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Art, Drama, Music and Books
Art, drama, music & books

'Taylor' Your Writing: Ending a Sentence with a Preposition Is Something to Think About PDF Print Email
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July 27, 2011:   Finish your vegetables.  Wait twenty minutes after eating before you go swimming.   Don't end a sentence with a preposition.  My parents' admonitions still ring in my ears.

It's easy in casual writing to find that a sentence has ended with a preposition:

"That is the door we went through."
"He's the one I'm disappointed in."
"Have you thought about the friend you are going with?"
"Those customs we disapprove of."
"Getting up early is something we are not accustomed to."

Then there is the quick editorial scramble to rewrite:

"That is the door through which we went."
"He is the one in whom I am disappointed."
"Have you thought about the friend with whom you are going?"
"Those are customs of which we disapprove."
"Getting up early is something to which we are not accustomed."

Rewriting in this manner often ends up sounding like a page from Shakespeare, and the poor reader is left without CliffsNotes.

Then I found it.  Shakespeare himself yielded to the occasional preposition sentence-ender:

My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all:
And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with.
--Henry VI, Part III (I.4.35-8)

Blissfully, the editors at the grammar bible, The Chicago Manual of Style, have deemed that "The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is, for most writers, an unnecessary and pedantic restriction."  CMS, para. 5.176 (16th ed. 2010).  Authors Strunk and White counsel that "not only is the preposition acceptable at the end, sometimes it is more effective in that spot than anywhere else." The Elements of Style (4th ed. 2000), 77.

In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, author H.W. Fowler explains that this rule was an attempt by writers to follow the rules of Latin grammar, but he then lists numerous writers from Chaucer to Kipling who have employed a sentence-ending preposition.  Fowler's advice is, "Follow no arbitrary rule" but, instead, make a conscious choice based upon the feeling the writing will elicit in the reader.  A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, H.W. Fowler, ed. Sir Ernest Gowers (Oxford Univ. Press, 2d ed. 1965), 473-75.

(I will spare the reader the more technical discussion by Fowler about never separating an adverbial particle from its phrasal verb, but he shows the awkwardness of trying to remedy "which I will not put up with" by changing it to "up with which I will not put," a remedy whose denunciation is commonly attributed to Winston Churchill, who is alleged to have quipped that an editor's rearranging of his words to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition is "arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.")

Happily, then, this is one rule that we can disregard in favor of creative writing and common sense.  I might just eat my dessert before dinner.  And skip the broccoli alongside.

 

 
John Paul Redmond, 12-Year-Old Concordia Conservatory Composition Student, Wins Two National Music Awards PDF Print Email

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July 20, 2011:  Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art announced that two national awards have been bestowed upon conservatory student John Paul ("JP") Redmond for his talent as a composer.

In the Junior Composers Contest of the National Federation of Music Clubs, JP was the Northeast Region and Incentive Award winner at the national level.  JP also won a competition sponsored by the new-music organization Composers Concordance in New York for composers age 20 or under.  His piece Clock and Bird's Peaceful Talk was performed by the ensemble Circadia for Composers Concordance's "Generations" concert on May 31 in New York City, which featured winners of two competitions, one for applicants age 20 or younger, and the other for applicants age 70 or older.

JP Redmond was born in 1999 in Newport Beach, California.  He moved to New York with his family in 2003 and is a resident of Hastings-on-Hudson.  He studies piano with Dr. Marija Ilic and composition and theory with Dr. Matt Van Brink at Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art.

JP has been an active participant in chamber music and musical theatre programs at the conservatory since 2008, having performed in three musical productions and three chamber music festivals.  He received marks of First Class Honors with Distinction in Piano Performance and Music Theory from the National Music Certificate Program.

JP performed at the Tri-State Certificate of Excellence Recital and Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in February 2011.  JP's hobbies include hiking, bicycling, cooking, model cars and trains, reading, and watching good movies.

Pictured here:  JP Redmond playing in a recital at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.

 
Womrath Bookshop Keeps Mystery Author Featured in Expensive Ad a Secret PDF Print Email

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July 13, 2011:  Writers are celebrated in Bronxville--reviews, signing in bookstores, lectures, and places in the local author section of the library.  Recently, for example, a former Wall Street figure who resides here, Norb Vonnegut, has written two acclaimed novels.

But one Bronxville author will not be celebrated by name.  His (or her) name is missing from the title page of a book that is featured in Womrath Bookshop.  The bookstore declines to identify the person.  The mystery author is hardly shy.  An expensive ($8,800) two-thirds-page ad touting the book ran in a recent issue of the prestigious New York Review of Books.

The ad singled out Womrath in Bronxville as the bookstore selling The Voluntary State, a "handsome collector's edition," for $25.

The book presents a "new political concept which stops man from being forced to pay taxes.  If taxes were voluntary, only those who elected to pay would decide how the tax money could be used.  Such an historic change would be the ultimate revolution for man, giving him dominion over his own life."

The book's libertarian theme is carried through such chapters as "Socialism and Central Banking," "The Federal Reserve," "The Gold Standard," and "International Free Trade."  A heavy 124-page volume of coffee-table dimensions, it is printed in large, widely spaced type.

