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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Style summary for Lesson 9: Elegance

In lesson nine of Style, Williams defines how one can write elegantly and the various tools to accomplish this task. Williams says that what makes a sentence graceful is a “balance and symmetry among its parts, one echoing another in sounds, rhythm, structure, and meaning” (154). Thus one of the best ways to write elegantly is to have balanced coordination, in which one clause and phrase echoes another in word order, sound, and meaning, giving the whole passage an “architectural symmetry” (155). An example of balanced coordination would be: for the opposition to be arbitrary. Words such as: and, or, nor, but, and yet are good words to use to balance sentence structures. Three devices that can be used to give special emphasis or elegance to a sentence in adding of and a nominalization, echoing salience, and chiasmus. Williams also discusses the length of sentences and says that some writers use certain lengths of sentences for certain purposes, for example using short sentences to convey a sense of urgency. Metaphors can add elegance and interest to one’s writing, thus Williams encourages writers to incorporate them into their writing, because they help apply what the writer is trying to convey to their readers.

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