Hughes Reader. about some friend. for another sort of cohesion. understand. I am a man of substance. Try for some powerful effects. writing a pair of sentences not about "gratification" this time. pivotal transition: You see. distorting glass. or some element further along in its modification. books had been happening to me. but keep him or her as the subject of each of your sentences as you vary your predi- • . but about "disgust. reason for using the passive. pity.Notice. grief. "Prologue. p. . fiber and liquids-and I might even be said to possess a mind. disguise your "character" with a pronoun or a changed name. If either of you needs protecting. No. Now the books were cast off back there somewhere in the churn of spray and night behind the propeller. enemy. the passive allows the same subject to receive a protracted examination: I am an invisible man. shame or desire" in some given situation. joy. or acquaintance as if he or she were a character in a novel or story. almost an opposite. is demonstrated below as the passive is used to sustain the same subject across two sentences of very different actionfor parallelism rather than close. with a stated agent. you can repeat this link to yet a third . • TRANSITION But concentrate now on the passive as it fosters neat transition. opening lines. If your second sentence is itself passive. as it not only moves neatly out of the first sentence but allows its own major stretch of dependent material to move smoothly out from its own main clause. simply because people refuse to see me. at greater length. EXERCISE 9. to the subject of your second. the double purpose served by the second passive. of fiesh and bone. 317. nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms." Invisible Man. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows. it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard. -Ralph Ellison.

about sufferers from modern economic injustice. Attempt a contrast that will also carry tacit judgment. or two kinds of story opposite in tone and impact. Look at both sides of the coin in this striking way. 9. ANOTHER CONTRAST Also analyze in this way the effect of two different art forms. Now study another example: : In New York. the latter via the passive. I should die of stimulus. Follow Brooks as a model. CONTRAST OF ACTION AND PASSIVITY With this in mind. about urban dwellers jostled by hectic mechanization. . I should be soothed to death. acting and being acted on. p. A Chilmark Miscellany. on the above model. draw a contrast between reading and direct sense experience. Identify and define your character with equative clauses. between killer and victim: It is men tormenting and killing a bull. Follow either Eastman or Brooks. -Van Wyck Brooks. p. describe him with linking patterns. PASSIVES FOR THEMATIC RELEVANCE In following that final instruction above. EXERCISE 12. Write about victims of a plague in the Middle Ages. it is a bull being tormented and killed. Use the passive to do this. EXERCISE 11. about prisoners in a concentration camp. 90. find a topic in the contrast of Eastman's title. with implicit moral evaluation. for instance.Max Eastman. Portray the character in relationship with others. turning the very nature of "passivity" to stylistic account. Art and the Life of Action. . Compare stimulation and passive relaxation. about buffalo hunting or middle-class moral and political complacency--or anything else you think you can handle in this unique way. avantgarde theater against lyric poetry. the contrast between active and passive violence. you will be working the passive for its thematic contributions. EXERCISE 10. Here is a writer analyzing. at least once or twice. T ry some passive form s with unstated agents. actions upon your character by unknown actors-perhaps heightening suspense or suggesting impersonality. maybe. say.Cldiclll as much as possible. In Boston.

alternately. p. p. 239. redesigned it must be. home. of the child as object." Language: A Modern Synthesis. say. Indian Summer. imagine a series of events exhausting themselves into passivity. and almost nothing is done by him. however slowly. or a shy. such a juxtaposition of the dynamic and the static. EXERCISE 14. Or. EXERCISE 15. climax in a passive: They sailed and trailed and flew and raced and crawled and walked and were carried. When he is adopted by Mr. STUDIES OF PASSIVE PERSONS OR THINGS Here is a more extended study of passivity itself. in a discussion of Oliver Twist: Being a child. Forge a sentence or two like this about some other threatened action finally self-performed.the same form. try working such an antithesis. like the hunting down of an escaped convict or the eventual withering of a pampered rosebush. he is naturally helpless. -John Knowles. "Language and Life. like the slow. the loud and the quiet.• EXERCISE 13. starting as a passive and becoming reflexive as it acts on itself: We do not know how our language will be redesigned-that is emended or corrected. the active and the passive into the course of a single sentence. in fact. ponderous rise of an enormous rocket toward its first burst of speed and full power. -Joshua Whatmough. Watch this sentence. JUXTAPOSITION IN A SERIES Next. finally. write about events finally rousing themselves into energy and automation. for instance. ACTION SELF-PERFORMED Here is another contrast of active and passive forms. 4. and if left to itself it will redesign itself. everything seems done to him and for him. about punishment and correction. or esteem and praise. Brownlow his workhouse clothes are removed and he is . • For this exercise. quiet child finally provoked by a bully into retaliation.

diuretics. they were prodded." Life. 231. it is not ordered by intensity. probed. vitamins and food which was designed to control the character of their feces. Below. the saturation of outside agency. of course. secret or merely unrevealed. the American astronauts as "passive bodies": The heart pressure. flexed. and then write a paragraph of your own about such subjection. the bowel movements of astronauts were of national interest. tapped into. laxatives. depressants. p. In each of the preceding samples. Dickens: From Pickwick to Dombey. And here is Norman Mailer's analysis of men as objects. subjected to a pharmacology of stimulants. They were virile. on a hospital bed under sedation and intensive sterile care. 63. They were virile men. the gift of revelation : .4n!aed m tbe dodw:s of a young gentleman. they were done to like no healthy man alive. retentives. insidious because impersonal. in the classroom of a domineering teacher. poked. motion sickness pills. tranquilizers. and when he is recaptured by the thieves they promptly strip hlm of hls new suit and give him back his old clothes. such dehumanization. Only the second clause fills in the phrase of agency: Whatever else it may be ordered by. He is active in the way that a ball batted back and forth between opposing sides is active: he is moved through space. examine the density of passive forms. This is intended. Here is a statement of unspecified beneficence. -Norman Mailer. -Steven Marcus. unspecified. ANONYMOUS AGENT Sometimes the source or agency is properly anonymous-general. all that is known about the agency is negative: We are told what is not the ordering principle. p. they should appear so grammatically. the brain waves. tested. "Psychology of Astronauts. pp. at the mercy of the bantering attacks of some tasteless jokester at a party. When agents are in fact missing or mysterious. November 14. The Noble Voice. antibiotics. perhaps in the office of an unreasonable employer. but they were done to. -Mark Van Doren. and right. 1969. Treat yourself or someone else as a passive object. 79- 80. EXERCISE 16.

in student papers and poor expository writing of the "It has been shown that . Olfaction and Odours: An Osphresiological Essay. by a growing number of investigators to the study of olfaction. October 17. • Write about some undisclosed or mysterious agency." Selected Poems of Robert Frost. and always at a time when the poet is in a so-called state of grace: which means a clear mind. Only then is the widespread case against the passive justifiable-but this is only too often.various forms of chromatography and spectrometry. governmental or academic. . A few warning samples must do here. • The Passive as a Stylistic Liability It is only when a passive is used to mask rather than to mirror the facts that it becomes a stylistic liability.English Department communication. Even a judicious critic like George Orwell includes in hls half-dozen rules to rely on when instinct fails: "Never use the passive when you can use the active" ("Poli..I agree a poem pii!Mei off. sounding unhealthily like the former: This is to inform you officially that at your oral examination on Friday. The value of all these procedures should certainly not be underestimated.' tics and the English Language. but only the excitement of a unique revelation about to be given. some absent power. Real ones appear unexpectedly. the first an authentic snippet of officialese. very powerful techniques. and the second. In official pronouncements. together with useful methods of statistical analysis. . who inevitably suffers. x. money. and no worries about fame. the impersonal passive is often a means of dodging responsibility-sometimes understandably-by naming no names and protecting everyone but the reader. -Robert Graves. for example--now being increasingly applied." Shooting An Elephant and Other Essays)." school. -William McCartney. It may possibly be thought strange that more has not been said in this book about the modem. "Introduction. tense heart.. or other people. it was voted that you passed. p. and mirror the unspoken in your passive syntax. institutional or consensus prose. though by a private hand. 190. p. divine grace or an unannounced benefactor. This dark side of the passive transformation has been mapped out and attacked at some length in the main text of Grammar as Style.

