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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 4, 2011 30 Shevat, 5771

Good Writing Needs a Tiger Mom

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We're moving swiftly into post-literate America, and more's the pity. Many of us can't write a coherent, straightforward, easy-to-read sentence. Nobody but a Tiger mother seems interested in teaching her cubs how to write clearly.

The ubiquitous e-mail message had just about done the language in, and then came texting and Twittering, with its abbreviations and inane speech conventions. OMG, soon we'll all have sore thumbs and speak only a version of pidgin.

Pidgin is OK if you're a backwoodsman in New Guinea come to town to buy tobacco and beans and neither you nor the storekeeper speak the other's language, but it's not what parents send their kids to Harvard (or Southwest Missouri State) to learn. We're waking up to the hard fact that our kids are woefully deficient in math and science, and next must follow the realization that reading and good writing are necessary to learning math and science. Students in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan, whence come so much of our imported talent in the sciences, are far ahead of us already.

"The race to the top starts with knowing where we stand and how high the bar is over which we need to jump," Gary Phillips of the American Institutes for Research said not long ago in a new report on international benchmarks in math. "We are shooting for a B."

Elementary school students in the top Asian nations typically scored a B or B-plus in science and math classes, as measured in a study by an organization called Trends in International Mathematics and Science. American kids in 49 states scored no higher than a cumulative C-plus. Only in Massachusetts did they score a B.

Even that does not take into account the curse of grade inflation. Fads rule in the academy, and the latest fad among English teachers — who ought to be concerned with teaching the clear writing necessary to dealing with math and science — is to belittle Strunk and White, the authors of a little book, the "Elements of Style," which has been the best known guide to effective writing — not necessarily literature — for nearly a century.

This little book has sold 10 million copies. William Strunk Jr. was a professor of English at Cornell University at the time of World War I, and E.B. White, once his pupil, was for years a writer for the New Yorker magazine. He was the author of the children's classic "Charlotte's Web."

The latest skeptic of this guide to good writing is Stanley Fish, a professor of humanities and law at Florida International University and a columnist for The New York Times. He doesn't like Strunk and White's rules for good writing, which he regards as picayune and elementary. He's also got a new book out, "How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One." (But he likes Charles Portis and "True Grit," which certainly would have delighted Strunk and White.)

Strunk and White offend certain professors because their "brief for brevity," as one critic calls it, teaches in 43 brief pages what learned professors often fail to do in two semesters. Fish's scorn for Strunk, White and "Elements of Style" follows an attack by Geoffrey Pullum, a professor of linguistics and English at the University of Edinburgh.

Pullum disdains the celebration of 50 years "of the overopinionated and underinformed angst. I've spent too much of my scholarly life studying English grammar in a serious way. English syntax is a deep and interesting subject. It is much too important to be reduced to a bunch of trivial don't-do-this prescriptions by a pair of idiosyncratic bumblers who can't even tell when they've broken their own misbegotten rules."

It's the simplicity and utility of "the little book" that offend the professors — Strunk and White's preference for the standard to the offbeat. "Vigorous writing is concise," they wrote. "When a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter." And this: "Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome and sometimes nauseating."

Strunk and White hardly set out to produce an F. Scott Fitzgerald, a John Updike or a Charles Portis, but to teach college students (and others who want to tap into the occasional magic of the written word) how to express themselves effectively. Somewhere, an aspiring author of a computer manual might learn a thing or two. The reader, they wrote, is usually lost in a jungle of badly written prose and appreciates all the help he can get.

Strunk and White appreciated the unexpected magic of words, too. Armed with a few rules for good writing and elevated by high purpose, White writes in his updating of Strunk's classic that the writer might pattern himself on the cow in the Robert Louis Stevenson rhyme. "This friendly and commendable animal, you may recall, was 'blown about by all the winds that pass/ and wet with all the showers.' Stevenson, working in a plainer style, said it with felicity, and suddenly one cow, out of so many, received the gift of immortality."

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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