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Event review: The Secrets of Syntax by Frances Peck

Written by Eva van Emden; copy edited by Rebecca A. Coates

On April 22, a roomful of editors got together to talk about syntax—the order of words in a sentence. This may seem like an obscure topic to spend a day thinking about, but consider how many memorable sayings stick in your mind because of a magic combination of word order, rhythm, and repetition. Would we be able to quote the sentence “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” if it didn’t use rhythm and repetition—syntactic elements—so effectively?

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Meet the instructor: Frances Peck

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Meagan Kus

On Saturday, April 22, Editors BC will present Frances Peck, who will give a full-day workshop called The Secrets of Syntax. In this workshop, participants will look at syntax from various angles and explore how to shape it for different kinds of texts, styles, and readers.

Frances Peck is a Certified Professional Editor (Hon.) and writer who has worked with words for over 25 years. She prepared the Canadian edition of The St. Martin’s Workbook, a grammar exercise book; co-authored the popular HyperGrammar website; and wrote Peck’s English Pointers, a collection of articles and quizzes available on the Language Portal of Canada. A partner with West Coast Editorial Associates, Frances teaches at Douglas College and UBC and gives workshops across Canada. She is also a sometime blogger and a fiction writer.

Carl Rosenberg, a volunteer on Editors BC’s communications and social media committee, spoke to Frances about her work on language and syntax. 

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April 22, 2017: The Secrets of Syntax

What: Editors BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Room 810, 8th floor, BCIT Downtown Campus, 555 Seymour Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: $165 for Editors Canada members ($135 early bird), $230 for non-members ($200 early bird), and $100 for student affiliates. Advance registration required. Registration closes April 14; early-bird rates are in effect through March 31.

We’ve all flipped a sentence around, or dismantled it and then recombined it, only to discover better clarity, emphasis, rhythm, or flow. Why does that happen, and how can we become more adept at manipulating word order—or syntax—to improve prose? This seminar looks at syntax from various angles, including how to shape it for different documents, styles, and readers.

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