nests of passives and the prepositions their agents and instruments require can make for lumpy and unattractive prose: Her significance as a goddess was underlined by the presence of a bunch of flax placed upon the heap of stones under which she was preserved in the bog water when not needed for feast days. The Bog People. .illqJeniOIUII. V. translated from the Danish by Rupert Bruce-Mitford. p. -P. Glob. 180.

such stylistic crutches as balance and rhythm. vii. The Prose Style of Samuel Johnson. p.." " Faulty" Parallelism for Humor or Emphasis We shall begin by looking at a phenomenon far more fun to play with than important to analyze.• Chapter Parallelism • The resourcefulness of student writers in obscuring and avoiding parallels is boundless. Jr. is Wimsatt's statement of the problem: "Not to relax or soften any too stiff gridwork of antithetic parallels. Wimsatt. The author of the copy was trying to catch our eye by using the same word in brazenly different ways-for a faulty parallelism in which two parts are to be taken literally. an idiomatic warning to be on guard. in all its stamina and agility. in fact. is that repeated bead-on encounters with the sentences of such a master as Johnson will inspire students to use such humble props. The professor's tongue is in cheek. and the third to be taken metaphorically. H ere. is one of the most frequent corrective jobs of the teacher of composition today. -W. K. All we need to know is the nature of the game: Look up! Look down! Look out! -Advertisement for a lames Bond film. but to uncover and tease out into open existence the bashfully disguised intimations of any such pattern at all. parallelism and antithesis-the mainstays of truly resourceful writing. Distinctions are technically made between types of trick parallelism and called zeugma and syllepsis. as injunctions to look around. His hope. of course. for be deplores this resourcefulness. 112 . without irony.

girlish. Attempt this in reverse. often working for a selective emphasis: She is alternately gamin-like. or a girl. a gerund. seeing if the same stress can fall on a standard adjective as the last odd link in a chain of participles.Arthur Miller. or turn on T. EXERCISE 3. SET THE TABLE AND THE MOOD See if you can come up with something like this. 1967.V. mischievous. Ellipsis These broken parallels tamper with expected content. the participial phrase "radiating warmth" itself radiates its own meaning most clearly. just for fun. . as in the motto "Make love not war.EXERCISE 1." Harper's. Since it veers off from the adjective series. one of the best definitions of which is Ezra Pound's: ." But good writers employ it only for special effects. or read a book. but they also adjust what we call prose rhythm. then try another -ing form. this time unabashed. -Hollywood Bowl program. this is for jokes. Normal deference to grammar's restraints prevents such artless broken parallelism as "Looking quite down and out and to his left to assure that no one was there or approaching. One of television's continental butlers may urge the viewing housewife to "set the table and the mood" with the product he is pushing." Trick parallelism can be catchy. November 1962. at the end of a noun catalogue. confident. and radiating warmth. TRY IT AGAIN Give it another try. or to a bar. An Evening with Barbra Streisand. puns. they go to the movie. "The Bored and the Violent. EXERCISE 2. and slogans. THE SPRUNG SERIES FOR SELECTIVE EMPHASIS A second kind of "faulty" parallelism. of course. sexy. innocent. or make a resolution or quit a job. be ran down the street and out of breath. is the broken or sprung series. making no attempt to pass itself off as the real thing or as humor. usually humorous: To get out of it. July 9. insouciant. or go to sleep.

for instance. • In other words. and the results of your ellipses. 3. only when reading a sentence through. with the element to be removed italicized where it appears: For love is stronger than hate. j . p. Isabel an assured position backed by a substantial fortune in an active and cultured community. or prevents us from really missing it at all. 343. So." English Prose Style. Gray a steady and lucrative job. all parallel. Perhaps you may wish to read your work aloud to get a better feel for its movement. are high. write several sentences. in the third segment's omission of the understood verb: • · Everything must depend on the required emphasis. and the rhythm by the necessities of expression. sets a definite pace. When a series. DROPPING OUT REPEATING VERBS For practice in dropping out repeating verbs like those in the samples. and the emphasis is secured by the rhythm. too. For all the persons with whom I have been concerned got what they wanted: Elliott social eminence. EXERClSE 4. Sophie death. Ellipsis works only because parallelism prepares us to fill in what is missing. 41. p. prose rhythm results from sentences being articulated into segments--a discovery made only in motion.Rhythm is form cut into TIME. -Bradford Smith. The walls of the town. A Dangerous Freedom. and Larry hap• pmess. and peace than war. rhythm is necessarily altered when some grammatical item syncopates out altogether. or the pet peeves or irritating habits of members of your family. . The Razor's Edge. Under the Volcano. 362. as a design is determined SPACE. -Malcolm Lowry. Here are some elliptical sequences. the streets and lanes tortuous and broken. p. "The Sentence. Parallelism is a regularization of that rhythm. It figures here in another critic's discussion of prose rhythm. -Herbert Read. -W. only to have it arrested by a change in grammar. Somerset Maugham. The ABC of Reading. and then see what variety you can achieve in phasing out reiterated units. the roads winding. write about the direction and flight of the balls as a foursome drives on the first tee. with an office to go to from nine till six every day. Scrutinize the different rhythms you begin with. In each assignment.Ezra Pound. 198. p. p. which is built on a hill. rhythm is naturally affected. This is ellipsis. Suzanne Rouvier security.

Condense." The author himself. of demonstration of religious powers. contract. Below. A LARGER PATTERN OF DESCRIPTIVE CONTRASTS The next assignment is more complicated. a first limited survey. yet he is also admirable as a lone watcher at the frontiers of human ." rather smart. Rewrite the sentences in the way that seems most pleasing to you of all the possibilities you come up with: Or consider Mr. rather shrewd. is a dull. Selective deletion has many ramifications. eased. for it can act as a control or timer for the rhythm of a sentence not really elliptical. with rhythm in mind. compound-wherever you can. But here is the unredeemed vers10n: There was something rather "doggy.especially by dropping unnecessary repetitions and by shifting the syntactic order of the contrasts. trying anything to breathe some life into the bland uniformity of the rhythm : The chief occasions were those of the investiture of an heir.. J SELECTIVE DELETION AND REPETITION FOR RHYTHM The last exercise was designed primarily to familiarize you with parallelism and its many rhythms. Ramsay: he is a self-dramatizing domestic tyrant. Check the key at the end of the chapter to see how D. Rewrite this yourself to break the monotony. of mourning. rather acute. of marriage. EXERCISE 6. for example. did it differently. of accident. sometimes less. H. rather warm. Lawrence handled it. sometimes repeating more. BREATHING SOME LIFE INTO BLAND UNIFORMITY ' Follow the same procedure with the next hulking series. What follows is not just another parallel series. of warfare.EXERCISE 5. of acquisition of r~ligious powers. thoughtlessly parallel series of hesitant adjectives qualified by "rather. Try to think of as many ways as possible by which the rigidity of the structll{es can be altered. EXERCISE 7. but a larger pattern of descriptive contrasts that the author thought would be more effective in a rather loose and casual arrangement than in methodical antitheses contained by austere parallelism. rather contemptible about him.

