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Style Analysis

Style Analysis

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Style Analysis

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  1. Style Analysis Diction

  2. Definition: Diction • All of the following terms are used interchangeably and all mean the author’s word choice • Diction • Language • Figurative Language • Figures of Speech

  3. AP HINT • Word choice is the most powerful element of style for you to understand. If the directions in the prompt do not give you any specific techniques to analyze, always address diction---you won’t be wrong.

  4. Word Choice • Many words in our language have strong connotations, and authors use them on purpose to elicit certain responses from the reader.

  5. Denotation • This means the literal, dictionary definition of a word. • Example: Plump and Obese • Both of these words share the same definition. (these are synonyms)

  6. Connotation • The implied or suggested meaning attached to a word, the emotional “tag” that goes along with a word.

  7. Example: Connotation • The word plump has the connotation of being pleasantly fat, almost cutely overweight. Its connotation describes women more often than men. It is this extra “emotional” feeling that shows how we use the word.

  8. Example: Connotation • The word obese, often used by medical personnel, has a more technical connotation. It carries a less emotional, more scientific emotional tag. Both plump and obese have the same literal definition, but the connotations are different.

  9. Connotation • Connotation is important because it shows differences between synonyms and illustrates ways in which we use a word.

  10. Example: Strong Connotative Diction • The boy surveyed the class, congratulating himself for snatching the highest grade on the test.

  11. Process • Once you identify an author’s diction, you must analyze it. This means that you write commentary about it. You must discuss the connotation of the word or phrase to do a good job of diction analysis.

  12. Word: “Surveyed” Connotation: Conveys the idea of someone looking around as if he were a king gazing down on lesser beings. Diction Analysis

  13. Word: “snatching” Connotation: Your Turn

  14. General Idea • So far, you have covered the general idea behind diction analysis. The next step is to practice identifying diction samples in an actual passage.

  15. The Diction Paragraph • To write a topic sentence for the diction paragraph, you would include the word diction and give a focus for the paragraph. • Sample: The author’s diction heightens the power and force behind the snake as it responds to the man, first placidly, then aggressively.

  16. Style and Situation • If you are the type of person who likes definite answers, style can be a rather baffling concept. • How do you know whether particular words, sentences, or figures of speech are a good choice? The answer is always the same: It Depends…

  17. Style and Situation • What does it depend on….or Upon what does it depend? (which one will you write?) • The answer is that whether a particular word, phrase, sentence, or figure of speech is right depends on the particular writing situation, or situational appropriateness.

  18. Style and Situation • Consider the situation where you might be required to write an analytical paper for a history class: • The need to write comes from the inquiry you are engaged in. • You, the historian, are the writer. • You may think that the audience for your paper is only the teacher, but …

  19. Style and Jargon • Specialized vocabularies that readers expect to encounter in the discourse community’s documents an that writers new to the community are expected to know and use. • Jargon is not a bad thing when used correctly: • Don’t use big words with no good reason “When my cat expired, I waxed lachrymose.” Simplify! • Don’t try to use jargon if you aren’t sure what the terms mean (don’t name a trope or scheme if you aren’t sure…better to describe the passage instead.

  20. What about You and I? • Is it okay to use first-person, second-person, and contractions? • The answer depends on the situation. • For most academic papers, the use of first-person is not appropriate. • In most academic papers it is also not appropriate to refer directly to the reader as you.

  21. What about You and I? • For most academic papers, the use of first-person is not appropriate because the focus in this kind of writing is on the subject rather than on the person writing about the subject. Also, it is not appropriate of writers to refer directly to their readers as you. • However, if the situation calls for the writer to offer a personal response, it would be inappropriate to NOT write in first person. • Similarly, if the situation calls for an open letter on a controversial issue to congressional reps working on legislation to address it, then it would be nearly impossible for the writer to produce a successful letter that did not refer to the representatives directly as you.

  22. Why can’t I use Contractions? • You CAN, if it is appropriate for the writing situation. In most formal, academic papers, and in business-oriented letters and reports, writers generally avoid contractions. • In informal papers and personal letters, writers should feel free to use the same kind of words they would use if they were speaking their audience face to face. • Use a contraction based on your intention as a writer and your relationship to the reader.

  23. Style and Passive Voice • Active Voice: • Doer Action Receiver • The lab technician filtered the solution. • Passive Voice: • Receiver Action By Doer • The solution was filtered by the lab technician. • What are three differences between active and passive voice? • But should you ever use passive voice? • Avoiding passive voice entirely is hard. In fact, it can’t be done. (notice the passive voice here).

