After years of getting free catalogs and seeing all types of ads in a startingly broad array of magazines, I finally broke down and ordered a course from The Great Courses.
The first course I tried was Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft by Professor Brooks Landon.
And it is really really REALLY good. I really recommend it.
Over the last few months, I’ve listened to it twice, and now I’m going through it a third time.
I decided this time I’d work through the small “Question to Consider” assignments that come in the Course Guidebook which comes with the CDs.
A very short summary of lecture 1:
- Writing is made up of sentences, which are made up of propositions.
- Although much has been written about style, it is almost impossible to define.
- And although much as been written about the difference between style and content, the content is affected by the style.
Question to Consider (for Lecture 1): Find five sentences of varying lengths that definitely give you pleasure. Break each one down into propositions and see how many propositions each one yields.
Sentence 1: 10 propositions
Sentence 2: 15 propositions
Sentence 3: 12 propositions
Sentence 4: 8 propositions
Sentence 5: 7 propositions
Personal note: writing out all the propositions — as I saw them — made me think about the sentences and their structure and what they said both explicitly and implicitly, a lot more than I realized it would.
“Uncertainty about risks is not necessarily fatal to a policy of precaution, but false claims to certainty usually are, sooner or later”, Mario Loyola; “Twilight of the Climate Change Movement”, The American Interest, http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/03/31/twilight-of-the-climate-change-movement/, ‘Published on’ date March 21 2016
i) There can be uncertainty. ii) Risks exist. iii) There can be policies. iv) Precaution can exist as a policy. v) Uncertainty about risk is not necessarily fatal to a policy of precaution. vi) There can be claims to certainty. vii) Claims to certainty might be false. ix) False claims to certainty usually are fatal to a policy of precaution. x) These false claims will usually be fatal sooner or later.
“If alarmists were really interested in protecting humans against climate change, they would be helping Bangladesh adapt to monsoon floods and thereby avoid thousands of deaths every few years, instead of insisting on green energy boondoggles that will never save a soul there or anywhere else.”, Mario Loyola, same as previous
i) Alarmists exist. ii) Alarmist claim to be interested in protecting humans against climate change. iii) Humans might need to be protected against climate change. iv) There is a place called Bangladesh. v) Bangladesh has monsoon floods. vi) Bangladesh’s monsoon floods kill thousands of people. vii) Bangladesh can adapt to these monsoon floods. viii) Bangladesh adapting to monsoon floods might save lives. ix) If alarmists were interested in protecting humans against climate change, they would be helping Bangladesh adapt to monsoon floods. x) Alarmists insist on green energy boondoggles. xi) Green energy projects exist. xii) Green energy projects can be boondoggles. xiii) Green energy boondoggles don’t save souls. xv) Souls exist, either metaphorically or literally.
“We need strong, reliable projection holders in order to become aware of the many forces operating within our human psyche.” Sallie Nichols, Jung and Tarot An Archetypal Journey, published by Weiser Books, 1980, Chapter 8 “The Pope: The Visible Face of God”, page 120
i) The begins with “We” and therefore is speaking for a group of people. ii) Projections exist. iii) Projections can be held. iv) Projection holders can be strong and reliable. v) We need strong reliable projection holders. vi) Humans have psyches. vii) There are many forces in human psyches. ix) We are humans. x) Humans are not always aware of the forces operating in their psyches. xi) Humans can become aware of the forces operating in their psyches. xii) Humans need strong reliable projection holders to become aware of the forces operating in their psyches.
“To be sure, the kneeling figures have not yet the strength to stand up to the suprapersonal power, but they have sought him out with their questions and problems.” Sallie Nichols, same as previous, page 123
i) There are kneeling figures. ii) The figures do not yet have the strength to stand up to the suprapersonal power. iii) The figures might one day have the strength to stand up to the suprapersonal power. iv) Suprapersonal powers exist. v) Suprapersonal powers can be stood up to. vi) The kneeling figures have questions and problems. vii) The kneeling figures have sought out the suprapersonal power with their questions and problems.
“Don’t be afraid to have your praises sung, just so long as most of the tune is true and it’s not sounding all day and night.” Baba Yaga speaking to Julie/84, http://ps238.nodwick.com/comic/2014-05-25/, PS238, written and drawn by Aaron Williams, Volume 10, Chapter 1: 84 and the Ones Before, comic dated variously May 25 2014 and May 27 2015, I think the later date is correct as all other comics in this volume are date June 2014 through March 2016
i) Someone can sing your praises. ii) You might be afraid of someone singing your praises. iii) The speaker thinks you shouldn’t be afraid of someone singing your praises. iv) The song of your praises might not be entirely true. v) It’s okay to not be afraid of your praises being sung as long as most of the song is true. vi) Your praises might be sung all day and night. vii) It’s okay to not be afraid of your praises being sung as long as it isn’t all day and night.