Elements of Style

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					                            AP LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION
                                   Elements of Style
I. Style analysis includes:
         syntax
         diction
         point of view
         devices of language (alliteration, assonance, etc.)
         tone
         imagery
         figures of speech
         phrasing
         coordination/subordination
         selection of detail
         parallelisms
         repetition

II. Modes of Discourse are the major types of communication (written & spoken)
    A. Types
        1. Exposition
        2. Description (spatial order)
        3. Narration
        4. Persuasion/Argumentation
           a. persuasion requires a call to action
           b. both use the rhetorical appeals—ethos, pathos and logos
     B. Author’s purpose
        1. Exposition—to explain, to teach, to define, to compare/contrast, to classify, to question,
                        to summarize, to inform
        2. Description—to describe, to paint a picture, to portray, to depict
        3. Narration—to tell a story, to recount an experience, to entertain, to illustrate
        4. Persuasion/Argumentation—to persuade, to dissuade, to convince, to influence, to argue

III. Rhetorical Strategies are the basic approaches a writer uses
     A. Example—a specific event, person, or detail of an idea cited and/or developed to support
                    or illustrate a thesis or topic.
     B. Contrast/comparison—a method of presenting similarities and differences between or
                   among persons, ideas, places, literature, etc.
     C. Cause and effect—establishes a relationship: B is the result of A.
     D. Classification—separates items into major categories and details the characteristics of
                     each group
     E. Process—―how to‖ do something or how something is done
     F. Definition—identifies the class to which a specific term belongs and those characteristics
                    which make it different from all the other terms in that class
     G. Narration—storytelling with a specific point of view
     H. Description—writing that appeals to the senses
IV. Organization is the way in which a writer presents his/her ideas to the audience
    (Hint: look at transitional words for clues)
    A. Chronological (after, before, later, meanwhile, later, now, sometimes, soon, until)
    B. Spatial (above, ahead, below, around, down, here, far, inside, near, next to, parallel)
    C. Order of importance—most to least or least to most (first, latter, primarily, secondarily)
    D. Flashback or fast forward
    E. Comparison/contrast (but, even more, however, just as, like, on the other hand, unlike)
    F. Cause and effect (because, as a result, then, therefore)
    G. General to specific or specific to general

V. There are at least four areas that may be considered when analyzing style: diction,
   sentence structure, treatment of subject matter, and figurative language.
   A. Diction (choice of words) – Describe diction by considering the following:
      1. Words may be monosyllabic (one syllable in length) or polysyllabic (more than one
          syllable in length). The higher the ratio of polysyllabic words, the more difficult the
      2. Words may be mainly colloquial (slang), informal (conversational), formal (literary),
          or old-fashioned/archaic.
      3. Words may be mainly denotative (containing an exact meaning), e.g. dress, or
         connotative (containing a suggested meaning), e.g., gown.
      4. Words may be concrete (specific) or abstract (general).
      5. Words may be euphonious (pleasant sounding), e.g., butterfly, or cacophonous (harsh
         sounding), e.g., pus.

    B. Sentence structure – Describe the sentence structure by considering the following:
       1. Examine the sentence length. Are the sentences telegraphic (shorter than five words in
           length), medium (approximately eighteen words in length), or long and involved
           (thirty words or more in length)? Does the sentence length fit the subject matter; what
           variety of lengths is present? Why is the sentence length effective?
       2. Examine sentence patterns. Some elements to consider are listed below:
           a. A declarative (assertive) sentence makes a statement, e.g., The king is sick.
           b. An imperative sentence gives a command, e.g., Stand up.
           c. An interrogative sentence asks a question, e.g., Is the king sick?
           d. An exclamatory sentence makes an exclamation, e.g., The king is dead!
       3. Examine these types of sentences:
           a. A simple sentence contains one subject and one verb, e.g., The singer bowed to her
              adoring audience.
           b. A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinate
               conjunction (and, but, or) or by a semicolon, e.g., The singer bowed to the audience,
               but she sang no encores.
           c. A complex sentence contains an independent clause and one or more subordinate
               clauses, e.g., You said that you would tell the truth.
           d. A compound-complex sentence contains two or more principal clauses and one or
               more subordinate clause, e.g., The singer bowed while the audience applauded, but
               she sang no encores.
        4. Examine these types of sentence constructions:
           a. A loose, or cumulative, sentence makes complete sense if brought to a close before
               the actual ending, e.g., We reached Edmonton/that morning / after a turbulent flight
               / and some exciting experiences.
         b. A periodic sentence makes sense only when the end of the sentence is reached, e.g.,
             That morning, after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences, we reached
         c. In an elliptically constructed sentence words are omitted within the sentence and
             ellipses (…) are commonly used, but not always, e.g. Each singing what belongs to
             him or her and to none else.
         d. In a balanced sentence, the phrases or clauses balance each other by virtue of their
             likeness or structure, meaning, and /or length, e.g., He maketh me to lie down in
             green pasture; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
   5.    Natural order of a sentence involves constructing a sentence so the subject comes
         before the predicate, e.g., Oranges grow in California.
         a. Inverted order of a sentence (sentence inversion) involves constructing a sentence
             so the predicate comes before the subject, e.g., In California grow oranges. This is a
             device in which normal sentence patterns are reversed to create an emphatic or
             rhythmic effect.
         b. Split order of a sentence divides the predicate into two parts with the subject
             coming in the middle, e.g., In California oranges grow.
         c. Juxtaposition is a poetic and rhetorical device in which normally unassociated
             ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to one another, creating an effect of surprise
             and wit, e.g., ―The apparition of these faces in the crowd;/ Petals on a wet, black
             bough‖ (―In a Station of the Metro‖ by Ezra Pound).
         d. Parallel structure (parallelism) refers to a grammatical or structural similarity
             between sentences or parts of a sentence. It involves an arrangement of words,
             phrases, sentences, and paragraphs so that elements of equal importance are equally
             developed and similarly phrased, e.g., He was walking, running, and jumping for
         e. Repetition is a device in which words, sounds, and ideas are used more than once
             for the purpose of enhancing rhythm and creating emphasis, e.g., ―...government of
             the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
         f. A rhetorical question is a question, which expects no answer. It is used to draw
             attention to a point and is generally stronger than a direct statement, e.g., If Mr.
             Ferchoff is always fair, as you have said, why did he refuse to listen to Mrs.
             Baldwin’s arguments?
    6.   Examine sentence beginnings. Is there a good variety or does a pattern emerge?
    7.   Examine the arrangement of ideas in a sentence. Are they set out in a special way for a
    8.   Examine the arrangement of ideas in a paragraph to see if there is evidence of any
         pattern or structure.

C. Treatment of Subject Matter – When evaluating the author’s treatment of the subject
   matter, the audience must consider if the author has been:
   1. Subjective? Are his conclusions based upon opinions; are they rather personal in
   2. Objective? Are his conclusions based upon facts; are they impersonal or scientific?
   3. Supportive of his main idea? If so, how did he support his claims? Did he:
      a. state his opinions?
      b. report his experience?
      c. report observations?
      d. refer to readings?
      e. refer to statements made by experts?
      f. use statistical data?
D. Figurative Language, which is not to be taken literally, includes the following:
   1. Simile
   2. Metaphor
   3. Personification
   4. Hyperbole
   5. Understatement
   6. Paradox
   7. Oxymoron
   8. Pun
   9. Irony
   10. Sarcasm
   11. Antithesis
   12. Apostrophe
   13. Allusion
   14. Synecdoche
   15. Metonymy