  24. Sentences, Words, Figures Three broad categories of style help writers to analyze the style of a text and to make their own stylistic choices. Every choice we make potentially affects the meaning of a composition. • Sentences: Grammatical type, placement of details, variety • Words: Level of elaborateness and formality, difficulty, technicality • Figures: Schemes and tropes, figurative language

  25. Sentences: Sentences can be classified in many ways, and it’s helpful to consider the potential effect a particular type of sentence might have on a reader in a certain situation. • Simple Sentence: • Has a single independent clause. • Abraham Lincoln struggled to save the Union. • Within its single clause, a simple sentence can have a compound subject, and compound verb, or both. • Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson struggled to save the Union. • Abraham Lincoln struggled to save the Union and persevered.

  26. Sentences: Compound Sentence: • Has two clauses, each of which could exist as a simple sentence if you removed the conjunction connecting them. • Abraham Lincoln struggled to save the Union, and Andrew Johnson assisted him. • Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson struggled to save the Union and persevered, but the leaders of the Confederacy insisted that the rights of the states were more important than the maintenance of the Union. Complex Sentence: • Has two clauses, one independent and at least one subordinate to the main clause. • When the leaders of the Confederacy insisted that the rights of the states were more important than the maintenance of the Union, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson struggled to save the Union and persevered.

  27. Sentences: Compound-complex: • Has the defining features of both a compound sentence and a complex sentence. • When the leaders of the Confederacy insisted that the rights of the states were more important than the maintenance of the Union, Abraham Lincoln struggled to save the Union and persevered, and Andrew Johnson assisted him. Why should you be concerned with whether a sentence is simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex when you are analyzing someone else’s writing or planning your own?

  28. Sentences: Function grows out of form. • When you need to make a succinct point, often a short, simple sentence will do so effectively. A short, simple sentence can suggest to a reader that you are in control, that you want to make a strong point. Why might you use a compound sentence in your writing? If you are trying to show how ideas are balanced and related in terms of equal importance, a compound sentence can convey that to the reader. Several compound sentences in a row can tell the reader that you are the kind of person who takes a balanced view of challenging issues.

  29. Sentences: If you want to show more complicated relationships between ideas, then complex and compound-complex sentences can communicate the intricacies of your thinking.

  30. Sentences: A second method of analyzing sentences looks at them in terms of another important structural distinction: Loose sentences or Periodic Sentences. • Sentences vary along the loose-periodic continuum according to how they incorporate extra details in relation to basic sentence elements. • Here is a sentence with just two basic elements: Abraham Lincoln wept. A loose sentence is a basic sentence with details added immediately at the end of the basic sentence elements.

  31. Sentences: Loose sentence: Abraham Lincoln wept, fearing that the Union would not survive if the southern states seceded. Abraham Lincoln wept (basic elements), fearing that the Union would not survive if the southern states seceded (added details).

  32. Sentences: Periodic Sentence: A sentence in which additional details are placed in one of two positions, either before the basic sentence elements or in the middle of them. Period sentence in which details are placed before the basic sentence elements: Alone in his study, lost in somber thoughts about his beloved country, dejected but not broken in spirit, Abraham Lincoln wept.

  33. Sentences: Here is a periodic sentence that results from placing additional material in the middle fo the basic sentence elements: Abraham Lincoln, alone in his study, lost in somber thoughts about his beloved country, dejected but not broken in spirit, wept.

  34. Sentences: You can achieve sentence variety by writing sentences that move along a loose-periodic continuum. This sentence tends towards which one? Loose or Periodic? Abraham Lincoln considered the Union an inviolable, almost eternally inspired, concept. This one tends towards loose.

  35. Sentences: You can achieve sentence variety by writing sentences that move along a loose-periodic continuum. This sentence tends towards which one? Loose or Periodic? Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught philosopher, a political scientist even before there was such a field, considered the Union an inviolable, almost eternally inspired, concept. This one tends towards periodic. Details are in the middle of the basic elements.

  36. Sentences: Writers use loose and periodic sentences to effect changes in meaning. Readers use them to understand meaning more clearly. Recognizing and creating loose and periodic sentences enable the reader and the writer to make wise decisions about varying sentence structure for emphasis. The structure of the sentence also affects the pacing of a text. A loose sentence moves quickly, and a periodic sentence works with delay.

  37. Which is is: Loose or Periodic? Read the sentence from Booker T. Washington’s “Up From Slavery”. In order to defend and protect the women and children who were left on the plantation when the white males went to war, the slaves would lay down their lives. Periodic Rewrite this sentence in a couple ways, making it more loose and more periodic. How do the changes affect the tone, purpose, and the ethos of the speaker?