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A RHETORIC FOR COLLEGES
FRED NEWTON SCOTT
PROFESSOR OF RHETORIC IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
JOSEPH VILLIERS DENNEY
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH IN OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
ALLYN AND BACON
Boston and Chicago
The idea which underlies this work and which has given to it its distinctive place and character was thus set forth in the preface to the first edition :
Learning to write well in one's own language means in large part learning to give unity and coherence to one's ideas. It means learning to construct units of discourse which have order and symmetry and coherence of parts. It means learning theoretically how such units are made, and practically how to put them together; and further, if they turn out badly the first time, how to take them apart and put them together again in another and better order. The making and re-making of such units is in general terms the task of all who produce written discourse.
The task of the teacher of those who produce written discourse, it follows, is in great part setting students to construct such units, explaining the principles upon which the units are made, arousing a sense that they are units and not mere heaps or nebulous masses, and (hoc opus, hic labor est) correcting departures from unity, order, and coherence when such departures occur.
Work of this kind on the part of writer or of teacher presupposes a unit of discourse. Of these units there are three, — the sentence, the paragraph, and the essay or whole composition. Which of these three is best adapted, psychologically and pedagogically, to the end proposed ? The sentence may be rejected at the outset as at once too simple and too fragmentary. Moreover, as Professor