Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 15, 2012 - Reference - 400 pages
14 Reviews

A writing handbook that celebrates the infinite pizzazz of verbs.

Writers know it instinctively: Verbs make a sentence zing. Grammar gurus agree: Drama in writing emerges from the interplay of a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb). Constance Hale, the best-selling author of Sin and Syntax, zooms in on the colorful world of verbs. Synthesizing the pedagogical and the popular, the scholarly and the scandalous, Hale combines the wit of Bill Bryson with the practical wisdom of William Zinsser. She marches through linguistic history to paint a layered picture of our language—from before it really existed to the quirky usages we see online today. She warns about habits to avoid and inspires with samples of brilliant writing. A veteran teacher, Hale gives writing prompts along the way, helping readers “try, do, write, play.” Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch guides us to more powerful writing by demonstrating how to use great verbs with style.
  

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This is the best writing book I've read all year. - Goodreads
A five-star, non-fiction reference book. - Goodreads
If ever, a book, a writer must read, this should be it. - Goodreads

Review: Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing

User Review  - Nilofer Merchant - Goodreads

Even though I've written two books so far and such, I struggle. As in: grope with the words, even the narrative, and certainly the voice. Writing usually involves little droplets of blood forming on ... Read full review

Review: Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing

User Review  - Kilian Metcalf - Goodreads

This entertaining and useful usage guide puts the focus on the verbs. Hale is a little more strict than some, but laxer than others. This is a good tool to consult when in doubt about a particular usage, but taken with a grain of salt rather than Gospel. Read full review

Contents

Introduction The Power and Pizzazz of Verbs
9
The world before verbs
23
Two Up Cup Tadatz Our first sentences
42
A new angle on the Angles
63
The tension between chaos
83
The dynamics of verbs
104
A rose is a rose is a rose Until it dies Then
127
Understanding the voice of verbs
151
Playing with participles and other
219
Pair a verb with a particle
242
Odd usages and other sources
260
Epilogue Got Style?
286
Appendix Two Each of these cases are complicated
300
Whats up whats down
314
Notes
335
Selected Bibliography
353

Time to master moods
174
Making the back end of a sentence
193
Permissions
369
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Constance Hale is the author of Wired Style and Sin and Syntax. She has taught at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and UC Berkeley Extension. She is based in San Francisco, California.

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