The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts into Words

The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts into Words

4.8 7
by Arthur Plotnik
     
 

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Don't Just Say Something—Have an Adventure with Words

If a word falls in today's impenetrable forest of words, does anyone hear it? Now, in this updated and expanded edition, Plotnik treats expressiveness in a world of texts, tweets, rap, apps and joyful diversity. Embracing both the new and classic forms, with hundreds of vivid examples, he leads

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Overview


Don't Just Say Something—Have an Adventure with Words

If a word falls in today's impenetrable forest of words, does anyone hear it? Now, in this updated and expanded edition, Plotnik treats expressiveness in a world of texts, tweets, rap, apps and joyful diversity. Embracing both the new and classic forms, with hundreds of vivid examples, he leads word-users from the dull generic to the fissionable—language that blasts thoughts and feelings into expression of the first intensity.

Editorial Reviews

Diane Brandley

[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)

Lisa Romero

Plotnik is concerned about—no, make that fervent, ardent, zealous, even fanatical about—making 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/)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This entertaining potpourri of thoughts about words by the associate publisher of the American Library Association touches on a variety of philological concerns. Plotnik (Elements of Editing) fails to lead with his strength: not a trained linguist, he does draw a distinction between prescriptive and descriptive grammar, coming down heavily in favor of the latter and ignoring possibilities of compromise. But he gets into trouble when he classifies all expressions as either standard or substandard, allowing for no distinction between formal and informal usage and accusing "authorities" of giving slang, jargon, argot and the like roughly equal status But once he turns to the steps leading to expressiveness, he is most effective, demonstrating a fine ability to choose quotations from writers past and present that really sing. He deals with verbal power, clichs, borrowing apt phrases from others, jargon and even public speaking. A helpful little compendium for writers and speakers wishing to brush up on their prose. (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781936740147
Publisher:
Cleis Press
Publication date:
06/12/2012
Pages:
347
Sales rank:
548,204
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 6.84(h) x 0.96(d)

What People are saying about this

Maurice J. Freedman

[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 editor@unabashedlibrarian.com)

George Eberhart
"Plotnik writes like Woody Allen imitating Calvin Trillin emulating William Safire."
College and Research Libraries News
Stina Lindenblatt

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)

Inc. magazine
"The Elements of Expression is so funny and eccentric, it seems a shame to hide it away in the reference section."
Richard Lederer
"The Elements of Expression invites writers and speakers to make language that actually inhales and exhales, language with its shirtsleeves rolled up and its eyes ablaze."
—author of The Write Way

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