he is aloof. -Herbert Read. or between either of these and the verb--not so much a proportion of sense. Do this after your practice in reshaping the example. as if from a novel. broken series. yet he is capable of losing himself completely in a novel by Scott. yet he is fearful for his reputation. he is austere. Write a passage of your own now on a character in your favorite novel. yet he thrives on the simple company and fare of humble fishermen. There is a want of proportion between the subject and the predicate. Again we tum to Herbert Read for statement as demonstration: The danger with all long and complex sentences is that they may not balance. of pairing off your ideas into grammatical blocks of sharp and unmistakable rhythms.' yet a::. look at the key at the end of the chapter to see how the author actually wrote it. • EXERCISE 8. . . You should be able to find some easily. fiction or nonfiction." English Prose Style. p. anything else that will make itself available. What kind of subject matter would seem to be at odds with the control. a store front. 1 . But do not simply crank out a made-to-order parallelism. he is petty and selfish. The passage is from an article on Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse.utheless craves the creative contact of wife and children. yet he is optimistic. Or describe a church. for instance. but a proportion of structure. or in writing your own original passage. compounding. you may have discovered for yourself the invaluable services of tight compounding. looking for passages that are not ordered by parallelism and that would be the victims rather than the beneficiaries of any rewriting. be is grim. "The Sentence. or a beach scene. Open a newspaper or a book. a parade or a riot? Paired Constructiom In retrieving some of the previous sentences from their parallel ruts. the devious against the direct. the simple against the complicated. which would result in humour. Employ the techniques you have mastered there for finding and keeping the rhythms you need. 46. or perhaps a thorough description of a lighthouse.a feat not always feasible. Make it seem generated by your ideas themselves. often the selfconscious clarity and precision that parallelism entails? Would a determined frame of parallelism and exact balance tend to be of more assistance in the description of a horseshow or a stampede. Call upon ellipsis. . ~ FINDING AND KEEPING THE RHYTHMS When you have finished the preceding exercise.

What rejoiced his heart was the drama of elemental reality: the clash and the balance. c. scientific. and apolitical. and into the wild and watery. rational. Choose three or four pairs of approximate antonyms from the list of verbs and nouns and adjectives below. one large rhythmic sentence on a subject growing out . practical. -Harry Levin. and look for the originals at the end of the chapter: a. Aziz is continually at war with himself. political. visionary. there lies a deeper purpose. USING PAIRED CONSTRUCTIONS TO DEFINE CONTRAST ' The next excerpts are deliberately jumbled up to spoil the author's intended antitheses and to give you practice in drawing them out for yourself. so strangely compounded. letting any of them suggest others to you.)oat structwal balance and proportion in the sentence. At once superstitious. 46. blasphemy. try some of the balanced rhythms on your own. EXERCISE 10. Read narrows his own grammatical proportions into a more obvious balance as he goes to a neat climax in antithetical pairs. p. April5. the untried and unshored. 1 USING PAIRED CONSTRUCTIONS FOR BALANCED RHYTHM Now. and allowing yourself to move away from straight antithesis into the more arbitrary pairs-of synonyms maybe. beneath the complex of ribaldry. Thus. and tenderness. or of related words. mockery. in company with pairings more arbitrary but equally rhythmic. passionate. Here are some more of these close contrastive patterns. b. See how much you can mold into a single continuous thought. EXERCISE 9. having checked the key against your corrected results. malevolent and destructive. 204. -Monroe Wheeler. "Turner. proceeding as we must from Ught toward dark. Reshape them in order to redefine the contrasts. sentiment. Like nature the whale is paradoxically benign and nourishing." Look. The Power of Blackness. the violence and the evanescence that are evident in the minds and actions of mankind as they are in landscape and seascape. p. aspiration. 1966. it is noteworthy that we start on Christmas Day. notice the difference: Moving from the known to the unknown.

courageous and humane city planning. EXERCISE 11.Frank Greenaway. John Dalton and the Atom. reiterated parallels above and their strong rhetorical force. Model your exercise on the insistent.. fragrant ascetic. -Emily Genauer. or on a looser. debt loquacious. p.:se peus 11 taudam. 1968. laconic elastic. to pulverize honorable. "Skyscraper a Blockbuster of Controversy. 9. LARGER PARALLEL SPANS Stepping back from these tightly drawn pairs and their rapid alternations. Write a paragraph about another pressing and even more general problem in modem life.and should begin to master them. pliable need. we begin to observe larger parallel spans. one more victory for real estate interests to whom human beings are for burrowing. soothe firm. here in a line of participles: John Dalton lived from 1766 to 1844. amity credit. imaginative. 1. if you need them for your parallels. Here is a repeating series of attacks on a supposed architectural affront to life in Manhattan : If that approval is granted. satiety publicity. one more building stuffed into the midtown area already as tight as a jammed-up file. make nouns from verbs. articulate addition. impudence You need not limit yourself to these forms. intemperate discontent. pungent enmity. .d. one more blow against what Breuer himself dismisses as "urbanistic sentimentality. New York will see one more capitulation to what Breuer calls "economic imperatives". living on to see the beginning of the modem concern for science as a responsibility of the makers of public policy." L. but DOtice how some sets gravitate naturally to one given pak rather than another: • ~ sympathy. seclusion stammering. soliloquize aggravate. . disreputable insipid.A. picking up as his first science the vestiges of the 17th-century scientific revolution." but others call intelligent. p. growing up in a part of England which saw the Industrial Revolution changing every man's life.. about the evils of air and water pollution. rigid converse. complacent courtesy. antipathy compensation. not breathing. deduction deodorized. for instance. July 7. Times Calendar. successive development. taxation to strengthen.

he was later to identify the popes with Antichrist. . 4. It is now time to expand on this theme. It may be drained of juice and pounded into fiat phrases. According to Mae West. was addressed to one of the major concerns of modern urban living. its future threat. Vary your grammar as you evaluate your theme. The Almanac lies. vii. an established parallelism is broken at the end for an arresting fix on the climax or main point of the paragraph: According to the Almanac. its present and growing dangers. durable tone in meaning and grammar: The vision of science may go unappreciated. but it is there. Move out from the central subject of pollution to write several paragraphs discussing modem life at large and its problems.Roland H. he was later to shatter the structure of medieval Catholicism. p. "At Home with Mae West. Below a heavy repetition. but it is there. for instance. A loyal son of the Catholic Olurch.Write about the history of pollution. Bainton. 15. such things as the population explosion. 1968. Mae West is 28 years old. EXERCISE 12. For this young man was Martin Luther. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. The man who thus called upon a saint was later to repudiate the cult of the saints. July 14. LARGER PATTERNS Your last assignment. Heavy Repetition Many other parallel arrangements can be employed in putting together a paragraph. It may be reduced by a plodding soul to mere dots on a photographic plate. the sentences on pollution. Abrupt Shift And in the next two passages. p. traffic and other con- . Mae West was born in 1893. . sets the determined." West Magazine. He who vowed to become a monk was later to renounce monasticism. A devoted servant of the pope. From Earth to Heaven. Los Angeles Times.Isaac Asimov. but it is there. -Burt Prelutsky. p. using some of the special sorts of parallelism just looked at -pressing relentlessly at the grammatical repetitions or breaking their patterns for startling emphasis.

