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The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A…
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The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent,… (1983)

by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

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1,038913,016 (3.88)9
For over a decade THE WELL TEMPERED SENTENCE has provided instruction and pleasure to the wariest student and the most punctilious scholar alike. Now Karen Elizabeth Gordon has revised and enlarged her classic handbook with fuller explanations of the rules of punctuation, additional whimsical graphics, and further character development and drama -- all the while redeeming punctuation from the perils of boredom. For anyone who has despaired of opening a punctuation handbook (but whose sentences despair without one), THE NEW WELL TEMPERED SENTENCE will teach you clearly and simply where to place a comma and how to use an apostrophe. And as you master the elusive slashes, dots, and dashes that give expression to our most perplexing thoughts, you will find yourself in the grip of a bizarre and beguiling comedy of manners. Long-time fans will delight in the further intrigues of cover girl Loona, the duke and duchess, and the mysterious Rosie and Nimrod. The New Well-Tempered Sentenceis sure to entertain while teaching you everything you want to know about punctuation. Never before has punctuation been so much fun!… (more)

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I bought this book thinking it might be a fun way for my 11-year old daughter, who is beginning home schooling this year, to learn grammar. She has been reading since she was four and she writes wonderfully, but it can't hurt to understand how the various forms of punctuation work. I read this book myself to see if it would be suitable. I'm not completely sure; the author has a lot of fun with a few sentences that definitely have some adult meanings, although I'm not sure an 11-year old could tell. What was most surprising was that the author's sense of humor and deliberate strangeness didn't get old after a while. Amazingly it held up throughout the book and I found myself smiling or nodding in appreciation of a clever or amusing sentence quite a few times. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of what a grammar book written by Edward Gorey might have been like.

I also can't argue with her rules for punctuation. There are maybe one or two places I think a comma would suffice in place of a semicolon--but I could be wrong. I'll probably pass this one on to my daughter later in the year after she has gone through a more conventional grammar book. Given that she finished reading all of Jane Austen when she was 8, I guess she can handle this. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 14, 2014 |
Grammar. That most hated of subjects - you either get it, or don't. Luckily, this book explains grammar using humorous sentences that both explain, and keeps a reader interested. And... its short. Which is always helpful. I especially love the illustrations. This is the first grammar book that I think I would actually want to use. I think I will start giving this book to high school graduates. It seems more useful than that Dr. Seuss book everyone gets! ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Mar 16, 2014 |
(Shelf-Clearing Project Reference Book). A charming and exhaustive guide to punctuation, illustrated with amusing sentences and archival black-and-white pictures. Ms. Gordon endorses the Oxford Comma, so this one is definitely a keeper. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Quick, easy, and helpful. Most importantly, the examples aren't made by unoriginal grammar mavins. ( )
  TJWilson | Mar 29, 2013 |
This is the kind of book the coolest of cool professors would use in a writing class. The language is hip and humorous, the illustrations funny and fabulous. While Gordon lays down the law about when and where to use an exclamation point, a period, a comma, or semi colon, I don't feel obligated to follow her to the letter (or period). I read The New Well-Tempered Sentence as merely suggestion; here's what you can do, if you so chose (and obviously I don't). Think Edward Estlin Cummings. Gordon is careful to use witty examples and whimsical illustrations to prove her points to go along with that hip and cool vibe. This is the essential reference book you have on your shelf and because it is so funky you are not ashamed to have it in plain sight. ( )
1 vote SeriousGrace | Nov 2, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I doubt that even my most hardcore grammar geek friends have ever laughed out loud while reading about writing properly. (I did while reading this one, and I got some strange looks from people in my vicinity.)
 
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I can't possibly give this book to one person, but certain sentences in it are for David Bromige, Judith Wright, Harold Schneider, Baillie Kay, Robert Bly, Carol Dunlop, and Kay Turney. For their ineffable assistance, I wish to thank Linda Purdy and Maia Gregory. And thanks to Paul Aaen Gordon for his definition of Time
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The period is used to mark the end of a declarative or mild imperative sentence.
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