The Write Way
1 October 2010
One of Those Things ...
We've just returned from one of our regular visits south to my sister-in-law's home. You've been here before, too (click on the Sapphire Coast photos here).
As you can tell from the photo of her house, she's well and truly surrounded by hills and mountains, and as a result there is no mobile phone reception, no wireless Internet and no television. So visiting is like stepping back to the days when we were kids and there was no television ... anywhere. Yes, I know it's difficult for most of you to even imagine such a time, but it did exist!
"But, what did you do?" I hear you ask ...
We didn't get our first television until I was about 10, and until that time, evenings were spent together in our lounge rooms where we entertained ourselves. We played board games. Chess and Snakes and Ladders were the only games we owned, but friends next to my Grandma's had Monopoly, and when I went to stay with her, they'd come over for the night and bring the Monopoly set and we'd sit up until all hours playing.
We listened to the wireless serials and the quiz shows and musical concerts that were broadcast.
Mum nearly always had some knitting underway or was finishing off the hand-sewing on a dress for herself or for me.
Dad often had a tinkering project underway -- something that was small enough to bring into the house and that didn't make too much mess on the floor.
I'd be playing on the floor with my teddies or reading a book or listening to Dad as he read to me from Grandma's poetry books. (You're familiar with my favourites: The Lady of Shalott, the Village Blacksmith, Excelsior, the Wreck of the Hesperus.)
But then television arrived and things were never the same again ... not, that is, unless we visit my s-i-l!
When we visit in winter, nights are spent in front of the open fire in the big open lounge room -- we drink endless cups of tea (no alcohol in this vegan house) and ponder all the Big Questions, but if it's warmer, the doors are flung open to admit the wonderful sounds of the bush at night (along with numerous bugs and spiders going about their nocturnal business).
This latest visit took place in early spring, when the weather was at its most Goldilock's best, so we had all the doors open until it was nearly dark and we could hear the wombats snuffling around in the garden for their tucker, but lit the fire at night for cosiness. We arranged ourselves around the fireplace -- taking care that we didn't encroach on the two dogs in their preferred positions -- we drank tea (naturally), took turns stoking the fire, discussed how to fix the problems of the world (as you do) and generally had one of those times that is sure to remain a treasured memory.
Or maybe it was one of those times that are sure to remain a treasured memory.
It's often tricky trying to work out if the verb should agree with the "one" or "the times," and as always, there's a simple device to work out what to do ... you re-cast the sentence:
Of those times that are sure to remain a treasured memory, this is one.
The verb has to agree with its subject (ask who? or what? before the verb to find the subject).
Q: Who or what is/are sure to remain a treasured memory?
A: Those times (are).
Flexing those grammar muscles a little reminds me of the Good Old Days of effective speaking (and writing), which is known by the flash name of Rhetoric ...
Our mates, the Roman, loved their rhetoric, as did the ancient Greeks, although you'll probably be surprised at the number of rhetorical devices sprinkled through your own speech, albeit subconsciously.
Remember that the goal of rhetoric is "to persuade towards a particular frame of view or a particular course of action, so appropriate rhetorical devices are used to construct sentences designed both to make the audience receptive through emotional changes and to provide a rational argument for the frame of view or course of action."
Rhetoric, then, relies on both emotive and logical elements. So here are a few rhetorical devices you can try to drop into your conversation this week, and I know that some of them sound as if they'd be more at home in a hospital or doctor's surgery than in a conversation ...
hendiadys - a rhetorical device by which two nouns joined by a conjunction, usually and, are used instead of a noun and a modifier
e.g. 'to run with fear and haste' instead of 'to run with fearful haste'
e.g. the use of it and does in "I know it, and he does, too."
The monkey took the banana and ate it.
prolepsis - the anticipation of possible objections in order to answer them in advance.
epistrophe - the repetition of a word or words at the end of two or more successive verses, clauses or sentences
e.g. I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong.
zeugma - the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one of them or is appropriate to each but in a different way
e.g. to wage war and peace or 'On his fishing trip, he caught three trout and a cold.'
asyndeton - the omission of conjunctions
e.g. He has provided the poor with Jobs, with opportunity, with self-respect.
cataphora - the use of a word or phrase to refer to a following word or group of words
e.g. If you want some, here's some parmesan cheese.
A little girl, Jessica, was playing on the swings.
symploce - the simultaneous use of anaphora and epistrophe
anadiplosis - repetition in the first part of a clause or sentence of a prominent word from the latter part of the preceding clause or sentence, usually with a change or extension of meaning; a device in which the last word or phrase of one clause, sentence, or line is repeated at the beginning of the next
e.g. isolation breeds insecurity; insecurity breeds suspicion and fear; suspicion and fear breed violence."
antimetabole - the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order
e.g. "I know what I like, and I like what I know."
aporia - a rhetorical device whereby the speaker expresses a doubt --
often feigned -- about his position or asks the audience rhetorically how he or
she should proceed. It is also called dubitatio.