EXERCISE 7. EXERCISE 6. 201. perhaps to contrast it with the challenge and exhilaration of modernity. yet optimistic. H . or. political disenchantment. -Ruth Benedict. of mourning. A detached and lonely philosopher. Sons and Lovers. alienation and neurosis. You may want to use "pollution" as a metaphor or a symptom of even broader troubles. 3. arbitrary and antithetical pairs and any larger patterns you can manipulate. now over rapids. violence. and something slightly contemptible about him. compounding. now placidly between broad banks. now fast. with the river of feeling within us registered before us in a syntax now fast and brief. as of a piece of music. If you feel really ambitious. p. its rapid cadence of free modifiers designed to reproduce meaning in grammar.Eric Bentley. as of a novel. austere. -D. In its cascading adverbial series. this is a full-scale example of syntactic symbolism. 103. now debouching into an ocean. of marriage. There is no more important topic in the entire book than parallelism. . anything you think important. now in a torrent between narrow ones. grim. p. is a river of feeling within us which flows. Lawrence. Or consider Mr. poverty. elaborating with rhythm in mind at all times. yet capable of losing himself completely in a novel by Scott. . Ramsay: be is a self-dramatizing domestic tyrant. now down a slope. and something warm. Its development is highlighted in the right-branching diagram on the next page. subordinating. Patterns of Culture. and of accident. and of acquisition and demonstration of religious powers. yet he is also admirable as a lone watcher at the frontiers of human ignorance. you may want to try incorporating a true parallel showpiece like this: • ' The living experience of a play. of warfare. yet fearful for his reputation. and no amount of practice with it can be too much. now slowed and expanded. The Life of the Drama. petty and selfish. There was something rather "doggy. p. KEY EXERCISE 5. now halted by a dam. now slow.gestion. The chief occasions were those of the investiture of an heir. he nevertheless craves the creative contact of wife and children." rather smart. rather acute and shrewd. Use all kinds of parallelism. now cascading in a waterfall. optimistically.

o'~~" .\~c\0. 0ev0 ~0"' WITI:IIN US ~lid-Branche. ~ c:.. ~ ~ IS A RIVER OF FEELING 01jet Bcue ~~\. ~"' ~'b ~~ 0. ~o~$ o\. ~te1:'- .. ~ '3$ Bcue \.q~ \.~"'" c:. ~~\\ ..te.\O~e o. '\)et'~~ee~ ~o'~~ ~ tO~e~t ~o~ \t\ ~.\~ t\o ~$ o\..~ . .. 1$).....\O~ t" .. ~01je\ TilE LIVING EXPERIENCE OF A PLAY 0 "o~o~e• "o1:o~ '\)et'llee~ ~~t1:0~ Right·Branehe• ...._ 0\lc\\i~'b .o~.q~ ~~ "o~teG "o'j \1:\\0 ~t\ ~ t\o'?! t\0 t\o'?! .~\C <>\ece o ~o'?l ~~c"o.

political and apolitical. 241. yet he thrives on the simple company and fare of humble fishermen. passionate and rational. p. nourishing and destructive -Richard Chase. The Cave and the Mountains. pp. Like nature the whale is paradoxically benign and malevolent. b. XXII. The American Novel and Its Tradition. so strangely compounded. a. 64. "The Waters of Annihilation: Double Vision in To the Lighthouse. Vol. -Wilfred Stone. beneath the complex of ribaldry and sentiment. c. there lies a deeper purpose." A Journal of English Literary History. . Thus. p. At once superstitious and scientific. Fabulous Voyager. • EXERCISE 9. p. practical and visionary. Kain. blasphemy and aspiration. 110. EXERCISE 9. mockery and tenderness. EXERCISE 9. Aziz is continually at war with himself. -Norman Friedman.aloof. -Richard M. 319-320.

and whole clauses to be taken up again: This book will not tell you how to die. with important cohesive items in italics.. pp. 123 . No. regular progression in which one thing reminds us of something before and looks forward to something after. They smoke cigars and drink wine occasionally. The first is from Hemingway's introduction to Men at War.. -Arlin Turner. read Carlyle and Fourier. 13-14. So when you have read it you will know that there are no worse things to be gone through than men have been through before. though. Their routine activities are identical. they are reclusive and believe a degree of solitude essential to them. in part because it leaves no energy for literary work. This book will not tell you how to die. how all men from earliest times we know have fought and died. often key words. but loses faith in its future and at times looks sardonically back on his earlier hopefulness. "Introduction. Some cheer-leaders of war can always get out a pamphlet telling the best way to go through that small but necessary business at the end . with a sparser sort of parallelism: Coverdale can be equated with Hawthorne in many conspicuous ways. This book will tell you. then. phrases. in the general sense of an ordered. as are their responses: each takes pride in the physical labor be does but grows weary of it. let us look at two introductions to other books in which obvious parallelism works together with simple repetitions and structures of comparison and contrast to bind together separate strands of meaning.. Both are bachelors and minor authors.Chapter Cohesion There is a sense in which all cohesion is a kind of parallelism." The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each first expects to live permanently in the community. Here is our second introduction. and have special fondness for fireplaces. As an introduction to this chapter.

. have transformed the character of daily life in the present. It is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1944 called "man's coming of age. The Secular City. Manned space ships orbit the earth. • TOPIC SENTENCE TO ORGANIZE THE PARAGRAPH Did you find yourself. Atomic-powered submarines travel under the polar ice cap." the discovery by man that he has been left with the world on his hands. survey of the ensuing pages in a series of parallels and contrasts that fit • neatly together. pp. What is secularization? The Dutch theologian C. and will determine in large measure the shape of the future. It represents what another observer has called the "defatalization of history. pp. / EXERCISE 2. products of human ingenuity. the history of Italian cinema. predeterminiiig a certain degree of cohesion : We live in an era of great inventions. Begin a prologue or introduction to this imagined volume with several coherent sentences. van Peursen says it is the deliverance of man "first from religious and then from metaphysical control over his reason and his language. the breaking of all supernatural myths and sacred symbols. employing a traditional topic sentence? A brief one. the biography of a statesman or inventor. catchy and to the point? Below are near-kernels in this capacity. on bridge or Wagnerian opera.EXERCISE I. 3-4. in Exercise 1. the animated cartoon." It is the loosing of the world from religious and quasi-religious understandings of itself. sketching your method and the ground you wish to cover. on gardening or football. twentieth-century fashion design. giving a brief ·. PARALLELS AND CONTRAST FOR COHESION Imagine yourself the author of a nonfiction book on some favorite subject of yours. 1-2. the dispelling of all closed world views. the history of aviation.Irving Adler. Secularization is man turning his attention away from worlds beyond and toward this world and this time (saeculum = "this present age"). A New Look at Arithmetic. one declarative and the other interrogative. and rockets travel to the moon. that he can no longer blame fortune or the future for what he does with it. cooking or statistical analysis. These inventions. stating and asking in ways that organize the rest of the paragraph in advance. Television sets bring distant scenes into our living rooms. A. landscape painting. ." -Harvey Cox.

Begin with an equative clause of definition. Our admiration for his genius is tempered by a certain disapproval. For the second. science is a branch of literature. the second contracting its repetitions to a single word: The obligation to follow proper procedures. the acceptance of limits. REITERATION OF TOPIC SENTENCE Next is a pure equative kernel as opener. write about any characteristic of our era that interests you. or one about art-as "discovery. -Aldous Huxley. yes. the limits. then reiterated and confirmed halfway through the paragraph--each time followed by a substantial qualification. ask about spiritualization or colonization or socialization. The procedures. and left the world in ignorance of his most important discoveries. it would be without fruit. In one of its aspects. about drug culture." Science is investigation." EXERCISE 4. The Olive Tree. a paragraph entered through such a declarative topic kernel as "We live in an era of " and a paragraph with an interrogative form as opener. another about science. and no less essentially. But all communication is literature. space travel. Science is investigation. overpopulation. either elaborations or answers. and the conviction that power was to serve desirable ends have formed a triangular configuration of forces within which the increase or decrease of liberty may be assessed." as "liberation. perhaps even closing out with a revision of your topic kernel as in the last main clause above. whether through the coercive instruments of government or otherwise. add to the paragraph just created one modeled on either of those that follow. EXERCISE 3. and the ends . l j RECAPITULATION OF KEY TERMS On this same subject. In the first. and useless.one of each. as signaled by the contrastive conjunction "but. communication. we feel that such a man is selfish and antisocial. But if it were only investigation." as "exploration. Henry Cavendish investigated for the mere fun of the thing." as "revelation. the first telescoping its recapitulation of key terms in series. p. say. But it is also. Model a paragraph of yours roughly on this example. 56. then. each followed by parallel developments. The ultimate criterion is the capacity of men to act.

