Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Constant Good Read

The well-known political commentator, James J. Kilpatrick, is retired, but he continues to publish a column, sometimes focusing on the activities of the US Supreme Court and more often on language, grammar, and syntax.

His current column is especially interesting in light of the constant admonition to write tight, J K Rowling and her assorted adjectives, adverbs, and dialog tags aside.

Kilpatrick offers, "Often just an extra word or two will make the difference between prose that glides and prose that stumbles."

Here's an example from the current column ...

The Washington Post often contributes to the adjectival goo: "President Bush nominated Deputy Treasury Secretary Samuel W. Bodman yesterday as his second secretary of energy, tapping an administration veteran to lead the Energy Department at a time of unstable oil prices and rising nuclear proliferation concerns." The sentence falls not trippingly. How about, "unstable oil prices and rising concerns over nuclear proliferation"?

Kilpatrick always provides a good read about language, and he even sometimes presides over a session of The Court of Peeves, Crotchets & Irks.

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