A possible clue to the author's identity may be an entry in the international library reference source Worldcat.  It lists the author as a McMillan Adams, but McMillan Adams is the name given on the title page as the publisher, along with a Manhattan address.  No company by the name is currently listed there.  Nor is any person or company by that name listed in Westchester or New York directories.

Published in 1998, the book is available in six libraries throughout the country, but none in New York, public or private.

 

 
'Taylor' Your Writing: Embrace Creative Punctuation PDF Print Email

grammerbower1

July 6, 2011:  It's the end of the month, my article is due, and I'm traveling with seniors.  Lots of talk about digestion and ... colons!  Perfect.

Before working up to the colon, let's consider the basic uses of some of the other familiar types of punctuation:  commas, semicolons, dashes, and ellipses, each of which is used to express a pause of varying degree.

The comma, the most frequently used, separates a clause from a sentence and prevents a run-on sentence: "When I go to the park, I will watch the children play soccer."  The dependent clause, "When I go to the park," precedes the independent clause, "I will watch the children play soccer."  If the order is reversed, no comma is necessary:  "I will watch the children play soccer when I go to the park."  Commas are also used to separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction:  "I will watch the children play soccer, and I will go to the beach."  In lists, commas separate the enumerated items:  "The children play soccer, Frisbee, and baseball."  Note that the comma before "and" is known as a "serial comma" and is optional, depending upon the writer's preferred style.

The wonderful semicolon can link together thoughts that are connected but would be broken if written in two separate sentences:  "She wanted to go to the park to watch the children play soccer; instead, she went to the beach."  It can also be used in lists that have internal divisions marked by commas to show equal categories:  "She walked to the park; sipped a soda, ate some pretzels, and enjoyed ice cream; and then watched the movie."

The dash:  For a longer pause and more drama, use a dash:  "I will watch the children play soccer---but only if you bring along a radio."  Remember that a dash (called an "em dash" because it was the width of an "M") is different from a hyphen, which is shorter than an em dash and merely connects words, and an en dash, which is longer than a hyphen but shorter than an em dash and is often used to show a number range ("The final score was 22--0.").

The ellipsis:  Next, on to the ellipsis, a wonderful invention to mark a trailing-off thought, very useful if the conversation turns to colons ...

The colon:  Which brings me to my travels. The colon, that wonderful pause of pauses, indicates the main point or the example is yet to follow: "The park was beautiful, but the soccer-playing children wondered about the stranger: Was she there to observe or referee?"

A colon can also indicate that there are multiple examples to follow:  "The children wondered about the stranger: Was she there to observe? Or was she there to referee? Maybe she was a parent?"

So venture forth, embrace creative punctuation, and don't spare the colon.

Photo by N. Bower

 

 

 
Concordia's Resident Artists from India Paint 'Plein Air' at Bronxville Sidewalk Sale PDF Print Email

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June 8, 2011:  Greenwich Village it isn't, nor the Left Bank in Paris, but Pondfield Road in the Village served well as an artists' venue Saturday, June 4.  South Indian artists attending Concordia College's first International Artist Residency participated in a day of plein air painting in the Village. (That means "outdoor" for those who have forgotten their high school French.)

The program, as described by Concordia president Dr. Viji George, is designed to "foster cultural exchange and understanding, as well as provide an opportunity for emerging artists from distant lands to gain exposure to the art scene in North America, and share their work with American art aficionados."

If there were art aficionados along Pondfield Road Saturday, they were outnumbered by bargain-hunting shoppers examining sidewalk sale wares.  Still, the artists painted away and Patricia Miranda, director of Concordia's O'Silas Gallery, reported that several commissions and sales were made.

S. Elayarja set up his easel outside the Running Store.  This is his first trip to the United States, though he has visited Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.  One of his paintings provides the cover for a striking catalogue for the residency program, titled South Indian Neo-Realism: Tradition and Naturalism Revisited.  He teaches at the Government College of Fine Arts in Chennai, from which he received a master of fine arts degree.  He has received several awards, and his works are in private collections in India and abroad.

N. S. Manoharan occupied a somewhat perilous site at the entrance to the Metro-North underpass.  His easel faced across the roadway to the wedding gown emporium, House of Botticelli.  His watercolors cover a variety of themes--rural sites and linear figure compositions and drawings, as well as domestic animals, such as goats.  He, too, was graduated from the College of Fine Arts in Chennai.  His work is in the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and various private collections.

As did his colleagues, he visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and plans to visit the Museum of Modern Art and museums in Washington.  He and his colleagues report seeing no Indian works in the Metropolitan.

A third artist, A.Z. Ranjit, worked from the lawn outside the Bronxville Library, and his subject clearly was The Reformed Church.

Concordia's OSilas Gallery was transformed into a working artists' studio throughout the three-week residency and was visited on certain days by community members and school groups.  Some of the work they produce in this period is being donated to the college, and the proceeds from the sales of others will be split between the artists and the college.

The artists' work will be displayed on Thursday, June 9, at 7:00 pm, at a reception in the OSilas Gallery.  It will feature a talk on Indian art by art historian Dr. Ashrafi Bhagat, who accompanied the visiting artists from India.

Pictured here:  One of the Concordia artists in residence, A.Z. Ranjit, drawing the Bronxville Library.

 
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