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399. Write ten emphatic sentences on subjects of your own choosing. Be prepared to explain the syntax of every participle and infinitive that you have used.
123. Superfluous Words. Words which add nothing either to the meaning or to the color of a sentence should be ruthlessly cut from our oral and written compositions. A sentence cannot be effective if it is cumbered with words which do not have a definite part to perform in the expression of the thought.
400. Be prepared to improve the following sentences by omitting useless words, and making other desirable changes:
1. Referring to your letter of March 10th to Mr. Bates, I would say that he has asked me to answer it for him.
2. You can never rely on what you read in their advertisements. 3. The short daily items by Dunbar that appear every morning are always interesting.
4. With regard to the pages containing murders, robberies, etc., I do not pay much attention to them, but I have no doubt they make interesting reading to many persons.
5. If a young man will attend to his studies while in school, he will have a better chance later, after he graduates, to make a mark for himself in the world.
6. I spent last summer on an island in Squam Lake, New Hampshire. This island being completely surrounded by water, we had to reach the mainland in a boat.
7. Each and every one of us worked with a will.
8. Most all of the rocks were so large that they could not be rolled off the field.
9. Hawkeye was a man who was really white, but who prided himself on knowing more than most Indians.
10. A horse fell down into a drain which was being dug for a water main.
II. When forced to open up a penny shop, Hepzibah felt very
12. It is a poem that I have known for a good many years, and I never tire of it.
13. Two little twin brothers live in the house opposite to mine. 14. The government has established retreats for the homeless old veterans of the Civil War.
15. My cousin lives in a picturesque little hamlet high up among the New Hampshire hills.
16. It seems to me that I have seen you somewhere before.
17. The old widower was a man who had lived alone so long that he hated company.
18. Juvenile courts are as yet new experiments, but rapid progress is being made in establishing them on a firm and solid foundation. 19. James never appreciated at its full value his opportunity on the farm.
20. Will you be kind enough to repeat the lesson again?
124. Life in the Sentence. One great lack in oral and written compositions is life and interest, and in your study of the mechanical features of sentence and paragraph making, you should never lose sight of the fact that the real purpose of it all is to make you interesting talkers and writYou ought by this time to be convinced of the necessity of being able to speak with grammatical correctness, so that your listeners will not be diverted from what you have to say by the way you say it. You have also studied enough about the unity, coherence, and emphasis of sentences and paragraphs to understand that, without due attention to each of these points, you cannot expect to write either correctly or interestingly. But while writing, you should put aside all thought of grammar or emphasis, and try only to say what you have in mind with simplicity and directness.
Just because you do not always know precisely how you are to express what you wish to say, it is not wise to stop and wonder whether you can express it at all. As soon as your thought comes, begin to write. Begin as naturally as you
can-with the subject of the sentence, with the expression that will emphasize the main thought, or with whatever will best connect the sentence with what may have been said before. Do not worry about the middle or the end. With your goal clearly in mind, press steadily toward it. A good beginning and perseverance ought to bring a good ending. Above all, think vigorously and write rapidly, so that your sentences may have smoothness and life.
401. Make a careful study of the sentences in the following paragraph. Read them aloud. Point out all expressions that have life.
Rikki-tikki was bounding all around Nagaina, keeping just out of reach of her stroke, his little eyes like hot coals. Nagaina gathered herself together, and flung out at him. Rikki-tikki jumped up and backward. Again and again she struck, and each time her head came with a whack on the matting of the veranda and she gathered herself together like a watch-spring. Then Rikki-tikki danced in a circle to get behind her, and Nagaina spun round to keep her head to his head, so that the rustle of her tail on the matting sounded like dry leaves blown along by the wind.
He had forgotten the egg. It still lay on the veranda, and Nagaina came nearer and nearer to it, till at last, while Rikki-tikki was drawing breath, she caught it in her mouth, turned to the veranda steps, and flew like an arrow down the path, with Rikki-tikki behind her. When the cobra runs for her life, she goes like a whiplash flicked across a horse's neck.
- KIPLING, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" in "The Jungle Book."
402. Does the construction of each of the following sentences emphasize what is important? Can you improve either sentence? Does the paragraph contain an example of climax?
Nearer and nearer came the cloud; and the red glow turned to purple and the sun went out of sight; and still it came nearer, that whirling cloud-canopy of fine powdered dust, rising to right and left of the road in vast round puffs, and hanging overhead like the smoke from some great moving fire. Then, from beneath it, there seemed to come a distant roar like thunder, rising and falling on the silent air, but rising ever louder; and a dark gleam of polished bronze, with something more purple than the purple sunset, took shape slowly; then with the low roar of sound, came now and then, and then more often, the clank of harness and arms; till at last, the whole stamping, rushing, clanging crowd of galloping horsemen seemed to emerge suddenly from the dust in a thundering charge, the very earth shaking beneath their weight, and the whole air vibrating to the tremendous shock of pounding hoofs and the din of clashing brass. - F. M. CRAWFORD, "Zoroaster," chap. v.
403. Write a paragraph giving a picture of the grace and agility of a squirrel, or of some other animal.
404. After reading carefully a full account of the appearance of some character in a story, describe this person in your own way. You may use as much of the language of the book as you remember, but you are not to refer to it while writing.
405. In a similar way, give an oral account of the appearance of some person. Make your picture as lifelike as possible.
406. Write a letter to a real estate dealer, giving an accurate description of the kind of furnished cottage you wish to hire for the summer. (Consult Chap. VIII for help in making your letter correct in form.)
THE EXACT WORD
"The learner does not want to be made a receptacle of other men's words and thoughts, but to be made a thinker of thoughts and a wielder of words himself."
125. A Ready Vocabulary. Some of us little realize how rapidly we think. With the swiftness of lightning our minds turn from man to man, from America to China, from our own planet to the most distant star and the infinite space beyond. Thoughts we need not lack if we are awake. The difficulty is to put the thoughts on paper before they fly away from us. It takes time to do the manual part of the work. Or, it may be that some of us, even with good minds, do little thinking. We may not have a large number of words at our disposal. If we have an abundant vocabulary, let us draw from it freely and continually. If we are without this means of expression, let us make haste to acquire it.
To be sure, if life is merely eating and drinking and sleeping, we need but few words, and no matter what our native tongue, we can soon make our wants felt in any country; but if we care to be mentally alive, to take an intelligent interest in this kaleidoscopic world of ours, we must have at our command a large vocabulary. Our reading will introduce us to every form of life; our conversation will bring us in touch with many types of men; and when it