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blogging on the installment plan (there IS a part 2)

last night i tried twice to post a little ode to the 'style' book, and my internet kept cutting out after i'd composed the post...maybe fate was trying to stop me from complimenting joseph williams?

but seriously, that book is growing on me. i've found it creeping into my sessions, either by helping me figure out why a consultees' ideas are confusing, or by giving me some very managable, sentence-level tips to share with students who are concerned with their clarity. i just got done with a student who point blank asked me how she could write concise sentences.

our posts this week seem to center a lot around stories of being flexible and willing to try different strategies. williams has provided some useful ones...we never talk about 'style,' so i was just curious-- does everyone still hate it (excluding john, of course, who wants to buy williams a drink)?

Comments

I like the style book. but not just anyone can benefit from it obviously. I have had moments when I'm not sure whats wrong and when I read it in the text I see it addressed systematically with ideas I can use.

I am steadfast in my hatred of Style. In particular, I wanted to point out from today's reading: "And no less important, the opening sentecne prepares us to notice those themes by emphasizing them at the end of its opening sentence" (74). I also disagree with his examples of commenly-paired but repetitious words; hope and trust, any and all, first and foremost all mean different things (78). His examples of redundant categories bother me as well: of a bright color and area of mathematics (79)? Something can be bright in other categories than color. And there are areas of mathematics... I just don't get it! Finally, I just think that most of his sentence examples sound stupid. If your whole paper was full of sentences such as "We should consider each suggestion," "If you finish early, contact this office, or "Before training ends, apply for your license" your writing will sound too simple! I guess my point is just that writing is a craft which cannot be explained in ten simple lessons. I might-- sins of sins!-- burn this book at the end of this course.

I think the thing I like most about Style is simply that it forces me to think about all kinds of things I'd normally never consider. There are various things he says that I agree or disagree with, but it does get my brain working. (Plus, it helps that the agreeable parts outweigh the disagreeable ones.)