Where s the Action

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Lanham Where s the Action 309,308 Foun and Style,afinternal gesture. What do these examples have in common They have been assembled from is Rosalind Franklin s inability. strings of prepositional phrases glued together by that all purpose epoxy is In each to even conceive. case the sentence s verbal force has been shunted into a noun and its verbal force has of such playing. been diluted into is the neutral copulative the weakest verb in the language Such. sentences project no life no vigor They just are And the is generates those Notice how long this laundry list takes to get gOiIlg The root action skulks. strings of prepositional phrases fore and aft It s so easy to fix Look for the real down there in ability to control So we revise. action Ask yourself who s kicking who Yes I know it should be whom but. doesn t whom sound stilted Watson controls himself through these internal gestures Rosalind Franklin does. In This sentence is in need of an active verb the action obviously lies in not even know such gestures exist. need And so This sentence needs an active verb The needless prepositional. phrase in need of simply disappears once we see who s kicking who The sentence I ve removed in strict contrast because the rephrasing clearly implies it. animated by a real verb comes alive and in six words instead of nine given the sentence two simple root verbs controls and knows and to make the. Where s the action in physical satisfaction is the most obvious of the contrast tighter and easier to see used the same word gestures for the same. consequences of premarital sex Buried down there in satisfaction But just asking concept in both phrases We ve reduced seven prepositional phrases and infinitives to. the question reveals other problems Satisfaction isn t really a consequence of one prepositional phrase and thus banished that DA da da DA da da monotony of. premarital sex in the same way that say pregnancy is And as generations of both the original A lard factor of 41 but more important we ve given the sentence. sexes will attest sex premarital or otherwise does not always satisfy Beyond all shape and some life flows from its verbs. this the contrast between the clinical phrasing of the sentence wit J its lifeless is The drill for this problem stands clear Circle every form of to be is. verb and the life giving power of lust in action makes the sentence seem almost was will be seems to be have been and every prepositional phrase Then. funny Excavating the action from satisfaction yields Premarital sex satisfies fmd out who s kicking who and start rebuilding the sentence with that action Two. Obviously This gives us a lard factor of 66 and a comedy factor even higher prepositional phrases in a row turn on the warning light three make a problem and. You find the lard factor by dividing the difference between the number of words in four invite disaster With a little practice sentences like The mood Dickens paints is. the original and the revision by the number of words in the original In this case a bleak one will turn into Dickens paints a bleak mood LF 35 almost before. 12 4 8 8 12 66 If you ve not paid attention to your own writing before think you ve written them. of a lard factor LF of one third to one half as normal and don t stop revising until Undergraduates have no monopoly on that central element in The Official. you ve removed it The comedy factor in prose revision though often equally great Style the string of prepositional phrases Look at these strings from a lawyer a. does not lend itself to numerical calculation scientist and a critic. But how else do we revise here Premarital sex is fun obviously seems a. little better but we remain in thrall to is And the frequent falsity of the observation Here is an example of the use afthe rule ofjustice in argumentation. stands out yet more Revision has exposed the empty thinking The writer makes it. even worse by continuing Some degree of physical satisfaction is present in almost One afthe most important results afthe presentation afthe data is the alteration. all coitus Add it all together and we get something like People usually enjoy a the status a the elements of the discourse. premarital sex LF 79 At its worst academic prose makes us laugh by describing. ordinary reality in extraordinary language In the light of the association in the last quarter of the sixteenth century afwit. The writer discussing James Watson s The Double Helix sleepwalks into with the means of amplification which consist mainly of the processes of. the standard form of absent minded academic prose a string of prepositional phrases dialectical investigation this definition probably has more validity than has. and infinitives then a lame to be verb then more prepositional phrases and generally been accorded it. infinitives Look at the structure, The of strings are the worst of all They seem to reenact a series of hiccups. When you try to revise them you can feel how fatally easy the is plus prepositional. In strict contrast,to Watson s ability, phrase Official Style formula is for prose style They blur the central action of the. to control his mental stability, sentence you can t find out what is really going Oll Let s try revising. through this type,Lanham Where s the Action 311,310 Form and Style.
this definition probably has more validity than has generally been accorded. Here is an example of the use ofthe rule ofjustice in argumentation. Here the prepositional phrases have been assembled into a gigantic preparatory. Rule of justice is a term of art so we must leave it intact After we have fanfare for a central action which does not come until the end. found an active verb exemplify buried in is an example of the use of the rest. follows easily this defmition probably has more validity. This passage exemplifies argumentation using the rule ofjustice These slow motion openings a sure sign of The Official Style dram all the. life from the sentence before we ever get to the verb and hence the action I ll revise. Now how about the second sentence It represents a perfect Official Style. to get off to a faster start using my knowledge of what the writer behind the. pattern string of prepositional phrases is string of prepositional phrases Let s. infarcted prose was trying to say,diagram it for emphasis. 1bis definition holds true more than people think especially considering what. One wit meant around 1600 I5 words instead of 42 LF 64. of the most important results,BLAH BLAH IS THAT OPENINGS. of the presentation,of the data, The formulaic slo mo opening often provides y our first taste of The. is the alteration Official Style And it is a fatally easy habit to fall into Let s look at some typical. examples of what we will call the Blah blah is that opening from students. of the status,professors and writers at large,of the elements. afthe discourse,What I would like to signal here is that.
