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Law Prof Switches from Chess Tactics to Writing Techniques

Posted May 12, 2011 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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People who want to improve their chess and writing skills might want to consult publications written by Boston University law professor Ward Farnsworth.

The University of Chicago law graduate has written about chess strategy, legal analysis and—his latest effort—rhetorical techniques. The Washington Post reviewed Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric this week, while the Wall Street Journal published its review in December.

The book has the names for the techniques and examples to help explain them. Polysyndeton, for example, is the repeated use of a conjunction, as in this example from Mark Twain: "A German daily is the slowest and saddest and dreariest of the inventions of man."

Anadiplosis is picking up the close of one sentence or phrase, and making it the first part of the next sentence or phrase. As an example, Farnsworth quotes a statement made by Marley’s ghost in A Christmas Carol about the chain he wears: “I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

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