The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts into Wordsby Arthur Plotnik
There are many grammar and usage books that give advice on correct English. This isn't one of them. The Elements of Expression targets expressiveness as a goal apart from getting it technically right. Imagine the yawns a sportscaster would induce by announcing, "His bat struck the ball and the ball went into the stands," instead of "He took that ball downtown!" And why say, "I'd prefer it if you didn't volunteer your opinions," if what you really mean is "When I want your advice, I'll beat it out of you" (Chuck Norris, Code of Silence)?
Written with uncommon wit and humor, The Elements of Expression offers writers, speakers, and self-improvers a fresh look at how they express (or fail to express) their thoughts and feelings. Plotnik supplies many engaging examples of adventurous language to show the tremendous power of words to describe and enliven human experience.
Want merely to write correctly? Turn to those shelf-loads of "proper" books. For people who care about language and want to write or speak forcefully, effectivelyin a word, expressivelythis is the book to crack open.
About the Author
Arthur Plotnik is a distinguished writer, editor, and former publishing executive whose many books include the highly acclaimed The Elements of Editing and, more recently, Spunk and Bite. He lives in Chicago"an expressive town"with his wife, the artist Mary Phelan.
[G]enuinely funny. Mr. Plotnik seeks to enlighten but also to entertain, making the skill of quality expressiveness a goal, rather than some elusive daydream. . . . The strongest parts of the book contrast insipid or ordinary modes of expression with clear, powerful methods.
New York Journal of Books (6/12/12 www.nyjournalofbooks.com/review/elements-expression-putting-thoughts-words-2nd-edition)
Plotnik is concerned aboutno, make that fervent, ardent, zealous, even fanatical aboutmaking the language of the written word as interesting and precise as possible. . . . This book roots for language that is not just right but bright, which communicates the truest tone and shading and the finest distinctions . . . . work that is irresistible, engrossing, unpredictably original...
ForeWord (6/27/12 www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/the-elements-of-expression/)
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What People are Saying About This
[H]eartily recommended as an excellent reference book or to circulate as a fun yet instructive read for everyone who wants to communicate effectively in any medium.
—Maurice J. Freedman (the U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D Librarian, #163, 2012 firstname.lastname@example.org)
College and Research Libraries News
If you love the study of language, definitely pick it up. If you want to write with eloquence and wit, this is the book for you. . . . . The Elements of Expression is filled with wit that left me laughing at the most inopportune times. In other words, this isn't like those much dreaded high school English textbooks. I don't remember any of them having a chapter on 'Make My Day: The Power of Tough Talk'.
—Stina Lindenblatt (On My Writerly Bookshelf, 6/18/12 www.stinalindenblatt.com/2012/06/on-my-writerly-bookshelf.html)
author of The Write Way
Meet the Author
Arthur Plotnik is a versatile author with a distinguished background in editing and publishing. Among his seven previous books (not to mention 22 pseudonymous potboilers early in his career) are The Elements of Editing and The Elements of Expression, both Book-of-the-Month Club selections, and the best-selling Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style. His articles, op-eds, and literary pieces have been published widely, including his columns in The Writer magazine, on whose editorial board he serves.
Plotnik studied under Philip Roth in the Iowa Writers Workshop, was a reporter for the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union, and after earning a second graduate degree, worked as a Library of Congress staffer in Washington and magazine editor in New York. He received numerous honors and awards as a long-time editor and publisher with the American Library Association in Chicago. He lives in that city with his wife and an avalanchine tumble of jottings for Better than Great.
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