Rhetoric, Polarities, and Trump
This week I’ve been posting about principles of style that made the writing of Lincoln, Churchill, and Holmes so potent. The posts are all taken from this new book that I hope you will check out if you’ve found the discussions interesting. (Otherwise I just thank you for your patience.)
The examples this week have all involved the choice between different kinds of words: Latinate vs. Saxon, simple vs. complex, abstract vs. visual. The book also talks about many other issues: the lengths of sentences, active vs. passive voice, cadences, etc. It shows how great writers have made use of contrast in working with those variables, and how the contrasts have lent power to their words.
Those examples are part of a general argument that I mentioned on Monday and to which I’ll return here in brief. It is that our culture of advice about good writing is inadequate. Don’t get me wrong: usually being clear and concise is the best thing a writer can do, and sometimes it’s the only thing a writer should worry about. But if you want your words to do more than just convey
Article from Latest – Reason.com