This week's Little Something Extra has a wonderful site with dozens more rhetorical devices! (Plus photos of the spoilt dogs that have taken up residence with my s-i-l. They used to belong to a Buddhist nun who was getting too attached to them, so they came to live in Doggy Paradise instead ...) Plus there's a bonus for anyone who struggles with spelling (and we all know how bad spelling can create a bad impression in so many aspects of life -- both professional and personal).
And a story about going over to the Dark Side ...
Luke and Obi-Wan are in a Chinese restaurant having a meal. Skillfully using his chopsticks, Obi-Wan deftly dishes himself a large portion of noodles into his bowl, then tops it off with some chicken and cashew nuts. All this is done with consummate ease you'd expect from a Jedi Master. Poor old Luke is having a nightmare, using his chopsticks in both hands, dropping his food all over the table and eventually himself.
Obi-Wan looks at Luke disapprovingly and says, "Use the forks, Luke."
This week's quiz:Here are some more word words:
palimpsest, patache, palisade, paralipsis, palinode, paradigm, palindrome, palinopsia, patible, pareable
1. abnormally recurring visual imagery
2. a word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward
3. a poem in which the poet retracts a view or sentiment expressed in a former poem; a retraction of a statement
4. a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing; figurative something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form
5. to cut off the outer coating, layer, or part of
6. rhetoric the device of giving emphasis by professing to say little or nothing of a subject, as in not to mention their unpaid debts of several millions
7. fortification consisting of a strong fence made of stakes driven into the ground
8. a tender to a fleet, formerly used for conveying men, orders or treasure
9. a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model; a world view underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject
10. sufferable; tolerable; endurable
And it's all in the interpretation of the word ...
Her six-year-old grandson called his mother from his
friend Charlie's house and confessed he had broken a lamp when he threw a
football in their living room. "But, Mum," he said, brightening, "you don't have
to worry about buying another one. Charlie's mum said it was irreplaceable.
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Last week's quiz:
Know your way around a piece of string? Find out here ...
boson, fermion, brane, electron, quark, neutron, gluon, lepton, neutrino, spin
1. negatively charged particle, typically found orbiting the nucleus of an atom - ELECTRON
2. a particle that is acted upon by the strong force; exist in six varieties (up, down, charm, strange, top, bottom) and three "colours" (red, green, blue) - QUARK
3. any of the extended objects that arise in string theory - BRANE (A one-brane is a string, a two-brane is a membrane, a three-brane has three extended dimensions, etc. More generally, a p-brane has p spatial dimensions.)
4. a quantum mechanical version of the familiar notion of the same name; particles have an intrinsic amount that is either a whole number or half a whole number (in multiples of Planck's constant), and which never changes - SPIN
5. smallest bundle of the strong force field; messenger particle of the strong force - GLUON
6. a particle, or pattern of string vibration, with a whole number amount of spin; typically a messenger particle - BOSON
7. any of a class of particles with spin of 1 / 2 that are not subject to the strong force and that are believed to be truly elementary and not composed of quarks or other subunits - LEPTON
8. a particle, or patter of string vibration, with half a whole odd number amount of spin; typically a matter particle - FERMION
9. chargeless species of particle, subject only to the weak force - NEUTRINO
10. chargeless particle, typically found in the nucleus of an atom, consisting of three quarks (two down-quarks, one up-quark) - NEUTRON
"We'll have to rehearse that," said the undertaker as the coffin fell out of the limousine.
A Little Something Extra
If you'd like to brush up on some words for your next game of Scrabble, here's a terrific site that contains a glossary of rhetorical terms plus it has examples of all of them! here
And how the Other Half live ... if you happen to be a cute dog herer
And a bonus ... If you've always had trouble with your spelling, or you're worried your children are being left behind because of poor spelling, here are 7 simple strategies to help" here.
Oxymoron of the week: Deafening silence ... the sound that follows many of my jokes!
Word of the week: Klammeraffe (n) this is the German word for @ - the 'at' or address sign used in email address. It was formerly used in signs to mean 'at' or 'each.' Translated literally it means hanging monkey, which is far more picturesque than "at" sign, don't you think? English seems to have let us down badly here, opting for the mundane over some of the more imaginative names
e.g in France it's called the arobas or petit escargot (small snail) and in Italy chiocciolina (small snail).
This week's Latin phrase might come in handy as you struggle with your rhetoric!
Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim
[PAYR-fayr ET ohb-DOOR-ah DOH-lohr TEE-bee proh-DAYR-eet OH-leem]
(Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.)
Did you know that you can have your very own Latin reminders? How about undies proclaiming, Bene est rex esse? (It's good to be king) Or a shopping bag that warns, Emptrix nata sum (Born to shop)? Click here for these and more: http://www.cafepress.com/write101
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Copyright Jennifer Stewart 2010
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
Copyright 2009 Jennifer Stewart Write101.com