Note 5

1) Analyse the writers’ use of passive verb construction and repetition in the following examples (italics mine):

(a)We are made kind by being kind.
Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, 77

  • The passive verb construction is within the words "are made". This form of the verb expresses an action that is carried out on the subject. Specifically to this phrase, the subject is "we" and the act of "kindness" is carried out on the subject. It also shows that the subject is trained to be kind, which eventually leads to the act of kindness naturally occurring. The writer repeats the word "kind" enforcing its importance.

(b) They sailed and trailed and flew and raced and crawled and walked and were carried, finally, home.
John Knowles, Indian Summer, 4

  • The use of the passive verb construction here is to show the readers how the subject, "they", travelled a great deal; however, were carried home with assistance. The sense of anonymity is heightened because we are unaware of the subject. The effect of the repetition of the sound in the words "sailed", "trailed", and "raced" and then "crawled" and "walked" exhibits how the subjects travelled a lot and through different means, before they were carried home.

2) Analyse the speaker’s use of parallelism and sentence length in the following example:

(a) All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961

  • The speaker uses parallelism by including the word "nor" between each clause. The word itself is used to introduce and negate the following clause. Specifically in this context, the claim in the first sentence is that a specific thing will not be finished in the first hundred days. Using the parallelism technique, the speaker amplifies the task in a way that results in motivation. This is because it is followed by the last sentence "But let us begin.". The structure of the sentences resonate with the context. For example, the first sentence simply introduces the issue. The following sentence is longer which corresponds with the amount of time the task will take. The speaker uses a comma between the second and last clause to create a dramatic effect. The last sentence then is shorter than the previous as a more straightforward action.

3) Find an online advertisement containing visuals and 2-5 sentences. Copy the copy (see definition #3 here) to your blog and add a hyperlink to the full advertisement. Answer the following guiding question in 300 - 500 words:

(a) How is syntax used to persuade the reader?

This text is an advertisement published by the International Baccalaureate to encourage students, aged 10-15 to study in the Middle Years Program.

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