Sense of Structure : Writing from the Reader's Perspective / Edition 1

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Emphasizing “reader expectations,” this composition text provides an insightful guide to writing clearly and effectively.

Reflecting on the author's decades of experience as an international writing consultant, writer, and instructor, The Sense of Structure teaches writing from the perspective of readers. This text demonstrates that readers have relatively fixed expectations of where certain words or grammatical constructions will appear in a unit of discourse. By bringing these intuitive reading processes to conscious thought, this text provides students with tools for understanding how readers interact with the structure of writing, from punctuation marks to sentences to paragraphs, and how meaning and purpose are communicated through structure.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205296323
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 1/8/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,283,263
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1. The Complexity of the English Sentence.

Tools, Not Rules.

The Anatomy of a Sentence's Meaning, from the Reader's Perspective.

2. A Structural Anatomy of the English Sentence.

The Fallacy of Good and Bad Sentences.

Reader Expectations at the Sentence Level.

3. Weights and Balances; Motions and Connections.

Artificial EMPHASIS, and When to Use It.

Fred and His Dog: Competition for Emphasis.

Moments of Truth: The Shape of the Sentence, Revisited.

The Backwards Link of the Topic Position.

The Various Functions of the Stress Position.

The Flow of Thought from Sentence to Sentence.

4. “Whose Paragraph Is It, Anyway?”: The Shapes of the English Paragraph.

Procrustean Problems in Teaching the Paragraph.

The Issue.


Pointless Paragraphs.

Connections Between Paragraphs.

Summarizing Paragraph Structures.

A Note on Whole Documents.

5. “Write the Way You Speak” and Other Bad Pieces of Advice.

Bad Advice; and Why Not to Take It.

The Toll Booth Syndrome.

6. Mark My Words: A Reader's Perspective on the World of Punctuation.

From Fetters to Facilitators: Punctuation as Power.

The Semi-colon: A Hope for an Afterlife.

A Brief Glimpse at the History of Punctuation.

The Colon: Play It Again, Sam.

Dashes -- (Parentheses), Commas, and [Brackets]: Pardon the Interruption.

The Hyphen: In the Midst of Things.

The Question Mark: Is Anything Uncertain Here?

The Exclamation Point and Other Forms of Artificial Emphasis: Look at Me!

The Use of Punctuation with Quotation Marks: Consistency, Logic, and Illogical Consistency.

The Apostrophe: Whose Who's Are What's What.

The Ellipsis: Now You Don't.

The Period: A Comfort Zone.

The Comma: It Gives One Pause.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    If you want to write, then this is a book worth reading.

    I read this book for a upper-college course and it was so useful.

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