Bodies of Syntax

Four Aspects of Sin and Syntax

I am reading Constance Hale’s Sin and Syntax with my English Grammar students.  Hale takes syntactical elements a chapter at a time in the first part titled “Words.”  Part 2 is on sentences, and Part 3 tackles the music of prose.  And in each chapter, she parses basic parts of speech or sentence types or prose style according to these four topics: bones (or the rules), flesh (or lessons with examples), cardinal sins (or errors), and carnal pleasures (or how breaking the rules leads to new joys and beauty).

I especially like this from the introduction:  “This book will show you how to avoid bonehead mistakes, but, more importantly, it’ll show you how to make some sinful mischief.”

And this from Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s Foreword: “We may not know what we’re going to say (it’s much more fun when we don’t!), and the many ways of combining words help us discover meanings hidden in our own minds.”

I like breathing this book into my life.