New Angle on Writing

"Your guide to Writing Empowerment"
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Imparting expertise and excitement about writing to students has been a task that writing teachers across the continents have deliberated on and debated for decades. At various times, their emphasis has centered on four key concerns: (1) on correctness of language usage; (2) on addressing the audience and community; (3) on developing a more rational, clearer intellectual stance; and (4) on realizing a more authentic, free-flowing expression revealing the personal voice and perspective of the writer.

These pioneers have each hewn new ground, brought fresh ideas to the ongoing conversation, and illumined us all with what to keep in mind when crafting a composition or staking out a sentence, along with reminding us of the overarching and subtle aspects of the relationships between language, reader, subject, and writer.

Surprisingly, however, few have put the sentence under full scrutiny by a comprehensive examination of its prevailing Forms. Sentences have Forms that can be recognized by specific key words, by a variety of properly placed punctuation marks, and by the positioned placement of its primary and secondary structural units. This book lays out these 128 Essential and Universally Used Sentence Forms, conveniently arranged in 10 main groups plus 1 group of lone rangers.

Take the plunge, get this book, and see and learn these Forms! In addition to giving you a repertoire to deploy in the field of composition, your handle on these Forms will greatly boost your appreciation of good writing, as these Forms – waiting for you to notice and recognize – lie throughout good writing as the hidden structural architecture of their writer's art.

A handy nomenclature will enable you to retain these Forms forever at your fingertips.

An Introduction to New Angle on Writing

Introductory Video:

This video features
Richard Dowling, one of the two authors of
New Angle on Writing, explaining how
the writing system works in practice.
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Introductory Talk 2011.6.4 Kyungbook University, Daegu, South Korea

____________Semester 1 New Angle on Writing book cover $19 + ____________Semester 2 New Angle on Writing book cover $13 = $32 →______________money well-spent!!

∴money well-spent for students' writing improvement → ∞ potential and a giant step towards universal writing ability!
Semester 1 and Semester 2 books have been reduced↓ reducedreduced
from $20 each (as stated above)
to $19 and $13 respectively!

Let not money be an impediment to your potential writing prowess — view and get the ebook free at the following links
New Angle on Writing (Semester 1)
New Angle on Writing (Semester 2)

Immediately below is the graphic for the covers for the first semester book New Angle on Writing.
Notice that the back cover shows a chart summarizing the four prevailing pedagogies of teaching writing.

both covers from *New Angle on Writing*

blurb from back cover of *New Angle on Writing*


higher royalties for us
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Preview the entire 430-page first Semester book here.
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so you will need to scroll down beyond the first 2 blank pages to get to the text.

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Covers of the second Semester writing book, New Angle on Writing (Semester 2):

both covers for *New Angle on Writing (Semester 2)*

blurb from back cover of *New Angle on Writing (Semester 2)*


higher royalties for us
lower royalties for us

Preview the entire 268-page book here:

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Companion Site:
The Two Hands Approach to the English Language: A Symphonic Assemblage   (
The site introduces our older sibling, also 2-volume work, The Two Hands Approach to the English Language: A Symphonic Assemblage(Volumes I and II) (2009).

This monumental work proposes and is the prototype for a new genre of academic scholarship, the assemblage – a genre suitable for the Integral Age now dawning and which incorporates and interweaves insights and textual keepsakes from humanity's treasured and vast past, across disciplines, yet held together with a unifying theme and guiding metaphor. Some (but only some) of the valuable contents of the 2 volumes of the (Symphonic Assemblage) are available for viewing at the following site:

In Our News

[2012 October ATLANTIC Magazine]

Learning a few Sentence Forms changes a school's dropout rates
"For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform." Click here for complete article.
Click here to read our response.

[2011 August 25]

Response to Kelly Coyle's review of Stanley Fish's How to Write a Sentence

Back in February this year, Hamline University writing instructor Kelly Coyle wrote an insightful and well-written review of Prof. Fish's recent book.

For those who have not read Fish's book, Coyle's review is itself an example of writing that perhaps says more about the writing process itself than does Fish's book. Coyle deliberates on what should be his opening sentence. Should it be short and to the point? Should it start with a modifying time clause? Coyle goes through several possible openers and very clearly explains the merits and drawbacks of each.

Coyle's description of this seesaw process of tuning and fine editing shows he is fully aware that good writing involves finding the best choice from among the many that pop and crop up during the composing process. In expressing his disappointment with the Fish book, Coyle says:
"You see, a while ago Fish wrote several editorials about writing in his New York Times column. In those, he argued, just like he does in his new book, that the form of a sentence is the proper focus for composition instruction. Much like what classical rhetoricians believed about eloquence, Fish argues you can teach students to write by teaching them to pour their ideas into the molds of well-formed sentences. Unfortunately, the notions of figure and trope in rhetoric kind of degenerated, like expositions of grammar often degenerate, into butterfly-pinning, and I don’t know of anyone who much teaches polysyndeton or aporia[2] in their public speaking course nowadays. What I had hoped for, I guess, was not an extension of his argument, or a further call to pay attention to form in writing instruction. I hoped Fish would actually begin to catalogue the forms themselves, to begin to set all of the available rhetorical variations into some sort of order."

