Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reading Like a Writer #5: The Atlantic

1. Notice a Passage: This passage comes from an artilce in The Atlantic entitled "Word Fugitives."

2. Passage: Now Michael McWatters, of New York City, writes, “I use a computer for the better part of my waking life, and I’ve noticed that certain repetitive keyboard tasks are making their way into my noncomputer life. For example, I recently knocked a jar off the counter, and a little voice inside yelped, Command-Z! (the keyboard shortcut for Undo). Ditto for the time I accidentally ripped a page in a book. A friend mentioned that she recently lost her keys and thought, Command-F (Find). There should be a term for this confusion, as it’s only going to become more common.”

3. Name: The author uses a declaration, that I find hilarious!

4. Evaluate: As the author postulates on how sometimes language falls short in some instances, the author creates a great deal of humor with the verbs that are used and the inclusion of a declaration. The phrase: "a little voice inside yelped, Command-Z!" is carefully crafted to create a humorous effect. The verb "yelped" is so descriptive and works really well. Then having the phrase that was yelped come directly after, "Command-Z," emphasizes this phrase and magically creates humor for me!

5. Imitate: As I wandered down the street, I noticed piles and piles of leaves. I knew I shouldn't, but a little voice inside me urged, "Jump!" It was inevitable now. I felt my legs bending and springing into the pile of crunchy fall leaves.

6. Using it: Well, this one is hard because I need to somehow become witty. But the idea of using descriptive verbs and then putting short emphatic statements after them could be used to create humorous and dramatic effects. I will have to practice this one!

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