I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I was going to.
As a cognitive scientist with a professional interest in language, Steven Pinker should know what he’s talking about when it comes to stringing grammatically correct, easy-to-understand sentences together. The Sense of Style contains a lot of food for thought about what makes stylish writing. I was particularly taken by the early chapters, in which he refers to the classic style: a way of writing which helps writers avoid getting bogged down in their own words by assuming an air of authority, and by assuming that the reader is both intelligent and not hell-bent on catching the writer out.
Did you see what I did, there? I finished a sentence with a preposition. Pinker would be fine with that. He also goes to great lengths to explain why certain other grammatical ‘rules’ make no sense at all, and how, by having even a rudimentary understanding of noun phrases, verb phrases, and so forth, many punctuation dilemmas are easily resolved.
A thought-provoking and useful book.
“…wonderfully droll, witty and entertaining… At their best Carter’s moorland walks and his meandering intellectual talk are part of a single, deeply coherent enterprise: a restless inquiry into the meaning of place and the nature of self.”
—Mark Cocker, author and naturalist
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