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Publisher's Summary

Why do some lengthy sentences flow effortlessly while others stumble along? Why are you captivated by the writing of particular authors? How can you craft sentences that reflect your unique outlook on the world?
This lively, 24-lecture course introduces you to the myriad ways in which we think about, talk about, and write sentences. Reviving the sentence-oriented approach to studying writing, Professor Landon provides a greater context for what makes sentences great - and how you can apply these methods to your own writing.
You'll look at the kernels from which sentences grow - minimal base clauses - and how adding words or phrases creates larger, cumulative sentences that lead toward great writing. You'll explore sentence constructions that make writing more complex and add exciting levels of suspense, and see tactics that create balance and rhythm.Recognizing and appreciating these and other eye-opening aspects of sentences helps you understand the work that goes into creating an effective, pleasurable sentence, which can make you more aware of why particular lines, passages, or phrases in the poems, novels, or articles you read so enchant you.
Professor Landon draws abundantly on examples from the work of brilliant writers, including Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Johnson, and more. With its passionate approach to writing and reading and its indulgence in the sheer joy of language, this journey gives you unique insights into the nature of great writing-and also teaches you how you can achieve some of this greatness yourself.
©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Kazuhiko on 09-22-13

I appreciate long sentences more now

I am not a writer, but I bought this book because I am curious about how writers craft sentences. As the author clarifies early in the first chapter, this book is actually about building good LONG sentences. He explains how good, long, sustaining sentences are built. He cites many good examples from current and past writers. Some of the analytical observations and technical terms used to describe certain approaches in building sentences are bit too much for me, and I somehow doubt that Hemingway and other great writers studied these technical aspects of writing, but the materials covered in this book are still fascinating to me, and I now appreciate long sentences more. One small issue for me was that it took me some time to get used to this professor's tone of voice and his accents. You might want to check out the sample to hear his voice first to see if you are comfortable listening to the sound for 12 hours.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful


By Sher from Provo on 08-16-13

Worth Listening To

I loved this book. Dr. Landon brings things to mind about the construction of a sentence that I had never considered before. I am very interested in writing and have done a bit of amateur writing myself. It is something I would like to do more of in the future, and having read/listened to this book, I now believe I have a better chance at being good at it.

Dr. Landon is funny and serious, having a great way about him that holds the attention, which allows the learning to take place. This book is certainly not for everyone, but even if you do not ever intend to write an interesting sentence, being a bibliophile like I am, you may like this book because of the new, more enlightened way you are bound to read books. Hahaha, my sentences are still awkward, but now I have a pattern to follow that, with practice, will help me improve.

I certainly intend to listen to more of the "Great Courses" series. What a great way to educate oneself.

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27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Dottie on 04-09-16

How to write a sennanse!

I have arrived at chapter 8; I feel this is an achievement. A pretty hefty achievement because the narrator is punching my brain with side swipes in his pronunciation.

The word is sentence so why does he insist on pronouncing it as SENNANSE?

My head hurts!

Otherwise, pretty good.

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8 of 11 people found this review helpful


By Kitty cat 17 on 08-24-17

Couldn't listen to this

Would you try another book written by The Great Courses or narrated by Professor Brooks Landon?

Not by this narrator. I had to stop after ten minutes due to the mid-pronunciation. For an audio book all about sentences you could at least pronounce the word correctly! There is a 't' in it so why say 'sen-ance-ees'. It was so irritating I switched off.

Has Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft put you off other books in this genre?

Not really. I still enjoy books about language and writing. Just not this one!

Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Brooks Landon’s performances?

No! See my statement above re the pronunciation of sentences. It was infuriating!

Do you think Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes by someone who knows how to say sentences.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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