It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.
In this chapter, we’ll be entering the realm of sentence rhythm. So far I have encouraged you to use your writer’s ear in a number of different ways: We have listened for the meanings of words and their connotations, for the different qualities of words, for parts of speech, and so on. In this chapter, we’ll be exploring yet another way to use our writer’s ear: to listen to the rhythms our sentences make. We’ll concentrate, not on the meaning (or the pictures) our words are making, but on their music.
Often when people talk about “the music of language,” they make it sound like a mere frill, something we add to “dress up” plain ...