Periodic Sentences

Experimenting with rhetoric today, on a pass-through of a first draft. Here’s the original:

Inside is a labyrinth crammed with bookshelves, floor-to-ceiling, with corridors just wide enough to maneuver a book cart. The overhead lights cast yellow beams and shadows all over the place. The room smells of ink and paper. Wet ink, not just from the books. It’s secluded, it’s probably impossible to hear anything in hear from the outside, and there are no cameras.

Here’s the new version:

Inside a labyrinth, crammed floor-to-ceiling with bookshelves, corridors just wide enough to maneuver a cart, overhead lights that cast withered rays and wicked shadows, the aroma of dust and ink and disregard, tucked away treasures and slumbering secrets, the dreams and nightmares of prey and predator, secluded, silent, and shut off from the world, awaits me in his lair.


Language Rules We Didn’t Know We Knew

So, you may seen the Twitter post making it’s way around claiming there are rules about language we didn’t know we knew. It’s from the book, The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth.

Here is a BBC article on the viral post, and here is the paragraph in question:

Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.