Introduction To Rhetoric

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Excerpt from book:
CHAPTER II. LANGUAGE ADAPTED TO THE NEEDS OF THE READER. The Theory of Economy. — In his essay on The Philosophy of Style Herbert Spencer puts forth the theory that the secret of all good style lies in economizing the reader's ...
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Overview

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free.
This is an OCR edition with typos.
Excerpt from book:
CHAPTER II. LANGUAGE ADAPTED TO THE NEEDS OF THE READER. The Theory of Economy. — In his essay on The Philosophy of Style Herbert Spencer puts forth the theory that the secret of all good style lies in economizing the reader's mental energy. He assumes that the object of composition is to convey thought to the reader. Words, sentences, and paragraphs are useless except for this purpose. Now the less mental energy the reader needs to expend in getting the idea, the more he has left to expend in considering and memorizing it. That style will be best, therefore, which gives its idea to the reader with the least effort on his part. Language may be compared to a machine, which the writer uses for the purpose of conveying thought to the mind of the reader. All energy spent in overcoming the friction of the machine is lost, so far as real work is concerned. Every boy knows that it is easier to ride a mile on a good bicycle than on one that runs hard; or, to state it differently, that with the same amount of labor he can ride farther on a good wheel than on a poor one. In just the same way, it is easier for him to get a lesson from a textbook that is clearly written than from one in which the sentences are a little hard to understand ; because if he does not have to study over the language, he can put his energy into understanding and memorizing the thought. In stating the principle of economy Mr. Spencer seems to assume that the reader brings to the perusal of any work a fixed amount of mental energy. This is not strictly true. The writer may not only be economical in the use of the energy which his reader would naturally expend, but may stimulate him to expend more. A bicycle rider, when he wishes to do his best, not only selects a wheel that runs easily, but he gets some...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781179654362
  • Publisher: Nabu Press
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER II. LANGUAGE ADAPTED TO THE NEEDS OF THE READER. The Theory of Economy. — In his essay on The Philosophy of Style Herbert Spencer puts forth the theory that the secret of all good style lies in economizing the reader's mental energy. He assumes that the object of composition is to convey thought to the reader. Words, sentences, and paragraphs are useless except for this purpose. Now the less mental energy the reader needs to expend in getting the idea, the more he has left to expend in considering and memorizing it. That style will be best, therefore, which gives its idea to the reader with the least effort on his part. Language may be compared to a machine, which the writer uses for the purpose of conveying thought to the mind of the reader. All energy spent in overcoming the friction of the machine is lost, so far as real work is concerned. Every boy knows that it is easier to ride a mile on a good bicycle than on one that runs hard; or, to state it differently, that with the same amount of labor he can ride farther on a good wheel than on a poor one. In just the same way, it is easier for him to get a lesson from a textbook that is clearly written than from one in which the sentences are a little hard to understand ; because if he does not have to study over the language, he can put his energy into understanding and memorizing the thought. In stating the principle of economy Mr. Spencer seems to assume that the reader brings to the perusal of any work a fixed amount of mental energy. This is not strictly true. The writer may not only be economical in the use of the energy which his reader would naturally expend, but may stimulate him to expend more. A bicycle rider,when he wishes to do his best, not only selects a wheel that runs easily, but he gets some...
Read More Show Less

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