And adverbs (Chapter 5) especially. p. 75. So do adjectives (Chapter 5). this chapter is perfectly situated for a wholesale review of the topics that precede it.Timothy Houghton. Beyond either end of the valley there was the faint. Some. if they wish. pp. You have already recruited kernels and near-kernels (Chapter 2) for topic sentences. 435 . dark belted pines climbed toward the sky. Some find strength in the conviction that there is nothing to see. The Dimensions of Liberty. p. 88. becoming a line along the valley floor and finally disappearing in the distance. To the right. mobility. are particularly useful in leading us through large portions of material: In front of them was the central valley. A. Some remember that they saw it once but have lost it. LOCATIONAL AND TEMPORAL ADVERBIALS AS ESCORTS THROUGH A PARAGRAPH Escort us with adverbial material through some varied space. and should. a syntactic occurrence in which every grammatical feature studied so far can participate. Some are certain they see it Some see what they have been told to see. -Oscar and Mary Handlin.of their use of power are measures of the extent to which the state expands their capabilities while still leaving them able to act. Across the valley. through other means. Some are strengthened by seeing a pattern wherein the oppressed and the exploited of the earth are gradually emerging from their bondage. Review of Preceding Topics in Relation to Cohesion Coming as it does just before the end of the volume. Noun phrases and verb phrases (Chapters 3 and 4) often figure in parallel developments. cheap hotel room to a rendering of earth's position in the solar system and organized space .76. -Thornton Wilder. the clustered lights of the village spread thinner. and directional force. . with their variety. The First Season. EXERCISE 5. far glow of lights from larger towns. The Eighth Day. anything from the close-at-hand description of a claustrophobic. And cohesion is the perfect subject for such a review. another sprawling landscape or the social arena of a large cocktail party. • • • There is much talk of a design in the arras. on the next mountain.

beyood. EXERCISE 6. international espionage. as you can see. From where you stood. Tomo"ow it would be their tum. the part played by prepositions (Chapter 6) in defining adverbial phrases is quite important. and then three more. a youth commune. came the sharp. 255. as in the sample: Now. "Bombing of Tortosa. was gone. but without contradiction or negation. 288. For death at the hunt's end did not destroy. it was only an exchange of fleeting flesh amid life's pennanency. as they were out of sight.289. and from now on. well protected. all the dress rehearsal quality of before the battle. or a modulation between the two. all the walking around. With that sound. waiting stolidly. The Sparrow's Fall. a political campaign. and the new being stirred again under Jacob's hand-this death and living. The boys who had dug shelters for their heads behind the railway bank were right. a novel about freedom fighters or the Peace Corps. See if you can miX your locational adverbs with temporal ones. a warp and woof of the same inseparable cloth." By-Line: Ernest Hemingway. filling the tent with its savory fragrance. you could see them. . you saw another man come slipping through the green trees on the other bank. Cohesion by Means of Conjunctions More important yet is the work of conjunctions and coordination (Chapter 7) in bringing loose but assured cohesion within and between the segments of a paragraph: But he did know that he was hearing again the arrow's thud in the helpless flesh. and now he was bearing without pain. Now it is time to write the concluding paragraphs to an imaginary work of fiction. WRITING A CONCLUSION You began this set of exercises formulating an introduction to an imaginary volume of nonfiction. by William White. theirs was the business. Then. ed. or a prophetic fable of space colonization. Either the adverbial or the conjunctive development. . p. as you watched. For that was the thing the gods had made. sudden close clatter of_ machine guns. -Fred Bodsworth.Hemingway. piracy in the air. In this respect. life in Iowa or in Hollywood or on Madison Avenue. pp. suddenly. And the fleeting flesh murmured in the stewpot on the stove.

45. 9. here to highlight the contrast between "home" and "peripheral": But politics was now peripheral. of course. timeless peace of the great mosshung oaks. Van Deusen. joy is brought into man's suffering. which holds till near the end of the first sentence the subject "joy. in their treatment of dependent clauses. we see that Chapters 8. The next excerpt shows a similar motive behind the choice of a leftbranching arrangement. and · (2) in certain special types of linkage practiced already with inversions: pivotal cohesion of quick. sentence openers and inversion. The Fugitive Poets. p. cohesion would certainly have suffered. where mankind is hard at work changing everything within sight or sound.. William Henry Seward. 13. -William Pratt. One is a machine. child of modern times. Progress. p. could have been a dependent clause working for the same effect.should suit your work as it draws itself neatly and sturdily to conclusion. This joy becomes many times greater in Warren's most recent masterpiece . hingelike movements out of one sentence and . feed into the study of cohesion in two major ways: (1) In parallelism. Lillard. and the branching patterns of free modification. Eden in Jeopardy. and the eternal. Even closer to its renewal in a second sentence is the predicate-noun phrase "two mighty symbols" in the passage below. the bulldozer. p. Following is a sample of inversion that brings closer together • the phrases best designed for cohesive transition between the sentences. Use both techniques in two or three final paragraphs. there are two mighty symbols. Closer at home was an active social life. 557. -Richard G. More Review In returning to our review. The other is a word.. into another. 1 1 l . and 10. as we have already seen. father of the future. carrying us immediately into their designation in the two following sentences: In this teeming land." quickly reiterated with a demonstrative at the start of the next sentence: Through the vivid contrast between the flight of man down the long corridors of time. -Glyndon G. If the left-branches were transplanted to the right of the lead sentence in either of the last two passages. Either branch.

you will find elements of sentence structure working well for you that you had never dreamed available-working well. committed-for an entire passage. already practiced with the interrogative. Inte"ogative. like any other syntactic unit. EXERCISE 8. can unify by parallelism. immediate transitions. appositives (Chapter 11). Continuing the Review . and exclamatory transformations (Chapter 12) can set the tone-personal. This is not to mention their ability to work well in parallel sequences or to focus an entire paragraph as a topic sentence. in balanced alignments running from small two." using the leftbranching dependent clause to hold for your main clause something that will adhere tightly to a second sentence. start a sentence with the subordinator "though. especially. you may use some part of a right-branch carried over to a second sentence. p. . or about political exiles or high-risk financial dealings. Achieve cohesion in the first by some kind of strategic inversion and in the second by a rightbranching arrangement. 128).and three-part modules to major syntactic spans. and working together-for cohesion. LEFT-BRANCHING TO DELAY A LINK Instead of the preposition "through" (in William Pratt's sentence. And finally. or use a right-branching pattern in the second sentence in order to lceep your subject near to its first mention in a previous sentence. as you come suddenly into real control over the capacities of prose rhythm. and they can also be moved around like the branching patterns just studied for fast.EXERCISE 7. To continue with our review of cohesive possibilities. PRACTICE WITH TWO TECHNIQUES FOR COHESION: STRATEGIC INVERSION AND A RIGHT-BRANCHING LINK Write two passages of your own about fugitives. thus unifying it emotionally. the concept of parallelism (Chapter 14) needs no further argument as a contributor to cohesion. As you learn to build up and brace your sentences. The second half of the assignment. or about jeopardy. and buttress the natural shape of your ideas with parallel members. direct. imperative. its stress and counterpoise. will take some thought about which element is to provide a link. Use Pratt's sentence as a model. This time write either about Eden or about poets.

