What Did Churchill Know About Language That We Don’t?
Yesterday I talked about one way that Lincoln created powerful sentences: he would start with big words derived from Latin, then finish with short words that have Saxon origins. The book from which this discussion comes also talks about Churchill and his way with words. He liked some of the same patterns that Lincoln did. A famous example:
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. —Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (1940).
“Human conflict” is Latinate. Every word after it is Saxon. Simply put, the earlier part of the sentence has more complicated words than the later part. The first half sets up the ear for the second, which gains strength by contrast.
But Churchill also made great use of the reverse pattern
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