Friday, September 6, 2019

"First You Write A Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing … and Life" by Professor Joe Moran

Here's a new, general interest book on writing by Joe Moran, a professor of English at Liverpool John Moores University, which today was very favorably reviewed by the New York Times. Want to know how to better craft your sentences so the words slide down the reader's gullet like a clam?  Want tips for improving the rhythm, organization, and syntax of your sentences? Then you should pick up a copy of Professor Moores' book which can be purchased here. First, though, an excerpt from Brian Dillon's lively review in the NYT

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Moran is a professor of English at Liverpool John Moores University; he sounds like a drolly exacting teacher. Like most authors who wish to make writers of their readers, he spends part of his lesson telling us what not to do. He mocks the sclerotic nounifying of English — “website content delivery platform” — and the way verbs and simple nouns become solid, pompous nominalizations such as “temporality” and “positionality.” He laments the prepositional evasions in academic and managerial writing: all those “notions of” and “issues surrounding.” But Moran’s advice is chiefly positive. He is especially good on rhythm, syntax and structure. In English prose, an urging motion is all; Moran quotes the music critic Ian Penman, who calls rhythm “the whisper of unremitting demand.” Attend to your writing’s metrical satisfactions, keep the clauses short (which means you may have as many as you like) and vary your sentence lengths — your reader will want to hear and know more.

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Continue reading the review of "First Your Write A Sentence" here.


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