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Monday, December 14, 2009

Write with Primary Terms

Michael Clay Thompson is the author of a fabulous but unconventional Language Arts program. He made a few interesting points in this video on vocabulary and writing.

I have always taught my boys to add adjectives and adverbs to their sentences when writing. So what Thompson had to say about these was quite a revelation to me... Well, can you tell I am not a language expert at all?!

Here are some of his points I have extracted from this particular video.

1. Plan A to writing and editing is to choose precise NOUNS and VERBS.
Don't try to rescue weak nouns and verbs with adjectives and adverbs.
If you aren't happy with your nouns, change your nouns. Not add an adjective.

If you see an adjective, kill it.
- Mark Twain

The adverb is not your friend.
- Stephen King

2. Wordiness is usually a modifier problem.
Modifiers add syllable counts and noise to a sentence; diluting interest level.

This kind of succinct writing reminds me of that advocated by William Strunk in The Elements of Style.

The Classics

Have you ever thought about reading the classics (either yourself or to your children) but shoved the idea because of the possible encounters with "old" words or expressions? Here is a list of classical words that you may want to be familiar with before taking the plunge.

I hope to work through these... somehow... ... ...
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