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In the Mailbox

T.S. Causabon's online review of Ten Ways to Tighten Your Prose: A Systematic Approach to Improvement by Susan Ioannou contains a double inaccuracy.

1. Causabon writes: "Ioannou encourages writers to begin sentences with gerund phrases."

Not true. In the passage referred to, Ioannou says nothing about how to begin a sentence. Instead the point is to urge writers to "Dramatize the moment slipping by," using a gesture such as "Twisting her handkerchief'" Ioannou makes this intention clear: "The added gesture shows, not tells. The reader can see time pass." Causabon has misread the passage.

2. Causabon complains that Ioannou "relies on a level of knowledge about formal grammar that many high-school students simply won't have. Ioannou uses 'active voice' and 'passive voice' without defining the terms, for example, and uses 'pluperfect' as though everyone knows what it means."

What a sad (if inaccurate) comment on the state of English teaching today, particularly in conjunction with Causabon's own lack of grammatical knowledge. In the example quoted, "Twisting her handkerchief, she headed down the lane," Causabon wrongly identifies "twisting" as a "gerund," when in fact it is a present participle.

Susan Ioannou


Table of Contents

Volume III Number 11
January 31, 1997

Book Reviews

cdnThe Pink Hare.
Jeanne Willis. Illustrated by Ken Brown.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.
Preschool - grade 2 / Ages 3 - 7.

cdnCookie Count & Bake: A Cookbook and Cutter Set.
Debora Pearson. Illustrated by Jane Kurisu.
Review by Leslie Millar.
Preschool and up / Ages 3 and up.

cdnPaper Fabric Book and Fun Kit.
     Fantastic Jewels.
Jane Fleetwood-Morrow and Jaclyn Shoub. Illustrated by Bill Kimber.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.
Grades 2 - 7 / Ages 7 - 12.

cdnPaper Fabric Book and Fun Kit.
     Fabulous Doll Fashions.
Jane Fleetwood-Morrow and Catherine Heard. Illustrated by Bill Kimber..
Review by Harriet Zaidman.
Grades 2 - 7 / Ages 7 - 12.

cdnThe Victorian Home.
Bobbie Kalman. Illustrated by Barbara Bedell.
Review by Gary Robertson.
Grades 2 - 8 / Ages 7 - 13.

cdnRosemary for Remembrance.
Sonia Craddock.
Review by Joan Payzant.
Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.

cdnFalling Through the Cracks.
Lesley Choyce.
Review by Irene Gordon.
Grades 7 - 10 / Ages 12 - 15.

cdnTake My Words: A Wordaholics Guide to the English Language.
Howard Richler.
Review by Mark Morton.
Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

cdnAlmonte's Brothers of the Wind. R. Tait McKenzie and James Naismith.
Frank Cosentino.
Review by Thomas F. Chambers.
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

cdnScience Lessons.
W. H. New.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.

cdnThe Day Marlene Dietrich Died.
Rachel Wyatt.
Review by Deborah Mervold.

Video Review

cdnResolving Conflict Creatively.
     Negotiation, Conflict Mediation.
Review by Gary Sova.
Grades 7 - 12 / Ages 12 - 17.


cdnThe Best of 1996: An Index of CM's Highly Recommended Titles for 1996.


cdnBulletin Board.

If you would like to print out an entire copy of this issue of CM, we have compiled a text version in one print file (49K.)

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Managing Editor
Peter Tittenberger

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364