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Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft Lecture

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

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Publisher's Summary

Why do some lengthy sentences flow effortlessly while others stumble along? Why are you captivated by the writing of particular authors? How can you craft sentences that reflect your unique outlook on the world?

This lively, 24-lecture course introduces you to the myriad ways in which we think about, talk about, and write sentences. Reviving the sentence-oriented approach to studying writing, Professor Landon provides a greater context for what makes sentences great - and how you can apply these methods to your own writing.

You'll look at the kernels from which sentences grow - minimal base clauses - and how adding words or phrases creates larger, cumulative sentences that lead toward great writing. You'll explore sentence constructions that make writing more complex and add exciting levels of suspense, and see tactics that create balance and rhythm.Recognizing and appreciating these and other eye-opening aspects of sentences helps you understand the work that goes into creating an effective, pleasurable sentence, which can make you more aware of why particular lines, passages, or phrases in the poems, novels, or articles you read so enchant you.

Professor Landon draws abundantly on examples from the work of brilliant writers, including Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Johnson, and more. With its passionate approach to writing and reading and its indulgence in the sheer joy of language, this journey gives you unique insights into the nature of great writing-and also teaches you how you can achieve some of this greatness yourself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (471 )
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4.2 (419 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Hedrick 12-20-15
    Hedrick 12-20-15
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    "Good info, bit dull"

    I wanted to try one of these educational series books. Had some good info but over all a very hard listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doubting Tim 11-01-13
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    "Building better SENNENCES"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Brooks Landon?

    Yes -- have bought several and will buy more.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I think another reader of the professor's material -- one with a more subtly nuanced and inflected voice, without the Texan (or whatever it is) trouble with consonants and torturing of vowels, might be better. As it is, I am now using it to get me off to sleep at night (being a bit of an insomniac). I am hoping for subliminal learning! There was a VERY long-winded introduction that stated a lot of very obvious things. Examples are multiplied ad nauseam - so the good prof. reels off long strings of restatements and so on, and so on .... The words tend to merge into a mass of ... well, 'sennences'. There are no clear pauses and it becomes quite hard to listen to him to extract the meaning. These 'sennences' are often very long and convoluted -- better suited to the written word. For example he reads a sennence then says the proposition "might have been implied or acknowledged by writing this sennence in a number of different ways ... [he then reads off what seems like 20 variants of the same sentences, each with slightly different propositions] -- yeah, OK, OK, we get it."

    The underlying work (Port Royal Grammar, Chomsky, historical snippets etc) is really interesting but don't get much air time.


    What three words best describe Professor Brooks Landon’s performance?

    tedious soporific sennences


    Was Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft worth the listening time?

    Not sure yet -- still getting through it. Better as a book to read, perhaps. Especially all the readings of sentence variant after sentence variant. When you are READING, you skip over these at faster speed, just getting the gist. Here you have to sit there while he reads every one out to you.


    Any additional comments?

    I suppose 'Dubbya' for W, 'sennences' for sentences, 'idennifying' for identifying, and the rest are just regional dialects in the US, and thus seen as OK, but to an outsider they sound illiterate, or irritating at best, because the diction is not precise. This is exacerbated by the fact that precision in WRITTEN language is the goal of the course. I am not calling fore British Received Pronunciation, you understand -- just that this imprecise-sounding dialect is a pity in a book about writing. If it doesn't bother you, fine. But if hearing the word "sennence" makes you want to slit your wrists after about the tenth time, be warned, there are about 63,000 of them. OMG! In Part 1 Chapter 3 at somewhere around 1:30.00 he says SENTENCE very clearly! With a T! There might be hope.

    25 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angel 11-23-14
    Angel 11-23-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Not worth buying"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Brooks Landon?

    I am a big fan of the great courses, but this one just sucks! The guys voice is super annoying. He doesn't pronounce his t's in the middle of the word sentences, which he says every 10 seconds. This is just a really poorly done course. I would recommend "How to Analyze and Write About Anything" by great courses, but not this one. She covers sentence structure in that course. This one is a waste.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Brooks Landon?

    Anybody but him. He can't pronounce his t's. That's really annoying for an audio book.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No. I couldn't get through it. His voice was too annoying and the content is not practical. He just drones on and on and is completely off topic.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey 12-12-13
    Tracey 12-12-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Easy to listen to."
    Would you listen to Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft again? Why?

    The professor obviously enjoys what he teaches and that comes through in his narration, making listening to these lectures enjoyable and easy to learn from.


    What does Professor Brooks Landon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His enthusiasm


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Dembroski Prescott, AZ 10-04-17
    Adam Dembroski Prescott, AZ 10-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Poor teaching to explaining ratio"

    I could not finish, so maybe it improves, but I lost faith after 4 lectures of glorified glossary and repitition of examples ad nausium.

    Nothing stated in the first 4 lectures is instructive, only examples of the self evident maleability of English. I could only stand to hear the same sentence repeated with slight variation for 2 minutes at a go so many times. The point had been made the first time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Galloway Murray, KY United States 09-08-17
    Brad Galloway Murray, KY United States 09-08-17
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    "Too complex for the average listener"

    Good subject matter but the ideas aren't expressed in a simple, straightforward manner. I think if the subject matter was simplified it would be better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly S. Morris 08-28-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent perspective on sentence formation"
    What did you love best about Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft?

    I loved the entire book! It made me pause and reconsider aspects of grammar instruction. As a writer, I found it to be very insightful. I believe that by using this method of sentence formation I will create sentences that are more meaningful for my readers.


    What did you like best about this story?

    One of the things I really liked was how the professor gave analogies and creative examples.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Brooks Landon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I would suspect they are all good.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to keep listening, but I needed to pause in places to consider the points and strategies that were revealed.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are interested in language, this is a book for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Allen-Poole 08-12-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Good, but was a little hard at times."

    There were a lot of spoken repetitions, his attempts to illustrate differences in form, and style, and structure, and these repetitions, often, were not as easy to follow as one might hope, but I found the course to be an invaluable help, and am working to practice what he preaches.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-21-17
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    "landon teaches in person!"

    loved it. Landon delivers great teachings personally hearing his treasures of sent structure. hear it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FancyPance 06-13-17
    FancyPance 06-13-17
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    "Liberating - A Must "Read" for Writers"
    What made the experience of listening to Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft the most enjoyable?

    I'm shocked by all the whining in other reviews about the lecturer's accent. It's disappointing to see such linguistic intolerance and elitism among students of a course on writing. Of all people, writers and aspiring writers should have an appreciation for the malleability of language. Secondly, the value that this course delivers -- the liberation from the tyranny of uptight, macho concision -- absolutely outweighs any annoyance from the speaker having a different accent than the listener.

    Packed with eye-opening insights, clear analysis, and helpful examples. If you're a writer/aspiring writer, this is required "reading."


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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