Rhetoric and English composition
1. Definition of Rhetoric. Rhetoric is the art of effective communication by means of language; or, more simply, it is the art of expressing, by words, precisely what we mean. 2. The Definition Explained: Rhetoric is an Art. First, notice that we call rhetoric an art, not a science.
The meanings of these two words often come very close together, but the main distinction between them is that science implies knowledge and art implies skill. Chemistry, for instance, is important science, the aim of which is an understanding of the composition of material things. One may understand the laws or principles of chemistry without acquiring any skill in their application. The various branches of engineering, however, as well as music, dancing, painting, swimming, and many similar kinds of activities, are arts.
The engineer, to a very great extent, and even the swimmer, to a very small extent, must understand the principles on which the rest of their art and these principles may be considered as constituting the science of engineering and the science of swimming; but the success of the practising engineer and the practical swimmer depends upon the skill with which they apply these principles. Now, rhetoric is essentially an art. In order to write well we must, of course, following consciously or unconsciously certain principles; but the knowledge of these principles is not the main thing.
The essential part of rhetoric is that we shall act, that we shall acquire skill in the application of the principles we study, in the practice of the art we are learning. an Art of Communication. Second, notice that the art we are to study involves communication, the telling of something to persons other than ourselves.
Simple as is this conception of rhetoric, it is one hard to keep in mind. A speaker or writer is often tempted to feel that his duty is done when his thoughts are so expressed that he himself understands them, forgetting that what is Sculpture, music, painting, and architecture are frequently called fine arts, because they aim not only to express thought or emotion but to give pleasure to the ear or to the eye. Rhetoric may be called a fine art in so far. as beauty is its object, though that is obviously not always the case. Rhetoric differs from the technical or practical arts, e.g. engineering, in that it is an art of communication.
It must be kept in mind, however, that the power of writing well is closely akin to the power of speaking well. We speak more than we write, and he who can learn to express himself well orally may be sure that it will not be a hard task to acquire a similar habit in written composition. On the other hand, a person who allows himself to fall into slovenly and ineffective habits of speech will have great difficulty in ridding himself of these habits when he turns his attention to written composition. 9. The Importance of Composition Work. From what has been said above it is evident that work in composition should accompany and supplement work in formal rhetoric.
I. INTRODUCTION I
II. ENGLISH USAGE. .18
III. INCORRECT ENGLISH 24
IV. THE SENTENCE: ITS GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURE . . 58
V. PUNCTUATION 74
V. PUNCTUATION 74
.VI. THE SENTENCE: ITS RHETORICAL STRUCTURE . . 94
VII. THE SENTENCE: ITS RHETORICAL STRUCTURE (cent.). 135
VIII. THE PARAGRAPH 157
IX. THE WHOLE COMPOSITION ...... 189
X. WORDS 201
XI. THE QUALITIES OF STYLE 239
XII. MINOR FORMS OF COMPOSITION 262
XIII. DESCRIPTION 299
XIV. NARRATION 330
XV. EXPOSITION 361
XVI. ARGUMENT AND PERSUASION 379
XVII. COMPOSITION IN VERSE 393
Words frequently Misused 411
Signs for Use in Correction ....... 423
I. Topics Treated 425
II. Words specially commented on 428
III. Illustrative Extracts 431
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