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Resuscitating Comatose Prose with the Paramedic Method

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Sylvia Whitman

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of Resuscitating Comatose Prose with the Paramedic Method

Part 1--Method in brief:

1. Circle the prepositions (note prepositions connected to verbs and the infinitive "to" as well).

2. Circle any "to be" verbs.

3. Find the action and put it in a simple verb. Who is doing what? To whom?

4. Start fast.
Richard A. Lanham, Revising Prose, 5th ed. (New York: Pearson, 2007).
Part 2--Method in brief:
1. Read the passage aloud with emphasis and feeling.
2. Note rhythm and sentence length.
From William Henry Harrison's inaugural address (March 4, 1841):

It was the remark of a Roman consul in an early period of that celebrated Republic that a most striking contrast was observable in the conduct of candidates for offices of power and trust before and after obtaining them, they seldom carrying out in the latter case the pledges and promises made in the former. However much the world may have improved in many respects in the lapse of upward of two thousand years since the remark was made by the virtuous and indignant Roman, I fear that a strict examination of the annals of some of the modern elective governments would develop similar instances of violated confidence.
55-18=37
37/55=.67
lard factor of 67%
Resuscitating Comatose Prose with Richard Lanham's
Paramedic Method
prepositions
"to be" verbs or infinitives

It
was
the remark
of
a Roman consul
in
an early period
of
that celebrated Republic that a most striking contrast
was
observable
in
the conduct
of
candidates
for
offices
of
power and trust
before
and
after
obtaining them, they seldom carrying out
in
the latter case the pledges and promises made
in
the former.
(55 words)
An early Roman consul remarked that elected officials seldom carry out the promises they make while campaigning. (18 words)
Who did what?
Full transcript