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The world utterly forgot the Roman poet-philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus and his masterwork, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). Then in January 1417 an adventuresome papal secretary found a 500-year-old copy on a dusty shelf in a German monastery, and De Rerum began a second illustrious life that continues, still blossoming, to this day.  Continue reading...
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"Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." That's Aristotle, writing in the fourth century BCE. Most of the wiles and schemes by which modern-day crafters of clickbait entice you to take the fateful step of clicking on a link were anticipated by the Master.  Continue reading...
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Sentences have destinations, the place you want your readers to go to absorb the information you're delivering. Sentences that mislead readers are called "garden path" sentences, because they take readers in unexpected directions, the way someone who has been "led down the garden path" has been misled.  Continue reading...
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Last month I examined the first lines of novels and how authors use different strategies to capture the reader. This month I will be looking at last lines, the different kinds of messages they send, and how they can leave the reader feeling about the novel as a whole.  Continue reading...
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At age 56, I'm not yet a senior. But I'm starting to become constantly surprised by how young other people are — doctors, CEOs, even heads of government (the president of Kosovo is only 38, the president of Finland is 42 and even Barack Obama, at 52, is younger than me.)  Continue reading...
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We're happy to introduce the first in a series of tips on usage and style from the inimitable Grammar Girl, a.k.a. Mignon Fogarty. First up: how do you punctuate do and don't when the words are pluralized?  Continue reading...
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What makes a good column? Like any piece of writing, a column needs a beginning, middle, and end — here starts the middle of this one. Beginning with a joke, as I did above, an intriguing question, or an outlandish statement may hook readers, but once you've got 'em hooked, you need to give 'em ideas worth listening to, or they'll quickly yawn and turn the page.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 331 Articles