Speaking Writing Articles
In the following examples the word or words in parenthe...
A conjunction joins words, clauses and sentences; as "John an...
Errors in ellipsis occur chiefly with prepositions.
These prepositions are often carelessly interchanged. Between...
Past Tensepast Participle
The interchange of these two parts of the irregular or so-cal...
Each, Every, Either, Neither
These words are continually misapplied. Each can be applied t...
Interruption In Conversation
Interruption, more surely than anything else, kills convers...
Choice Of Words
In another place in this book advice has been given to ...
A OR AN
Diction - Purity - Propriety - Precision.
A becomes an before a vowel or before h mute for the sake of euphony
or agreeable sound to the ear. An apple, an orange, an heir, an
It is the object of every writer to put his thoughts into as effective
form as possible so as to make a good impression on the reader. A person
may have noble thoughts and ideas but be unable to express them in such a
way as to appeal to others, consequently he cannot exert the full force
of his intellectuality nor leave the imprint of his character upon his
time, whereas many a man but indifferently gifted may wield such a facile
pen as to attract attention and win for himself an envious place among
In everyday life one sees illustrations of men of excellent mentality
being cast aside and ones of mediocre or in some cases, little, if any,
ability chosen to fill important places. The former are unable to impress
their personality; they have great thoughts, great ideas, but these
thoughts and ideas are locked up in their brains and are like prisoners
behind the bars struggling to get free. The key of language which would
open the door is wanting, hence they have to remain locked up.
Many a man has to pass through the world unheard of and of little benefit
to it or himself, simply because he cannot bring out what is in him and
make it subservient to his will. It is the duty of every one to develop his
best, not only for the benefit of himself but for the good of his fellow
men. It is not at all necessary to have great learning or acquirements, the
laborer is as useful in his own place as the philosopher in his; nor is it
necessary to have many talents. One talent rightly used is much better than
ten wrongly used. Often a man can do more with one than his contemporary
can do with ten, often a man can make one dollar go farther than twenty in
the hands of his neighbor, often the poor man lives more comfortably than
the millionaire. All depends upon the individual himself. If he make right
use of what the Creator has given him and live according to the laws of God
and nature he is fulfilling his allotted place in the universal scheme of
creation, in other words, when he does his best, he is living up to the
standard of a useful manhood.
Now in order to do his best a man of ordinary intelligence and education
should be able to express himself correctly both in speaking and writing,
that is, he should be able to convey his thoughts in an intelligent
manner which the simplest can understand. The manner in which a speaker
or writer conveys his thoughts is known as his Style. In other words
Style may be defined as the peculiar manner in which a man expresses
his conceptions through the medium of language. It depends upon the
choice of words and their arrangement to convey a meaning. Scarcely any
two writers have exactly the same style, that is to say, express their
ideas after the same peculiar form, just as no two mortals are fashioned
by nature in the same mould, so that one is an exact counterpart of the
Just as men differ in the accent and tones of their voices, so do they
differ in the construction of their language.
Two reporters sent out on the same mission, say to report a fire, will
verbally differ in their accounts though materially both descriptions
will be the same as far as the leading facts are concerned. One will
express himself in a style different from the other.
If you are asked to describe the dancing of a red-haired lady at the last
charity ball you can either say--"The ruby Circe, with the Titian locks
glowing like the oriflamme which surrounds the golden god of day as he
sinks to rest amid the crimson glory of the burnished West, gave a divine
exhibition of the Terpsichorean art which thrilled the souls of the
multitude" or, you can simply say--"The red-haired lady danced very well
and pleased the audience."
The former is a specimen of the ultra florid or bombastic style which may
be said to depend upon the pomposity of verbosity for its effect, the
latter is a specimen of simple natural Style. Needless to say it is to
be preferred. The other should be avoided. It stamps the writer as a
person of shallowness, ignorance and inexperience. It has been eliminated
from the newspapers. Even the most flatulent of yellow sheets no longer
tolerate it in their columns. Affectation and pedantry in style are now
It is the duty of every speaker and writer to labor after a pleasing
style. It gains him an entrance where he would otherwise be debarred.
Often the interest of a subject depends as much on the way it is
presented as on the subject itself. One writer will make it attractive,
another repulsive. For instance take a passage in history. Treated by one
historian it is like a desiccated mummy, dry, dull, disgusting, while
under the spell of another it is, as it were, galvanized into a virile
living thing which not only pleases but captivates the reader.