Whatever you • choose. if it bas them. perhaps your hometown. Or write about a candidate for a local election. take on an assignment as a journalist and write a by-line or feature article. Then organize them coherently. A seashell. a path. a mandolin. a hummingbird. and record your observations. the contents of a medicine cabinet. and from the person to an action or an event. Examine it. moving (if you wish) toward a central impression or focus. an unmade bed. Experiment with all types of cohesion. a field. or the local choice for Man or Woman of the Year. and which to a newspaper feature story. Some other suggestions as to subject: a stream. a bubbling pot of chili. Develop out from it a context. a flower. in some kind of pattern. observe it carefully.• EXERCISE 9. experience it. incorporating sense data at hand. reporting on some aspect of the physical and cultural growth of a city with which you are familiar. a saber saw. Describe the sight and feel of a nearby object or scene. taste. its smell. deciding for yourself which types seem more appropriate to a piece of short fiction. You may find that you are on the way to a short story. begin by writing a close descriptive sketch. a telephone booth. even its sounds. or the panorama outside your window. If you prefer. or of a refrigerator. and jot down the data your senses offer. a trash can. You might try moving from the thing you are describing to a person. a carpet. possibly a narrative. instead of working up a description and proceeding into narration. A LONGER ASSIGNMENT In this exercise. open your senses to what is there. a poster. an alley. or a tree will do. ! .

521 . as Schopenhauer launches an attack on jerky. an essential condition of grammar as style." as we bear suddenly about suddenness: ! Consider an ambiguous utterance: I dislike playing cards. . of meaning not only held in content but mirrored in structure. "On Style. I. Below. wherever it is possible-breaking up one phrase in order to glue in another. We hear this sentence. Here content is itself about structure. for example. ed.1." Psycbolinguistic Papers. Lyons and R. Listen to this sentence about "bearing sentences. "rule and example" are again simultaneous. -Arthur Schopenhauer. Thorne. Wales.this is syntax affecting us as sequence.Chapter Syntactic Symbolism: Grammar as Analogue The sentence below is an unusually clear-cut sample of grammar as demonstration. P. p. Not the spotty black-andwhite areas blocked out before us on a page. but those individual units we come to one after another as words." The Works of Schopenhauer. p. phrases. clauses silently pronounced or read aloud. in particular. 5. "On Hearing Sentences. you will hear it first as one sentence. The sentence breaks itself up to display the sort of interruptions it criticizes. that is the point. then as another--suddenly. Encouraged to take it as an example of an ambiguous utterance (which means. But when grammar as style refines itself bact in the direction of 131 . It is grammar as the organization of related verbal actions not exactly the same as the sequence ol meanings they convey. quasi-parenthetical interruptions in modern prose style: It consists in-it is advisable to give rule and example. by J. not being given any context for it).

. but the march and time of the whole. "The Complete Thought Called a Sentence. and climaxes. etc. words suggestive of music.. retards and crescendos.. At one remove... with not only the rhythm of the single words and phrases... words measured.. Johnson in his "Life of Alexander .. The sentence is a tune. marching to a perfectly realized tune capable of staccato passages.- r • • .~ - -. and into music with words.. we meet a sophisticated and oblique form of meaning in which apparent meaning is a metaphor for something else. '"'• • • 1. or of the sheer character of the fostering of parental emotion. This is the last refinement in the gen• eral art of sentence making. p._ II._.. Now sentence making is a wonderful art.. f. whether history or essay or fiction or conversation or argument. or an impression that is emotive.... { modulations of all kinds. and finally into words with a vague adumbration of music. words measured into meaning and rhythm.. preparations. It is grammar as enactment...l .. even complexities approaching counterpoint. -Ezra Pound. Grammar acts out meaning. .. as we know it in novels and poems.. and it is rhythmic.. actually plays out with powerful correspondence the drama of meaning. or a sensation and its derivative emotions. and you develop into the dance and into music.....- ~ .. from the action of syntax as a structural metaphor for the described action. It is read.. For people of literary sensibility (you and me) every piece of prose... . its expectations. The poetic or metrical version of the "symbolic" effects we are discussing was treated skeptically by Dr.lt.. In ordinary semantic symbolism. etc. I"'"· ~- I _. uThe Serious Artist.. The same sort of musical analogy appears in a discussion by Ezra Pound that comes very close to a description of syntactic symbolism: You wish to communicate ari idea and its concomitant emotions.~. lyrics and music..... -.. p. using its rhythms as reproductions of content. Words "in a rhythm that preserves some accurate trait of the emotive impression" are indeed the ingredients of a "symbolic" grammar. and finally into words with music." Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. 65. This is syntactic symbolism. runs as a sort of tune. -~.. waits... You begin with the yeowl and the bark..." How to Write.. -Stephen Leacock. or an emotion and its concomitant ideas. ing. 51... We are talking about what happens when the dr~a of syntax.. or words in a rhythm that preserves some accurate trait of the emotive impression.. etc. This is what we mean by syntactic symbolism. a composition of sounds registering in a row. syntactic symbolism results from grammar as an analogue of meaning.

At best. and reasonably cautious. p. But it is also important to remember that nearly the same grammatical patterns can convey very nearly opposite impressions-with the same sense of rightness. or at least keep the two in mind together. to work backward from content. if a reader is searching for symbolic effects. Just as it is the essence of our whole argument here about grammar's contribution to style. in the pages that follow and in the full-scale treatment in Grammar as Style. simply the way we read. grammar as action. What syntax can simulate are actions or movements associated with these nouns: the precipitant flight or easy soaring of the bird. For this is. or the splinterings of a full moon's reflected image on a disturbed pool. the building.. his talk about a verbal encounter bringing us to an exactly . The simplest forms of syntactic symbolism capitalize on the limits of a sentence by starting or stopping one with imitative precision. to everyone's satisfaction. you might find yourself inclined to give these very examples a try as topics for your own "symbolic" productions. then. meter and meaning] the mind often governs the ear.Pope" under the name of "representative meter. Indeed. After working through this chapter. may be in some sort exemplified" (II. becomes grammar as action. John Holloway. after all. Even Dr. A complex and intrepid version stands as our first example. even inevitability." He suspects "that in such resemblances [between sound and sense. the beautiful contours of an aria. every sentence has an opening and a close. this is the natural direction of analysis in studying such effects. reading activates the latent motion of a sentence to make "symbolic" impressions possible. Enough qualification. for example. it is a matter of personal judgment as to which effects are truly "symbolic" and which boast a grammar merely appropriate to meaning. the action of syntax evokes a sensation of the action it describes. below. p. 219) . Syntax as sequence. or a soprano or melancholy or a sea-swell or a moon. we must always look back at grammar from the vantage of meaning. iore particularly. And so there is an easy way to begin. This is a fine distinction. To this extent. His remarks could be altered to fit our controlling notion of syntax as sequence. In the experience of ordinary semantic symbolism. In syntactic symbolism. Every motion starts and stops. Johnson admits that "Motion . we can only try to be reasonable in our claims. the slow gestures of sadness. impossible to observe at all times. crashing. meaning evokes a sense of other meaning. and the sounds are estimated by their meaning" (II. True enough. when traversed. the motion of a read sentence from left to right is the raw material for the crafting of any representational syntax. 219) . and dying of an ocean wave. and this is an important specification. yet it may well seem artificial at times. not merely to poetry as statement. there is a tendency to read in the correspondences. No syntax can represent a blue jay.. advocates our attention to poetry as action.

