Enhancing Expression Examples (EEE) #2

February 01, 2016 Gavin F

See how great authors used the English language in their own individualistic ways.

Half-way through my second year I wrote to tell my parents that they must take me away, because I could not stand life at Charterhouse any longer: the House had made it plain that I did not belong, and was not wanted.[1]

To make something plain is a good alternative to the far more common phrase: ‘making something clear’.

I am going to show a few slides, but first let me indicate the where and the when of the matter.[2]

As ever, Nabokov presents a novel means of introducing the subject.

Obviously, he could not make head or trail of the map; obviously he regarded map-reading as a stupendous intellectual feat.[3]

The expression ‘making head or tail’, which is normally in the negative, is a good way of conveying someone’s failure to understand.

It was a lovely evening and I had worked hard all day and left the flat over the sawmill and walked out through the courtyard with the stacked lumber, closed the door, crossed the street and went into the back door of the bakery that fronted on the Boulevard Montparnasse, and out through the good bread smells of the ovens and the shop to the street.[4]

A good example of the long sentence for the purposes of first-person narration.

So in a little while we were populous, if hardly imposing in detail.[5]

This is an alternative means of portraying the insignificance of something.


[1] Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That, (London: Penguin Classics) 2000 p.40

[2] Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited, (London: Penguin Classics) 2000 p.114

[3] George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, (London: Penguin Classics) 2000 p.1

[4] Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, (London: Arrow Books) 1994 p.57

[5] T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, (London: Penguin Classics) 2000 p.124


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