Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style

By Virginia Tufte

A book that takes us behind the scenes of how and why words and sentences work, in precise detail.

It’s meant to serve as inspiration and example for writers, presenting a set of “creative strategies” through hundreds of diverse example sentences and analyses thereof. A taxonomy of forms, but also more…about not just words, but words as tools, and particular strategies for their use.

Reviews describe how the book is “as unique as it is superb…[it] lays out the author’s own very special understanding of how sentences work and what they can do.” And: it “allows us to see ‘through’ any narrative…past any ‘meaning’ to the bones of the structure.” This structural, syntactic power of course lies at the root of how we use language, but the exact processes by which this works aren’t often so clearly illuminated.

Its fourteen chapters are each “organized around a syntactic concept” such as: Short Sentences, Noun Phrases, Adjectives and Adverbs, Sentence Openers and Inversion, The Appositive, Parallelism, and plenty more.

It’s meticulously designed, and copiously strewn with examples; wonderful examples; a wealth of words and the beauty and power possible in their arrangement as demonstrated by diverse masters and explicated by another. Such great fun for language lovers!

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