See the formulaic character The monotonous rhythm The blurred action. I m not sure what this sentence means but the action must be buried in alteration My contention is that. Start there with an active transitive verb alter How about Presentation of the. What I want to make clear is that, data alters the status of the discourse elements Or less formally The status of the. discourse elements depends on how you present the data Or it may mean You. What has surprised me the most is that, don t know the status of the elements until you have presented the data At least two. different meanings swim beneath the formulaic prose To revise it you must rethink The upshot ofwhat Heidegger says here is that. Now the third sentence The first is that,In the light. The poin t I wish to make is that,of the association. in the last quarter,What I have argued here is that.
of the sixteenth century, My opiIlion is that on this point we have only two options. with the means,of amplification, My point is that the question ofthe discourse of the human sciences. which consist mainly,of the processes,of dialectical investigation. Lanham Where s the Action 313,312 Fonn and Style, hard make every are able to into a can every seems to succeed in creating into. The fact of the matter is that the material of this article is drawn directly. creates every cognize the fact that no I didn t make it up into think every. from am hopeful that into hope every provides us with an example of into. The one thing that Belinda does not realize is that Dorimant knows exactly how exemplifies every seeks to reveal into shows and every there is the inclusion. of into includes Then after amputating those mindless fact that introductory. to press her buttons, phrase fanfares you ll start fast After that fast start cut to the chase as they say in.
Easy to fix this pattern just amputate the mindless preludial fanfare Start. the movies as soon as you can Instead of the answer is in the negative you ll find. the sentence with whatever follows Blah blah is that On a word processor it. yourself saying No, couldn t be simpler do a global search for the phrase is that and revise it out each. THE PARAMEDIC METHOD,time For example, The upshot of what Heidegger says here is that We now have the beginnings of the Paramedic Method PM. My opinion is that on this point we have only two options 1 Circle the prepositions. 2 Circle the is forms, My point is L at the question of the discourse of the human sciences 3 Ask Where s the action Who s kicking who. 4 Put this kicking action in a simple not compound active verb. The fact of the matter is that the material of this article is drawn directly 5 Start fast no slow windups. Let s use the PM on a mor complex instance of blurred action the opening sentences. We can even improve my favorite from this anthology of an undergraduate psych paper. The one thing that Belinda does not realize is that Dorimant knows exactly The history of Western psychological thought has long been dominated by. how to press her buttons philosophical considerations as to the nature of man These notions have. dictated corresponding considerations of the nature of the child within society. By amputating the fanfare you start fast and a fast start may lead to major the practices by which children were to be raised and the purposes of studying. motion That s what we re after Where s the action the child. Writers addicted to the blah blah is that dead rocket often tie themselves. in knots with it One writes The position we are at is this Another The Two actions here dominate and dictate but neither has fully escaped. traditional opposite notion to this is that there are And a third a university from its native stone The prepositional phrase and infinitive strings just drag them. professor in an article accurately titled On the Weakness of Language in the Human down. Sciences offers this spasmodic set ofthises thats and whats. The history, Now what I would like to know specifically is this what is the meaning of of Westem psychological thought. this as that Heidegger emphasizes so strongly when he says that that which by philosophical considerations. is explicitly understood that is that which is interpreted has the structure as to the nature. of something as something My opinion is that what Heidegger means is that a man. the structure of interpretation Auslegung is figural rather than say. a the nature,intentional Emphasis mine,afthe child.
In escaping from this Houdini straitjacket a couple of mechanical tricks within society. come in handy Besides eliminating the is s and changing every passive voice is by which children. defended by to an active voice defends you can squeeze the compound verbS to be raised. Lanham Where s the Action 315,314 Fonn and Style, a definite actor remember in the first sentence the single question So a. of studying,tentative revision, In asking Where s the action Who s kicking who we next notice all. the actions fermenting in the nouns thinking in thought consider in This basic question leads to three others What are children like How should. considerations more thinking somewhere in notions They hint at actions they they be raised Why should we study them. don t supply and thus blur the actor action relationship still further We want. remember a plain active verb no prepositional phrase strings and a natural actor Other revisions suggest themselves Work out a couple In mine I ve used. question as the baton passed between the two sentences because it Clarifies the. firmly in charge relationship between the two And I ve tried to expose what real clear action lay. The actor must be philosophical considerations as to the nature ofman hidden beneath the conceptual cotton wool of these notions have dictated. corresponding considerations,The verb dominates, A single question has dominated Western psychological thought What is the. The object of the action the history of Westem psychological thought nature of man This basic question leads to three others What are children. like How should they be raised Why should we study them. Now the real problems emerge Vhat does philosophical considerations as. to the nature of man really mean Buried down there is a question What is the This two sentence example of student academic prose rewards some. nature of man The philosophical considerations just blur this question rather than reflection First the sentences boast no grammatical or syntactical mistakes Second. Richard A Lanham Richard A Lanham professor emeritus of English at UCLA has written about style classical rhetoric literacy computers and literature always in an engaging and lively style Some of his books are Style An Anti Textbook Revising Business Prose A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms

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