Arthur Plotnik

Resources for YOU!

I’ve recently turned a longtime dream into a reality: I’ve published a book of lesson plans for teachers who use Sin and Syntax in the classroom. This is something I have been working on since 2008. I kept adding to the lesson plans, teaching more workshops, expanding my dream, and imagining the day when I would stop tinkering, seriously edit them, find a copy editor, and put the materials into some more credible form than a Word document. This material is now an e-book.

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Calling all writing teachers!

Today I’m excited to announce that I’ve just turned a longtime dream into a reality: I’ve published a book of lesson plans for teachers who use Sin and Syntax in the classroom. Its 372 pages come with ideas for discussions, in-class exercises, homework assignments, handouts, answer keys, and even a big grammar test. There are readings galore, of my heterodox favorite passages (from Charlotte Brontë to Muhammad Ali!).

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The Irresistible Voice

A colleague of mine recently shared this story: “This afternoon I was sitting in a doctor’s office reading a random article about Utah hot springs in whatever magazine was on the table, and belly laughing. I read the lede: ‘I was floating on my back, looking at the Wellsville Mountains in the distance and dissolving problems in water the precise temperature of inner peace,’ and I thought: Chris Colin.”

We who know Chris and his writing agreed: he has a distinctive (and funny) voice.

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Exploring the world of verbs

Were the folks at W. W. Norton plotting a secret joke when they decided to publish the paperback edition of Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch on Columbus Day? By way of celebration of this event, I might start by jamming for the first verbs I associate with the Italian explorer: imagine, cajole, persist, dare, sail, lead, explore, discover, colonize. (And I will end by offering a free copy in exchange for some pungent verbs.)

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Announcing my contest winners Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, A couple of weeks ago, after I published the essay “Turning a Phrase” in The New York Times Opinionator area, I invited members of my Sin and Syntax mailing list (see the link in the column on the left) to send me their favorite dangling modifiers. Buy generic Retin-A, And I promised to award a book to the sender of the one that most tickled my fancy.

I have to say, Retin-A online cod, Cheap Retin-A no rx, some of the danglers posted in the Comments section of Opinionator made me laugh, so I’ll take blogger’s prerogative and list some here before announcing our winner, Retin-A images. Where can i buy Retin-A online, Morley, from Oregon, Retin-A use, Generic Retin-A, posted what he called “a wonderful phrase for illustrating the importance of placing modifiers directly before the right words”:

“The company's refrigerator held microwavable lunches for 18 employees frozen in the top compartment.”

(He’s right: “frozen in the top compartment” should have followed lunches, not employees, Retin-A natural. Online buying Retin-A, By way of comment, I would add that unemployment beats a job with that company.)

BBo Enter recalled a dangler that gave him a good laugh when, cheap Retin-A, Order Retin-A online c.o.d, as a teenager, he happened upon this sign:

“Leash Dogs to Protect Water Foul.”

(Is “Leash dog” a new breed of protective canine?)

Judy, Retin-A price, coupon, Retin-A maximum dosage, from Philadelphia, posted a sentence she has remembered ever since her fourth-grade teacher asked what was wrong with it:

“Hopping from foot to foot, Retin-A cost, Retin-A without a prescription, the crosstown bus came into view."

(Uptown, downtown, canada, mexico, india, Retin-A description, or crosstown, what bus needs wheels when it’s got feet?)

If Judy saw buses with feet, Retin-A results, Retin-A trusted pharmacy reviews, Jeff from Munich remembers imagining balls with limbs, after a teacher more than 50 years ago wrote this on a chalkboard:

“Donna saw the ball walking by the lake."

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Two more commenters sent danglers that set inanimate things a-walking, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. H.D, Retin-A mg. Get Retin-A, Stearman, from Grand Prairie, real brand Retin-A online, Retin-A samples, Texas, saw a coffin get up and make like a zombie:

“Walking past the cemetery, where can i find Retin-A online, Purchase Retin-A online, an open coffin frightened me.”

And Peter, from Ventnor, Retin-A wiki, Online buy Retin-A without a prescription, New Jersey, sent one that made me think “Money doesn’t just talk—it walks”:
“I found a dollar walking home."

Bill, Retin-A used for, Retin-A coupon, from Fairfax, Virginia, Retin-A treatment, Where can i buy cheapest Retin-A online, gamely confessed to a dangler he himself wrote. While in the Foreign Service he told an Administrative Officer about his travel plans:
"My wife and I will be flying to post with our cat in an on-board carrying cage."

(“Ouch, Retin-A pictures, Buy Retin-A from canada, ” Bill said in his comment. “I hate it when they scratch!”)

Kathy, Retin-A no rx, Retin-A for sale, from Pennsylvania, sent one in that reminded me of some of the classified-ad classics I printed in Sin and Syntax:

“He made a table for his aunt with wooden legs.”

In the same vein, Retin-A pharmacy, from a Lost & Found entry, is this, from Garrett in West Chester, Pennsylvania:
“Lost: Antique walking stick by an old man with a carved ivory head.”