branch. not a word sooner or later. or again of irresistibly completing something that it has begun. it is here. of encountering all the detail of its innermost movementhow it pauses. then poetry of this kind (for her there is no other kind) presents human feelings as they are born. In mentioning the "innermost movement" of a sentence and in giving examples of it. has children. 47. bow it offers us a sense of the unexpected. "Poem as Statement. coalesce. a value clarified or affirmed: instead of reading it through. p. marries. first in a row of compound predicates." The English Novel: Form and Function. writing perhaps about a last-second victory in the hundred-yard dash. of ending just as its self-appointed task is done. taking us through the main line of a novel from beginning to end with planned simplification: The rape is in the offing. it is at hand. moves again. -Dorothy Van Ghent. retards. Mr. ARTICULATING THE ENERGY Use syntax in this way to articulate the energy of your own sentences. in each a syntactic span simulating the arc of an entire life-span. and dies. sub-divide. in the measured course and finish of his own sentence: • We judge the poem by what we can take away from it-a vivid sense of the object. Langor is right. p. 391. -John Holloway. j Two more examples follow. 92 ." The Colours of Oarity. 1 . how it spreads out or 'j narrows down. and die away. EXERCISE I. p. Oarissa sickens and dies. an obvious case in point. dwindle. then in the serial verbs of a subordinate clause: He is born. -Robert Payne. "On Oarissa Harlowe. p. suffers the same defeats which afflict his contemporaries. quarrels with his fellows. Articulate Energy. notice below the serial arrangement of entire clauses in abutting or paratactic arrangement. For another such example. The Christian Centuries. as he brings his own example to its appointed close. hurries. and that is all. goes to school. it is over. develop.mcd o:mcrosion and bn::at:ing off "not a word sooner or later" finds a "symbolic" example. the l . 85. gather momentum. -Donald Davie. Holloway manages to summarize many of the possible 1 "symbolic" effects we will be practicing. Poem as Action. If Mrs.

ever so gradually. p. its lulls and fulfillments.thrilling curve of a hom~run ball. its compli~tion held off dramatically as it renders the vocal per' formance in planned cadences dropping off at exactly the right moment: The big studio audience is rapt. holding \· them and then moving on. eyes-closed. "The room was dark. into a throbbing. stripping the brass from it before she lets it fall.E. a housewife. a spark came. hurrying up ironically over indifr ferent periods. Get as much variety as you can into your l syntactic shapes. Though she does not acl::nowtec:i. I Notice that pace and acceleration were just mentioned as impressicms grammar can and should render. Forster. . Shirley Jackson's advice to writers is grammatically onented.eoe i! as such. the busy day of a student. whkh snaps to conclusion like the strangeness of the descn'bed morning: And as it ended. I 61. Here. silent as Barbra Streisand softens and rounds the long-held note. the furniture invisible. mging exactly what we mean by syntactic symbolism: I And if you want your reader to go faster and faster make yoar writing go faster and faster." Life. as they sat up in the gloom and prepared to enter ordinary life. or the life history of some fictional ~ character. M. you will discover the importance of a well-chosen mrun clause to work your way into or out from. 1966. CHANGING SPEEDS Using somewhere the dramatizing effect of piled adjectives seen at the end of the last sample. EXERCISE 2. dependent clauses draw us along into the main clause. Work with different speeds. some small hidden precious casket of light bmied deep me darkness of the room. Time carefully your start and finish . in a left-branching sentence. p . if you can. suddenly the long drawn strangeness of the morning snapped. 96. March 18.. stretch over two or three complicated sentences the stages to date of your own autobiography. and match them to meaning wherever possible. roller-coaster drop-off. its highs and lows. pausing over and savoring important moments. moving in mad colored an ks . The door was shut and Jet ftom SOI:rewhere. The representational grammar of the next excerpt is kept for a rightbr anch. -Diana Lurie. Ibe ~ete shaded. "The Tears of Barbra Streisand. A Passage to India. or an executive. If you choose to try out a subordinate clause or some other dependent or free-branching pattern.

then fitful music leaping. • Another shuttle came in. and longer and-chains are among them. in his book Style. The press on the wooden platforms grew.1' eration of the second: ' Its tone changes with kaleidoscopic rapidity-from irony to pathos to ridicule to poetry. I j Study the momentum of these additional passage&. and frustration: I· I r The subway pulled in to Times Square. the striking accel. V. parallelism and strategic ellipsis. along with an air of discomfort. Bodies milled in the brown lift. increasingly passionate • and swift-first slow waves." where rhythm is "made to suit the sense. 29. where • parataxis in clause and phrase is especially important in reproducing the sense of abruptness. disgorged passengers. in one paragraph from the end of his book. wellplaced kernels.) --Shirley Jackson. . this is an example. and wholly unnecessary.Thomas Pynchon. even the interest of "imitative passages. took more on. key participial activity." Come Along with Me. Kain. shut up its doors and shrieked away down the tunnel. p. closed. 273. "Notes for a Young Writer.Richard M . opened. Fabulous Voyager. abutting paratactic clauses. It was lunch hour. hurry. She does not herself name or analyze the devices that accelerate~ her example. The subway station began to buzz. then flames. on a different track." Nevertheless. a loudspeaker announced shuttles. shares with Samuel Johnson a tendency to discount the frequency. 241 . 240. . going things. p. once at the end in a sprung series. Lucas writes a sentence whose syntactic doublings could have no other motivation than to simulate increase and acceleration: . Below is another example. F. and be prepared to employ them in similar ways yourself. suffocation. fill with human noise and motion. not a model. The English Novel : Form and Function. paired constructions. L. . • Tourists were coming back in droves. was gone. hunger. uneasy bladders. this time a full-fledged model.up and down. p. around and in and out and over and under and lighting up everything it saw. Lucas.Dorothy Van Ghent.." (Those adjectives are unspeakable in every sense of the word. then racing creatures. adjective piling. The first shuttle returned. p . Another train arrived. Notice especially the ingenious use of participles in the last example. I I The imagery is that of mobile.

. about the accelerating rate of our population explosion. who showed us an accelerating passage awhile back. about the thunderous lift of an Apollo rocket from the launch pad and its incredible gains in speed. • about the rapid growth of the United States inland from the seaboard ] colonies.aster and faster. "Mt!thods of Writing. about the rise to fame of a politician. Use tight pairings and longer abutting units. longer and smoother developments. Even a brief ejaculative fragment or two can symbolize the release of pent energy into motion: I . Combine accelerations capsuled in a single sentence with some requiring larger explanation. 'ow. Mix sentences hurried along by fits and starts. writing about an exhausted sluimp day or the retarding tempo of a flamboyant party as T'. about a skier getting up momentum as he goes downhill._ tardy leave. a dictator. but we can still use what we learn from her narrowing to a repea:ed monosyllable as . with . EXERCISE 4. Come Along \\ith Me. p. EXERCISE 3. Run.. or the first scattered beginnings and mounting tensions of a riot or revolution. one closing in on a fragmented grammar of repetition not unlike the rapid sample above: After a wild rush of water and noise the fountain was at last turned off and the water was gone. the rising groan and growing speed of cars on the track. now offers. Rabbit. Ah: runs. he runs. I I. L. a superstar.Uke a gigantic snowball. his heels hitting heavily on the pavement at first but with an effortless gathering out of a kind of sweet panic growing lighter and quicker and quieter. part of our training in the construction of deceletanng seutenoes. larger and larger. Sryle. 286. in little elliptical pieces. SLOWING DOW!\ Produce your own "symbolic" accounts of slowil:l2 tion or aftermath. ow. -F. 241. as a slowed sample. • J• His hands lift of their own and he feels the wind on his ears even before. science hurtles wilh us all into the unknown. Only one drop hung poised and then fell. Vary and experiment. . il rang. We may be more easily convinced by her fast-mming passage. SPEEDING UP Try speeding up some sentences of your own in this way. --Shirley Jackson. Shirley Jackson.lohn Updike. p. Write about a stock-car race. about a stomach-turning roller-('1)3ster ride relaxa~=s:s a hard rake their a Ion~- . and fell with a small musical touch. f. closing lines. Lucas. Runs.

