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Figures of Speech: 60 Ways To Turn A Phrase Paperback – Nov 1 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone with an interest in effective writing will enjoy and benefit from this book.
Quinn challenges the reader..."We are confronted, inescapably, with the intoxicating possibility that we can make language do for us almost anything we want." In other words, the author "thinks outside the box" long before it became fashionable to do so. I'll never forget a groundbreaking banner front-page headline in the New York Daily News back in the 1970's, it read, "We Wuz Robbed!" The headline reported that masked gunmen broke into the payroll office and stole millions in typical New York City lingo. Apparently the editors in the Daily News Building agreed with Quinn's approach to effective writing that "style, is like a frog: you can dissect the thing, but it somehow dies in the process."
Each chapter in this marvelous book is short and compact. My favorite chapters include, Missing Links and Headless Horsemen, Man Bites Dog and Reds in the Red. In a nutshell, Quinn demands that we navigate the jungles of style creatively and includes many figures of speech through out his book to stimulate the learning process. Overall, this book is a joy to read. In the words of the author, "language becomes a prison house only poets can escape...if we do not reject any strict distinctions between ordinary usage and figures of speech."
Quinn's book Figures of Speech would be one quite satisfactory text. The strength of the book is in its examples, the variety of sources. For example, asyndeton in a series of nouns is illustrated by quotes from the scripture, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Arnold, Darwin, Proust ... He illustrates asyndeton in series of clauses; in series of nouns; at the beginning, middle or end of a sentence. He warns of the effect of overusing the figure ... in short, without ever become boring, he shows you how to flush out a hiding asyndeton anywhere.
For those of you not educated under my ideal plan - asyndeton is the omission of conjunctions. Okay, this particular figure of speech may not effect your gullibility but I happened to like the examples given.
This book is only introductory but as such it is excellent. It is sufficiently slender and diverse to provide basic information without intimidating the reader with the plethora of classical rhetorical devices.
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