Coyle expresses his disappointment at not finding an inventory or listing of sentence forms.
He then describes how when he was trying to learn to play guitar, he came upon a book Patterns for Jazz and how his daily music routine was to practice those chords (musical forms) over and over so that they would be there, ready for deployment, at the right moment, in the right riff, in the right song.

He was somehow hoping, I guess, that such a fundamentals book existed for Sentence Forms. Well, Mr. Coyle, the honor is ours to show that such a book has been written about the Forms of the English Sentence. And this is its home page.

Two Hands Approach concept manager and co-author Richard Dowling of the University of Maryland has written a comment to Mr. Coyle's article

A further comment deserves mention: Coyle's mental swapping and sampling of choices included what he saw as an important form, the
[although general condition] [exception to the general condition]
form. This form is in our Form 7AC (Adverbial Clause) section. There are 4 categories of Adverbial Clause Forms (Cause, Condition, Qualification/Concession, and Time). Under Qualification/Concession, we have the more frequent and casual though, the more formal although, and the more emphatic even though. Go to page 213 in the first semester book which is viewable in the second embedded scribd document above, and you will see the summary chart for that form with the 16 sub-forms. There it is – clearly organized and laid out for students to notice and to exemplify in their writing.
For those favoring a more complex analysis of this Form 7AC (Adverbial Clause Forms), they could check out the book Adjunct Adverbials in English by Hilde Hasselgård of the Universitetet i Oslo.

Although Fish, Coyle, and Hasselgård may all in their writings be more detailed, more erudite, more traditional, 7AC Qualification although, 2S Series Standard Series, 2S Series Triple Force, 5R Repetition Word we submit that our book is more practical, more quickly graspable, more readily adaptable8RN That, 2S Series Triple Force, 5R Repetition word for use in high school and freshman2S The Pair writing classes by aspiring3V Verbal Present Participle novice writers around the world.

The codes in blue are what we call the short codes and indicate the 9 various Sentence Forms used in the above closing sentence.


Making Writing Instruction a Priority in America's Middle and High Schools
The article at the above link describes – with abundant evidence and statistics from varied sources – the tragic absence of effective writing programs of instruction in contemporary high schools and colleges. Our program of writing instruction would immediately solve the long standing, vexing problem of how to teach all novice students to write reasonably competent, graceful prose.

Interview with Stanley Fish in which he admits
"I was inspired to write the book by the poor performance of my graduate students in a literature course. Even more distressing was the fact that these same poor sentence writers were supposedly teaching freshmen to write sentences. I investigated and found that out of 104 sections of freshman composition only four were focused on craft and writing skills."

"The quest of the individual must involve not only discovery and acknowledgement of what is given, but also the possibility of critical reflection on the practices and traditions within which one finds oneself . . ." John Horton and Susan Mendes in Alasdair MacIntyre After Virtue and After from After MacIntyre: Critical Perspectives on the Work of Alasdair MacIntyre

Nina Sankovitch on Stanley Fish's book
Ms. Sankovitch, who writes about the very many books she reads and for the The Huffington Post, sees that Fish advocates plenty of practice in basic sentence structures that with proper and sufficient practice will lead to more creative and imaginative uses of those forms.
"Lo and behold, the magic is not magic, but form and structure, then discipline and practice, and when the muscles have been built, then talent takes over."
"... Fish reveals – again using marvelous examples – how the full power of the sentence form is released when a seasoned writer twists the form into something new and special and illuminating[ed. note: good use of Lyrical Series!]: 'to refuse the confines of the medium and deploy it as a springboard to truths it cannot express...'"

But, Ms. Sankovitch, before one can twist the form[s] into something new and special and illuminating, one must assuredly have to know what the Forms are! And it is not so much a matter of twisting and transforming words on the loose that spin palpably waiting for interaction through their magnetic attraction to the force field of the page, as it is one of conscious and careful and creative casting of those (identifiable) Forms (there are 128 of them) into the emerging new weave. For sure, each resultant weave represents just one of the endless possible permutations and combinations (call it a kind of Sentence Forms combining) that could have been strung together. With added practice (as you mention), a writer starts to deploy the Forms with greater ease and almost automaticity, putting one into use now and in close tandem or proximity another one. Often, one does not first consciously decide to use a certain Form: they arise of their own accord during the composition process.

The writing process cannot flourish by letting students write willy-nilly just as they want. Yes, they can and should read excellent works by professional writers; yes, they should engage in peer editing and reading aloud so as to realize that writing involves making best choices. But, most importantly, they can and should put the horse before the cart and know that basic sentence structure training can move the cart of writing proficiency (a cart loaded with their and others excellent compositions).

The universe of writing includes the very important miniature universe of the sentence. In carrying forward our horse analogy coupled with our universe image, we could say that the essential Sentence Forms are as amazing a discovery as that of a horse nebula. They are a starting point, a bottom rung in the ladder, the first few steps for that beginning writer – once fumbling for words, now framing with Forms – who finds herself now drafting grace notes that mark and hold the meaningful moments of life's journey.

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