There is rhetoric in my writing

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

I’m reading some of Precious Nonsense by Stephen Booth.

One thing that really jumps out at me is the discussion of this sentence:

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

This sentence has a comma exactly where I would put it, but I know my friend, editor and co-author Natalie Sidner would remove that comma. Why?

The comma is here to indicate to the speaker that they are suppose to pause dramatically at that point. And I’ve come to realize that often I treat syntax as a clue for a speaker or actor, regarding how they should speak a line. My friends tell me that I am theatrical, I suppose this influences the way I write. I’m surprised I had not realized that before.

It does help clarify why Natalie and I have had so many disagreements about syntax.

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