The Well-Crafted Sentence: A Writer's Guide to Style / Edition 2

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Grounded in the art of writing, The Well-Crafted Sentence zeroes in on the building block of great prose: the sentence. With a friendly, approachable, and elegant tone, Nora Bacon shows the benefits of attention to style and offers a range of revision strategies that give students the tools to strengthen and develop their writing.

Giving students the opportunity to see successful rhetorical choices at work in writing they admire, the text includes a brief anthology of readings by ten accomplished stylists, five of them new to this edition. Examples throughout the text are drawn from these model pieces, as are integrated exercises that help students apply concepts to their own writing. Additionally, a new first chapter, Approaches to Style, introduces students to the concept of style.

Affordable and brief, The Well-Crafted Sentence works as a core classroom text or as a supplement.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781457606731
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 11/2/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 186,750
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Bacon is a professor of English and writing program administrator at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her research, begun at UC Berkeley in the 1990s, has examined service-learning pedagogy, the development of "writing agility," and the relationship between texts and the contexts in which they are written and read. Nora’s current research focuses on the stylistic choices preferred in different disciplines, uniting her interest in variation and her abiding fascination with sentences.

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Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors

Introduction for Students

1. The Sentence’s Working Parts

Clause Structure

Transformations within the Clause

Adding to the Clause


Linking Independent Clauses

Dependent Clauses

Adverb Clauses

Adjective Clauses

Noun Clauses

2. Well-Focused Sentences: The Subject-Verb Pair

Populated Prose

Active Voice and Passive Voice

Variation in Sentence Focus

Sharpening the Focus

Double-check Sentences with Abstract Subjects

Double-check Sentences with "There" in the Subject Position

Keep Subject Phrases Short

Uncover Subjects Buried in Introductory Phrases

Transform Nouns to Verbs

3. Well-Balanced Sentences: Coordination and Parallel Structure


Parallel Structure

Correlative Conjunctions

Variation in Coordinate Series



4. Well-Developed Sentences: Modification

Early Modifiers and the Pleasures of the Periodic Sentence

End Modifiers and the Pleasures of the Cumulative Sentence

5. Modifiers Following the Noun: Adjective Clauses and Adjective Phrases

The Structure of Adjective Clauses

Choices in Crafting Adjective Clauses

Who or Whom?

Should an Adjective Clause Be Set Off with Punctuation?

Which or That – or Not?

Reducing Adjective Clauses

Adjective Phrases

6. Modifiers Built from Verbs: Verbal Phrases

Functions of Verbal Phrases

Managing Emphasis with Verbal Phrases

Reducing Clauses to Create Verbal Phrases

Dangling Modifiers

7. Noun Phrases Working as Modifiers: Appositives and Absolutes

Noun Phrases in Apposition

Identifying People

Defining Terms

Filling in Examples or Explanations

Renaming with a Twist

Other Structures in Apposition

Absolute Phrases

8. Special Effects: Expectations and Exceptions

Focus on the Subject

Completeness and Explicitness

Sentence Variety

Model Texts

Louise Erdrich, Shamengwa

Henry Louis Gates, Sin Boldly

Henry Louis Gates, The Two Nations of Black America

Tim O’Brien, On the Rainy River

Arundhati Roy, The Algebra of Infinite Justice

Oliver Sacks, selection from The Case of the Colorblind Painter

Oliver Sacks, Housecalls

David Sedaris, Genetic Engineering

Jane Smiley, Say it Ain’t So, Huck

Andrew Sullivan, State of the Union

Amy Tan, Mother Tongue

Amy Tan, My Grandmother’s Choice

Glossary of Terms

Sample Responses to Exercises


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