It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences

Paperback $14.00

Ten Speed Press | Jul 27, 2010 | 224 Pages | 5 x 7 | ISBN 9781580087407

  • Paperback$14.00

    Ten Speed Press | Jul 27, 2010 | 224 Pages | 5 x 7 | ISBN 9781580087407

  • Ebook$11.99

    Ten Speed Press | Jul 27, 2010 | 224 Pages | ISBN 9781580083782

Praise

“an editor and grammar columnist’s funny but no-nonsense guide to better writing.” —St. Petersburg Times

“Great writing starts with strong sentences. This is your guidebook to mastering the art.”
—DONALD MAASS, literary agent and author of The Fire in Fiction
 
“June mixes sassy fun with practical advice. You’ll laugh all the way to writing better.”
—MIGNON FOGARTY, author of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
  
It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences is that incredibly rare breed of book: a guide to grammar and style that is simultaneously smart, engaging, and instructive. By tackling prose composition on a sentence-by-sentence level, June Casagrande has found a way to provide intensely practical advice for the novice writer—not to mention unexpected insights for the expert writer. It would make a welcome addition to any language lover’s library.”
—ELIZABETH LITTLE, author of Biting the Wax Tadpole

Table Of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
 
Introduction The Sentence: The Writer’s Most Important Tool 1
 
Chapter 1  Who Cares? Making Sentences Meaningful to Your Reader 7
 
Chapter 2 Conjunctions That Kill: Subordination 15
 
Chapter 3 Movable Objects: Understanding Phrases and Clauses 29
 
Chapter 4 Size Matters: Short versus Long Sentences 36
 
Chapter 5  Words Gone Wild: Sentences That Say Nothing—or Worse 53
 
Chapter 6 Words Gone Mild: Choosing Specific Words Over Vague Ones 61
 
Chapter 7 A Frequently Overstated Case: The Truth About Adverbs 65
 
Chapter 8 Are Your Relatives Essential? Relative Clauses 72
 
Chapter 9 Antique Desk Suitable for Lady with Thick Legs and Large Drawers: Prepositional Phrases 80
 
Chapter 10 Dangler Danger: Participles and Other Danglers 85
 
Chapter 11 The Writing Was Ignored by the Reader: Passives 90
 
Chapter 12 You Will Have Been Conjugating: Other Matters of Tense 98
 
Chapter 13 The Being and the Doing Are the Killing of Your Writing: Nominalizations 107
 
Chapter 14 The The: Not-So-Definite Definite Articles 112
 
Chapter 15 The Writer and His Father Lamented His Ineptitude: Unclear Antecedents 116
 
Chapter 16 To Know Them Is to Hating Them: Faulty and Funky Parallels 122
 
Chapter 17 Taking the Punk Out of Punctuation: The Problem with Semicolons and Parentheses 125
 
Chapter 18 You Don’t Say: Descriptive Quotation Attributions 131
 
Chapter 19 Trimming the Fat: Expressions That Weigh Down Your Sentences 134
 
Chapter 20 The Major Overhaul: Streamlining Even the Most Problematic Sentences 149
 
Chapter 21 On Breaking the “Rules”: Knowing When to Can the Canons 164
 
Appendix 1 Grammar for Writers 167
Appendix 2 Punctuation Basics for Writers 191
Appendix 3 The Deadliest Catches: The Most Incriminating Errors and How to Avoid Them 204
 
About the Author 208
Index 209

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