it ate food. length1 •lllil• . of a rrwnanric heroine gradually succumbing to a broken ur'd "iJGr pammar as an analogue of meaning in as many dif~. with an appositional grammar · appearing to fall off. To the L ighthouse..a ftaghter after an arduous Atlantic w•• al landiag of a t. p. to wither away: 1 • The bugle's voice unfurled. . changing your conjunctive patterns. -Cynthia Ozick. the last descent subsidence of flood waters in a ravaged valley. 2. alternately. of erosion I• ! l • 1 . It was alive and it was life. fell. 224.aubs you can concoct. shivered. forgotten. grammar seems to diminish. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. p. covering the monuments and the mountain tops. narrow. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.ranspon helicopter. It was all dry: all withered: all spent. increase and decrease are readily available for symbolic representation. EXERCISE 5. See what different • • . your phrases. p. Below. In contexts other than accelerated or slowed motion. 22. petbaps repeated. covering the grass and shrubs. -Virginia Woolf. p.James Joyce.. I • i Here are two more decreasing samples. dwelt on. a tiny soul : his. lost. The Magic Animal. p. Trust. closing toward a single lied wocd. and can be most striking. INCREASING OR DECREASING Approximate in some syntax of increase or decrease the marked stages of construction on a major skyscraper or the effects of weather. It had being.s can ~ise. The end: black cold void waste. flicker out--only to ' be punctuated by four ominous monosyllables: One soul was lost.. or. left final. It flickered once · and went out. 117. it divided and so reproduced. covering the trees and houses. -Philip Wylie. 141. And here the gradual rise in flood level is portrayed in the distinct incremental grammar of a participial right-branch: The water would rise inch by inch. A widening syntax in the next passage spreads out in the second I' sentence to render the production and reproduction of first life: The hundreds of millions of years passed and one day a special cell emerged in the pungent broths of the ocean or a lake. -James Joyce.

A Separate Peace.• S!l 2 Scaets of Style. -Henry Bett. a self-conscious preoccupation with the word "beyond" even before it gets repeated in a paratactic rising away at the end of the sentence: Then my eyes fell on the bound and cast white mass pointing at me and as it was always to do.. of invention. Fallen. down again as I had fallen after awakening that rooming. to the facts. "Position and Empharis.pe... as if to imply that the fallen mooarch would never rise again (however true that might be). in the second excerpt. The first excerpt is actually a close reading of a symbolic or representational effect in Dryden's poem Alexander's Feast: He sung of Darius great and good. . and. the accumulation of a fortune in business ventures and speculations. . fallen. down to reality. p. or the loss of pride and self-respect in a humiliating love affair. p. from his high estate. And weltering in his blood.elalion is coofinned by the detail that probably everyone instinctM=Iy neds tbc wouls with a falling emphasis. as if the mind's eye sus him fallen. here is a descent to harsh reality stressed in a strongly cadenced and repetitive right-branch. Lost in the Funhouse. it sounded of flight. it soared. Once again. beyond. That intea.I' ' < I ' 1 on the face of the land. and fallen lower. until at last be lies upon the ground weltering in his own blood. pp. 107-108.John Barth. aloft to the stars. . The commenta~or's own similar cadence repealS Dtjdca"' iF a participle in increments of heavier. in yet another pair of samples. an ac- . fallen. -John Knowles. in the van of his admirers it bore him transfigured from the hall. It rose. Here it seems to me that the suggestion is not so much that of emphasis and finality. 47. down and beyond are the implied directional signals in a reduplicating grammar of fall and passage. 153. For another pair of contrasting models. and fallen still lower. fallen. In oar IKCI 1 e. of vaulting aspiration. it sang. it brought me down out of Finny's world. Now brass and strings together played a recessional very nearly too sublime for mortal ears: like the word beyond. beyond East Dorset. but rather of the depth of the fall from his high estate. By too severe a fate Fallen. . larger iterations.

smooth rapidity: The lnm came on with a clatter. Another blast from the whistle. of buildings and • vegetation. perhaps. and it seemed to soar into the dusk beyond and above them forever. the rushing past of nearby signposts and signals. billboards and j telephone poles. with a noise. try registering in several sentences the different speeds of passing in a landscape as it moves through your field of vision at a train window. "Fall'' I need not appear in any strict way-just devise a falling rhythm. -William Styron. and the minor shifts in those nearly fixed points at the horizon and beyond. pantactic tmits hurry on and away. REPETITIONS TO SET THE RHYTHM Did you notice repetition coming to your aid in the last assignment. l l . shaping in grammatical replica · the fall of an industrial firm from international eminence or a Wedgwood vase from a parlor mantel. or the soft fall of snowflakes on a frozen pond._. • DESCENT OR PASSAGE Produce your own brief "stories" of descent or passage. a gigantic sound. the clamping down of 'I the law on a narcotics peddler. p. EXERCISE 8. its breakthroughs and its failures .. the oncoming night.-with _. are eas~ to managr and manipulate. Lie Down in Darkness. the foaming currents of a stormy river as it carries a small boat away from the dock and quickly downstream.. as it turns into the next. 382. I EXERCISE 6. the slow sweep of shapes and colors. the elegant descent of an heiress down her .. the events of a decade or a century. grand staircase. modeling them on either of the last paired samples. as you write about the fleeting figures of a daydream slipping away. the descent of divine grace and aid to a medieval saint or the decline of religion in modern Europe. And then an even. With these additional samples behind you. in the middle distance. progressing rhythm for your second exercise. like the clatter of the 1 opening of everlasting gates and doors-passed swiftly on-toward Richmond. EXERCISE 7. the North. THE PASSING SCENE If you feel really ambitious. as it did to set different rhythms in many of the last samples? Straight repetith-e rhythms. a roar. with their simpler and more immediate suggestions. ready for a workout in a whole battery of symbolic effects.

it is to them a normal powtb ~ tbe eacaual jun&le. in portrayals of increase and decline. a green water flowed over them. any of these employing local repetitive effects. smaller.. orbits in the spatial void while power ebbs and life leaks away in slow suffocation. smiled.anything lending itself to dramatic repetitions. 1967. • j Death could have come in any number of bizarre ways . --C. ll -Ross Lockridge. -E.. February 3. 561. orbits. houses treu.. Abruptly a block of buildings thrust them from • VJeW. fading into repetitions and recapitulation. they slipped backward. p.. we will close with a look at abruptness and interruption. birds. p. Jr. p. the boring. Write about the methodical. descent and rise. which alternately produces housu treu. To break off abruptly and arbitrarily enough with one last type of "symbolic" presentation.. with his eyes on the ceiling. in the coffins of a malfunctioning craft unable to descend that orbits. Forster. Far more are examined in the last chapter of Grammar as Style. the regular and predictable. the stable and reassuring.Bats. we are doing little more than scratch the surface in the almost unlimited realm of imitative effects. A Passage to India. M.. their faces became indistinct.. in accelerated and retarded gram[ mar. First a rapid paratactic sequence. wept. He was walking three steps backwards and three steps forwards along the gangway which connected the benches. still only a smattering. Raintree Couaty. The Search. Giovanni's Room. o I ioiiWB a boar as out. the routine. p. A second example again jars its own progress widl die wcad ""abcupt"' itseH: The pavements were slick with leavinp. Three quick steps and turn and three quick steps and turn. intD:OU wil a_. . -Time. ~ tt"41eo leaves. fruit and vegetables which had mr._ . -lames Baldwin. flowers. 13. is jolted by the sharp start of the second sentence: j They waved. Snow. their forms were smaller. still waving. So far we have watched motion or similar developments reproduced in syntax begun and ended exactly in time with meaning. P. rats.t utural and slow. In all this practice. or abrupt. 35. 38.