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Five Elements of Style. Diction. Word choice The foundation of voice!. Diction. Author’s choice of word Words are the basic tools of writer Reflect and determine the level of formality of a piece Shape reader’s perceptions

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Five Elements of Style

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  • Word choice
  • The foundation of voice!
  • Author’s choice of word
  • Words are the basic tools of writer
  • Reflect and determine the level of formality of a piece
  • Shape reader’s perceptions
  • Students should NOT skip words they don’t know as those might be excellent additions to a new writing piece!

Pick words that are clear, concrete, and exact

  • Lame words = pretty, nice, good, bad
  • A coat isn’t torn; it is tattered.
  • The US Army doesn’t want revenge; it is thirsting for revenge.
  • A door does not shut; it thuds.
topics and diction
Topics and Diction
  • Specialized topics may call for specialized language / vocabulary
    • E-mail, iPod
    • Jargon depending on the field
      • Science
      • Math
      • History
purpose and diction
Purpose and Diction
  • The purpose of the writing will call forward certain types and levels of language:
    • Inform – more straightforward language
    • Entertain – ironic, playful, unexpected language
occasion and diction
Occasion and Diction
  • Level of formality influences formality of word choice
    • Super formal writing (the stuffiest of the stuffy)
    • Formal writing (formal school papers)
    • Informal (responses to constructed responses)
    • Colloquial / Slang (notes, emails, texts)
denotation and connotation
Denotation and Connotation
  • Denotation
    • The literal meaning of a word
    • No emotional bias has been added
  • Connotation
    • An emotionally loaded word
denotation and connotation1
Denotation and Connotation
  • Compare the effects of the following pairs of words:
  • Thin…..gaunt
  • Child…..devil
  • Student…..scholar….sophomore
  • Teacher…..professor….sage
  • Automobile…….jalopy….junker….beater
what is the difference
What is the Difference?
  • Put a lid on it, for cryin’ out loud.
  • I will not respond to these stressful and unproductive outbursts.
  • I think you need to, like, channel that negative energy.
  • You best chill, sucka
  • Rewrite the provided text for another audience, experimenting with different levels of diction.
  • Sport report
  • Complaining blog
  • Technical manual
  • Movie review
  • ????
  • Facts, observations, and incidents used to develop a subject and impart voice.
  • Create precise mental pictures
  • Bring color and life to description
  • The more specific the detail, the greater focus on the object described.
lack of detail
Lack of Detail?
  • Can also state by understatement, by a lack of detail!
  • Choose details with care!
    • Add meaning!
    • Don’t trivialize or detract from the point!
  • Verbal representation of the senses
  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Touch
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Experiment with a variety of images
  • Purposely intermingle senses
    • Give smells a color!
  • Examine traditional images / archetypes!
s yntax
  • Ways words are arranged within sentences
  • Normal order is subject – verb – object
    • He handed the flower to her.
  • Play with the order, though!
    • The flower was handed to her.
    • A flower, the gift he handed to her.
    • To her, the only gift was a flower.
vary sentence lengths
Vary Sentence Lengths!
  • Help shift reader’s attention
  • Fend off boredom!
advanced punctuation uses
Advanced Punctuation uses
  • Semicolon
    • Way to connect two independent clauses
  • Colon
    • Sets up a list
    • Sets up a structure “as follows”
    • Information following the colon expands upon the first clause
  • Dash
    • Sudden change in thought / mood
    • Sets of a parenthetical part of a sentence
  • Expression of attitude
  • Writer’s implied attitude toward his subject and audience
  • Created by the following:
    • Diction
    • Syntax
    • Details / images
  • Understanding tone is requisite to understanding meaning!