Prof. Trump’s Writing Lesson

3 Apr

Today, a lesson in powerful writing from Donald Trump.

Donald Trump

Who?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It surely wasn’t his intent to instruct anyone about anything in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.  But look at this analysis from digg.com of Trump’s answer to Kimmel’s question, “Isn’t it un-American and wrong to discriminate against people based on their religion?”

 

What Trump Knows About Sentences

Trump knows, or at least senses, that placing a word at the end of a sentence lends it more weight than if the same word appeared in the middle.  This is precisely what William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White  advise in Elements of Style, under  Elementary Rules of Composition:

22. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

Elements of StyleThe proper place in the sentence for the word or group of words that the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end.

 


Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time, though it has advanced in many other ways.

Since that time, humanity has advanced in many ways, but it has hardly advanced in fortitude.

This steel is principally used for making razors, because of its hardness.

Because of its hardness, this steel is used principally for making razors.

(William Strunk, W., Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, Third Edition. 1979, p. 32)

Extra Credit!

For extra credit, compare that entry from 1979 with the same item in first version of the book that appeared by Strunk alone in 1918.

Strunk, Elements of Style 1st edition

18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

The proper place for the word, or group of words, which the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end of the sentence.

 

Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time, though it has advanced in many other ways.

Humanity, since that time, has advanced in many other ways, but it has hardly advanced in fortitude.

This steel is principally used for making razors, because of its hardness.

Because of its hardness, this steel is principally used in making razors.

The changes are subtle. Do you think they make it stronger?

 

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