Now, for the members of the Sin and Syntax list who rose to the challenge…

The runner-up comes from Peter Kingsley, who sent in what he called a “mangled prepositional phrase”:

"He leaped upon his horse and rode off in all directions."

Peter’s right—the phrase doesn’t technically dangle, but it sure conjures chaos. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The phrase “in all directions” makes it seem as if the front legs of the horse went north, the back legs south, the head east, and the rider—well the rider must have been really torn. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a double entendre.) For his effort, I want to send Peter a copy of Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives by my fellow lexophile Arthur Plotnik. (Forget “awesome” and “amazing,” says the jacket copy. Here are almost 6,000 alternatives to those stale adjectives.)

David Kornelis is the winner. He posted his example in the Comments of my Opinionator essay after he sent it to me:

"This is a Hybrid Multi-channel SACD, which plays on any CD player. However, when played on an SACD player, the listener will hear the exceptional audio resolution that only a DSD recording can provide."

David wrote that he found the quote on the cover of a CD by the South Dakota Chorale, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. The CD was called In Paradisum. All I can say is that the way “into paradise” is not being put on or into an audio player.

David will receive a copy of 642 Things to Write About, created by members of the San Francisco Writers Grotto and published by Chronicle Books.

Look for a different kind of book giveaway for subscribers soon, and in the meantime, feel free to add more danglers in the comments below. Also, give me your opinion: should writers worry about this kind of syntactical mistake.


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Buy Cafergot Without Prescription, When it comes to adjectives, editors love to quote Mark Twain, who is said to have told a young writer, “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” The language maven Ben Yagoda even used that quote as the title of a grammar book (which is quite good, BTW). Cafergot gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, Some writing coaches I know tell their clients to scrub the adjectives from their paragraphs.

But hang on, no prescription Cafergot online. Online Cafergot without a prescription, Adjectives make up an important class of words in our language (unlike, say, Cafergot schedule, Order Cafergot from United States pharmacy, prepositions, which hardly inspire awe), Cafergot from canadian pharmacy. Cafergot coupon, Linguists rank adjectives right up there with nouns, verbs, herbal Cafergot, Australia, uk, us, usa, and adverbs as one of the four major word classes in English. Each of these classes plays a different lead role in the drama of a sentence: nouns are the actors, verbs are the actions, adverbs give the actions shape, and adjectives give us a clearer sense of the actors, Buy Cafergot Without Prescription.

Adjectives, Cafergot results, Cafergot maximum dosage, used discreetly, make descriptions come alive, low dose Cafergot. Cafergot pics, Take Jonathan Raban’s “deep episcopal purple,” which describes the color of the sky as the sun sets over a barren landscape in his book Bad Land, order Cafergot online c.o.d. Generic Cafergot, What a fresh way to describe such a cliché subject!  “Episcopal” names an exact shade of purple (the color of a bishop’s cassock, or a priest’s vestments on particular holy days), get Cafergot. Cafergot steet value, It also subtly spins a thread between the sunset and a religious experience in the reader’s mind. Buy Cafergot Without Prescription, The most evocative adjectives leave room for the reader’s imagination, allowing different associations and interpretations, without departing from the writer’s overall idea.

The real danger in using an adjective—and really any word—is overusing it until it loses its oomph, Cafergot for sale, Is Cafergot addictive, until it cannot paint a picture of its subject (or even touch the brush to the canvas). Arthur Plotnik has written an entire book on tantalizing adjectives of praise precisely because of the ones that make his skin crawl: great, Cafergot pictures, Cafergot schedule, fabulous, and terrific, Cafergot class, Cafergot use, along with their cousins amazing, awesome, taking Cafergot, Purchase Cafergot online no prescription, and unbelievable. Called Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives, about Cafergot, Cafergot gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release,   the book lists—starting with “all-bets-off best” and ending with “zhooshy”—the most mind-marmalizing, wit-sharpening, order Cafergot from United States pharmacy, After Cafergot, noodle-frying, brains-into-putty astonishing adjectives, Cafergot price, coupon. Buy Cafergot online cod, (Here's a WBUR interview about the book.)

Of course, some situations call for more subtle superlatives, Cafergot description. William Carlos Williams’ red wheelbarrow next to the white chickens in his famous poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” gets at an image by appealing to the reader’s senses, Buy Cafergot Without Prescription. Cafergot from canada, Nothing actually happens in the poem; the point is to transport you to this scene. Without the simple adjectives conveying color, real brand Cafergot online, Kjøpe Cafergot på nett, köpa Cafergot online, the poem wouldn’t be able to take you there.  

Then there are the “angelheaded hipsters” from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. He crafted an adjective from two nouns to describe denizens of San Francisco, no prescription Cafergot online, Ordering Cafergot online, “burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.”

What adjectives have knocked your socks off. Add a comment, Cafergot long term. Online buy Cafergot without a prescription, I will send a copy of Better Than Great as a reward for the most zhooshy example.

 {And thanks to poet Ava Sayaka Rosen, discount Cafergot, who lent her favorite examples to this post.}


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