Bringing Back the Nom

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Under Balanced Coordination in chapter nine of Style, I have no idea what "a tin ear can distinguish which is which..." means. If you have the same version or understand the phrase, please help.

"An elegant sentence should end on strength. You can create that strength in four ways:

1. End with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or better, a pair of them.

2. End with a prepositional phrase introduced by of."


So nominalizations are okay now that they are at the end of a sentence and, at the end, they are actually the strongest word we can end on. Weird because I had gotten the impression that they were bad and hated things that we (as writers) should scorn.

I won't have problems ending with a prepositional phrase (perhaps I would if it were just a preposition), but I'd really like to try using that parallel or chiasmus stuff, though this will be harder.

Student Reactions

2 Comments

Tyler J. Carter said:

Very well put aja, and I did assume that writers were suppose to nominalizations should be scorned. But, I am learning through Williams that I have assumed to much.

Cody Naylor said:

Aja, i think a tin ear just means impeccable hearing... i feel like the sounds that went into a "tin ear" would echo and thus the owner of said tin ear would be able to pick up on the slightest variations in the two passages that Williams was referencing. That said, I liked your entry a lot. . . it seems like Williams constantly condemns things in one chapter and then praises and encourages them in the very next chapter!!

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