Customer Reviews


118 Reviews
5 star:
 (91)
4 star:
 (18)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, witty and fulfilling
This is a great book if you are at all interested in English and the resonance particular phrases have had and continue to have down the ages. Forsyth wears his knowledge lightly and what could have been a turgid over-serious tome turns out to be a bright, easy to read and absorbing piece of work. I have to admit to reading it today in virtually one sitting it takes such...
Published 8 months ago by Big Jim

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars What a dreadful thing to do to a beautifully designed book
I would have given this more stars (for the content) but Amazon spoiled an elegantly bound and decorated cover (not the dust jacket - the book has no dust jacket) by fixing a sticker that was almost impossible to remove and left an ugly stain in its place. What a dreadful thing to do to a beautifully designed book!
Published 25 days ago by Doll house addict


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, witty and fulfilling, 10 Nov 2013
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase (Kindle Edition)
This is a great book if you are at all interested in English and the resonance particular phrases have had and continue to have down the ages. Forsyth wears his knowledge lightly and what could have been a turgid over-serious tome turns out to be a bright, easy to read and absorbing piece of work. I have to admit to reading it today in virtually one sitting it takes such a hold on you. Don't be put off by the chapter titles, which are obscure (in the most part) grammatical terms or the "flowers of rhetoric" as they've been called. On the contrary, accept the challenge of finding out what they all mean, what relevance they have in literature and life, and prepare to be educated almost without realising it. Writers from Lennon and McCartney to Blake, from Shakespeare to George Lucas all get a look in here, so If you enjoyed Forsyth's previous 2 books in a similar vein then you will know what to expect. For those new to the author this will open your eyes in a most entertaining way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book you will ever read, 23 Nov 2013
Well OK that is a bold statement! what about Trainspotting, The Bible, Shakespeare? well they all owe a little to the writing techniques explained in this book. Some say that Shakespeare was a genius but would he have been quite so lauded if he didn't have his little bag of tricks? from Alliteration to Anaphora its all here beautifully and wittily explained and bang up to date with quotes ranging from all the major works, oh and Yoda and Katy Perry. The scales will fall from your eyes as each trick is revealed. I can't put it down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for any writer or lover of English, 25 Nov 2013
By 
B. M. Clegg "Brian Clegg" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I very much enjoyed Mark Forsyth's fluffy but inspiring earlier books on words, notably The Etymologicon, and his new title The Elements of Eloquence is equally enjoyable (and anything but a hard read). But it is also a book that makes you stop in your tracks. Because this stuff really matters.

Forsyth has revealed a startling truth that should have been obvious - in all those hours spent in English lessons we aren't taught how to write well. Yet there is a way to do this that has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks and that was, until it went out of fashion, a major part of the school curriculum - rhetoric.

Now, if you told me a couple of weeks ago that I would wax lyrical about a book on rhetoric, I would not have believed you. 'Rhetoric' just sounds really dull. As a subject, it sounds as if it would make politics look engaging. Yet, as Forsyth so ably demonstrates, rhetoric is simply the key tools and techniques of getting something across in words in a way that will catch the attention and engage the reader. Although originally aimed primarily at speeches, these techniques are equally important for the written word.

A couple of hundred years ago children were taught rhetoric - now we have to pick it up by osmosis as our English teachers rabbit on about 'what the author was feeling when she wrote this' or 'what the author really means.' How much more valuable to teach us 'what techniques and tricks the author is using to reel the reader in.'

Admittedly the whole field could do with a bit of a work over. If their science was anything to go by, I can't believe the ancient Greeks had the last word on rhetoric - there are probably key tools and techniques they weren't aware of. And the current terminology is horrendous. Forsyth points out that experts can't agree on what the rhetorical terms mean - but even if they could, many of them are obscure Greek words that are almost impossible to remember. If we were to teach rhetoric again, I'm sure we could come up with more memorable terms than aposiopesis, polysyndeton and epizeuxis (to name but three). But the fact remains that rhetoric is a treasury that most modern writers have never consciously explored - and our writing life would be much richer if they had. It's a brilliant conceit to do this, Mr Forsyth.

Is the book perfect? No. I find Forsyth's writing style a little too jovial and jokey, while some of the approaches he uses (cramming paragraphs full of the rhetorical technique covered by that chapter, and ending each chapter with an example of the next technique, for instance) are irritatingly clever-clever. For me, some of his examples of hendiadys just don't make sense (though to be fair, he says you can never really be sure this technique has been used.) But I can forgive anything for a book that has educated me more about the use of English than several years in English classes at school.

if writing were building construction, grammar and vocabulary would give us the raw materials and the basic skills to assemble them, but rhetoric provides the abilities of the architect. To write without an awareness of these tools and techniques is like expecting a bricklayer to create a cathedral. Anyone with the faintest interest in writing, or the English language, should be rushing out and buy this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to anyone who loves words, 17 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase (Kindle Edition)
Who would ever guess that the figures of rhetoric are the basis of so many speeches and sayings that we admire? The book was a revelation to me of the formal Greek ideas that underpin the more memorable lines we read and hear. It could be academical and dry as dust, but with Mark Forsyth writing it, it's laugh out loud funny.
Drawing on extracts from Shakespeare and John Lennon plus Dickens and Carry On Cleo and a host of others this book reminded me just what joy it can be to live in a literary world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But me no Buts. A Worthy Read, 28 Nov 2013
By 
JB (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Using a format rather like that of a cheery chat over a pint, Mark Forsyth attempts to remove the fear factor from that most alarming of subjects, English grammar. More specifically here though, we're concerned with rhetoric, or how great phrases are minted and why they work.

Citing The Beatles, Churchill and (mostly) Shakespeare, Forsyth is always illuminating and often amusing. Yes, he's fond of the sweeping statement, and as he builds up a head of steam the occasional error creeps in (it's doubtful whether Shakespeare would have been too happy with 'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow /Creeps into this petty place'), but possibly all's forgivable in the context of this casual and non-threatening approach.

A turn-by-turn run through figures of rhetoric, Forsyth beckons one on with the promise that memorable phrases are within one's own reach...let's deconstruct a Shakespeare speech and so detect the tricks which make it work; then you can do it too!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Elements of Eloquence, 9 Dec 2013
The Element of Eloquence is Mark Forsyth's delightful ode to linguistic style over substance. Using classic works (such as Blake's Tiger, Tiger) and the techniques of literary heavyweights (such as Shakespeare and Chaucer) to illustrate how phrases can be rendered instantly memorable and pleasing to the ear, Forsyth explains how following a few simple (and some decidedly complicated) rules can help you write with the style and panache calculated to appeal to readers. With The Element of Eloquence Mark Forsyth manages to inform and entertain; he's clearly incredibly knowledgeable on literary matters but he also have a very pleasing and amusing writing style all of his own.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Elements of Eloquence, 2 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very entertaining adventure through many words,and phrases, and not, on any account, to be read too quickly. I am enjoying it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 30 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase (Kindle Edition)
Never did I read so little to learn so much to learn to read more.

Seriously, this book teaches a lot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful: informative, funny and a deceptively easy read, 24 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mark Forsyth demonstrates how the tricks of rhetoric make words come alive and this book should be compulsory reading for every writer. He uses quotes from diverse range of sources as Shakespeare, Star Trek, Blake, Parker, Yoda & Katie Perry to name a few. It made me laugh and think and you can't ask more of a book than that. Certainly my favourite non-fiction book of 2013.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of helpful writing tips, 16 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The author of this book was on a radio 4, he was very bright and quick. The book is very readable with a lots of examples from songs, film dialogues and plays. My brain was overloaded with all these things before the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews