This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Send the Gift of Lifelong Learning!

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

Professor Brooks Landon, Ph.D.
The University of Iowa

Gifting Information


To send your gift, please complete the form below. An email will be sent immediately to notify the recipient of your gift and provide them with instructions to redeem it.

  • 500 characters remaining.

Frequently Asked Questions

With an eGift, you can instantly send a Great Course to a friend or loved one via email. It's simple:
1. Find the course you would like to eGift.
2. Under "Choose a Format", click on Video Download or Audio Download.
3. Click 'Send e-Gift'
4. Fill out the details on the next page. You will need to the email address of your friend or family member.
5. Proceed with the checkout process as usual.
Q: Why do I need to specify the email of the recipient?
A: We will send that person an email to notify them of your gift. If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: How will my friend or family member know they have a gift?
A: They will receive an email from The Great Courses notifying them of your eGift. The email will direct them to If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: What if my friend or family member does not receive the email?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at ( or call 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: How will I know they have received my eGift?
A: When the recipient clicks on their email and redeems their eGift, you will automatically receive an email notification.
Q: What if I do not receive the notification that the eGift has been redeemed?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at ( or call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: I don't want to send downloads. How do I gift DVDs or CDs?
A: eGifting only covers digital products. To purchase a DVD or CD version of a course and mail it to a friend, please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Oops! The recipient already owns the course I gifted. What now?
A: Great minds think alike! We can exchange the eGifted course for another course of equal value. Please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Can I update or change my email address?
A: Yes, you can. Go to My Account to change your email address.
Q: Can I select a date in the future to send my eGift?
A: Sorry, this feature is not available yet. We are working on adding it in the future.
Q: What if the email associated with eGift is not for my regular Great Course account?
A: Please please email customer service at ( or call our customer service team at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance. They have the ability to update the email address so you can put in your correct account.
Q: When purchasing a gift for someone, why do I have to create an account?
A: This is done for two reasons. One is so you can track the purchase of the order in your ‘order history’ section as well as being able to let our customer service team track your purchase and the person who received it if the need arises.
Q: Can I return or Exchange a gift after I purchase it?
A: Because the gift is sent immediately, it cannot be returned or exchanged by the person giving the gift. The recipient can exchange the gift for another course of equal or lesser value, or pay the difference on a more expensive item

Priority Code


Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

Course No. 2368
Professor Brooks Landon, Ph.D.
The University of Iowa
Share This Course
3.8 out of 5
254 Reviews
67% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 2368
  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. The video version is not heavily illustrated, featuring nearly 100 graphics and illustrations. These graphics and illustrations help you diagram and visually grasp the structure and merits of a variety of sentences, from the elaborate coordinate cumulative sentences to the rhythm of sentences when seen (and read) in sequence; they also help you better understand specific punctuation choices for creating balance and suspense. While we recommend the video version and believe that the included visuals greatly enhance Professor Landon's presentation, audio customers report being highly satisfied with their experience as well.
Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • Review (or learn) the basics of grammar, rhetoric, and sentence building as a foundation for telling a story.
  • Explore how prompts can help readers engage and build emotional connections with characters and situations.
  • Get tips on how to pace, delay, and reveal a plot point or twist in order to build suspense.
  • Examine the structure, style, and sequence of sentences, and create sentences that articulate clear points of view.

Course Overview

Great writing begins—and ends—with the sentence.

Whether two words ("Jesus wept.") or 1,287 words (a sentence in William Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom!), sentences have the power to captivate, entertain, motivate, educate, and, most importantly, delight.

Understanding the variety of ways to construct sentences, from the smallest clause to the longest sentence, is important to enhancing your appreciation of great writing and potentially improving your own.

  • Why do some lengthy sentences flow effortlessly while others stumble along?
  • Why are you captivated by the writing of particular authors but not others?
  • How can you craft sentences that reflect your own unique outlook on the world?

Get the answers to these and other questions about writing and style in Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, a lively 24-lecture course taught by Professor Brooks Landon from the University of Iowa—one of the nation's top writing schools. You explore the myriad ways in which we think about, talk about, and write sentences. You discover insights into what makes for pleasurable reading. You also learn how you can apply these methods to your own writing.

More Than Just a String of Words

Building Great Sentences revives the sentence-oriented approach to studying writing. Unlike common nuts-and-bolts approaches to discussing writing, this course provides a greater context for what makes sentences great. You investigate how to recognize the mechanics of the sentences you read and write, you learn how language works on your thoughts and emotions, and you discover basic strategies to sharpen your ability to recognize great sentences and make your own everyday writing more effective.

More than just a string of words, "sentences are shaped by specific context and driven by specific purpose," notes Professor Landon. "No 'rules' or mechanical protocols can prepare us for the infinite number of tasks our sentences must accomplish."

Explore a Vast World of Sentences

Consisting of a subject, a verb, and sometimes an object ("The girl raised the flag."), the kernels from which sentences grow are called minimal base clauses. Adding modifying words ("slowly") or phrases ("because doing so would inspire her compatriots") creates larger sentences that lead toward great writing.

In Building Great Sentences, you delve into the ways that literary and popular writers work with these larger sentences (called cumulative sentences) and encounter the three distinct levels that enhance these sentence kernels by:

  • Adding information and keeping a sentence moving in place ("She served the dessert, a French pastry affair dripping in dark chocolate.")
  • Moving a sentence forward with increased specificity ("He drove carefully, one hand on the wheel, the other hand holding a sandwich, a ham and cheese fossil, a strangely colored lump made days before by his sister.")
  • Adding information and moving a sentence forward at the same time ("Big Al headed back into the bar, a demented grin twisting his scarred face, his bloodshot eyes narrowed to a fierce squint, looking around the dim and smoke-filled interior, scanning the terrified inhabitants for any of his tormentors.")

You also explore sentence constructions that make writing more complex and add exciting levels of suspense, and you see tactics that create balance and rhythm in sentences. Professor Landon makes these writing methods clear and easy to apply to your own reading and writing habits. Some of the many illuminating methods you come across are:

  • Using a mirroring effect between words to suggest confidence ("Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe, and leveled by the roller.")
  • Using three phrases of parallel construction to create unity and emphasis in a sentence ("I came, I saw, I conquered.")
  • Beginning each element in a series with the same word or words ("The reason I object to Dr. Johnson's style is that there is no discrimination, no selection, no variety in it.")
  • Ending each element in a series with the same word or words ("Raphael paints wisdom; Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakespeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it.")

Recognizing and appreciating these and other eye-opening aspects of sentences helps you understand the work that goes into creating an effective, pleasurable sentence. With the newfound knowledge gained from Building Great Sentences, you become more aware of why particular lines, passages, or phrases in the poems, novels, or articles you read so enchant you.

Learn from the Masters

Building Great Sentences draws abundantly on examples from the work of brilliant writers who are masters in the craft of writing, including Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, and Samuel Johnson. Their novels, essays, and short stories are frequently cited to illustrate how sentences can tease, surprise, test, and satisfy you.

Whether it was an epic poem, an 800-page novel, or a passionate op-ed in a local newspaper, you've no doubt been captivated by a particular line, passage, or phrase in something you've read—but you can't understand why. With Building Great Sentences, you get the secrets you need not only to recognize great writing, but also to understand what exactly makes it so great.

You also investigate numerous instances in which an author's writing style reflects key points in the lectures. For example:

  • The opening paragraph of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms reflects the author's "tough-guy" narrative style in its use of simple and direct writing.
  • The lengthy sentences in Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day demonstrate the importance of enhancing writing through the use of figurative language.
  • The final sentence of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer displays just how much information can hide beneath the surface of sentences.

Professor Landon's animated readings of these and other examples (including some of his own sentences) help you grasp the various structures and rhythms of sentences. They also give you new ways to look at why these and other writing styles have delighted so many readers.

Avoid Dense Grammar

Building Great Sentences provides you with key insights into the craft of writing, but it never becomes a dull grammar lesson. Rather, the course is designed as a study of sentences within the larger framework of prose style and writing theory.

Grammar is only used to address larger issues about writing; as you examine the rewards (and potential risks) of various sentence forms, you never become bogged down in a study of dense grammar.

You focus on why and how these various sentence forms use language to achieve particular goals, not on labeling parts of a sentence. A thorough and helpful study of what makes for elegant and effective writing, notes Professor Landon, cannot depend solely on grammar.

A Passionate Approach to the Craft

Professor Landon is the Director of the General Education Literature Program at the University of Iowa and the recipient of the school's M. L. Huit Teaching Award. Having regularly taught a sentence-based prose style course at the University of Iowa for more than 25 years, he is the perfect guide to take you into the intricate pleasures of great sentences.

Building Great Sentences stems from Professor Landon's passion for a sentence-based approach to writing, commonly overshadowed by more technical, theory-based approaches that ignore the pleasures of reading and writing.

You see Professor Landon's countertraditional approach—emphasizing the pleasure of language and not the avoidance of mistakes. This method makes this course a unique way to experience and understand the pleasure that Gertrude Stein found in the sequences of words that constitute our sentences.

With its passionate approach to writing and reading, and its indulgence in the sheer joy of language, Building Great Sentences will change the way you read and write. It's a journey that gives you unique insights into the nature of great writing—it also teaches you how you can achieve some of this greatness yourself.

Hide Full Description
24 lectures
 |  30 minutes each
  • 1
    A Sequence of Words
    Building great sentences depends on more than just stringing words together. This lecture explores the definition of a sentence and introduces several assumptions on which the course rests, such as that a greater control of syntax is one of the most direct routes to improving writing. x
  • 2
    Grammar and Rhetoric
    Examine some of the key terminology used throughout the course and focus on learning how sentences work (their rhetoric) instead of merely labeling their constituent parts (their grammar). x
  • 3
    Propositions and Meaning
    A sentence may contain more propositions than are visible in the grammar and syntax of its surface language. Discover how the facts, ideas, and feelings in a sentence lie beneath its words and organization. x
  • 4
    How Sentences Grow
    Adding propositional content to a kernel sentence ("They slept.") moves sentences forward and enriches their meaning. Here are three types of strategies that give sentences more momentum and depth: the connective, the subordinative, and the adjectival. x
  • 5
    Adjectival Steps
    Professor Landon makes the case for using adjectival strategies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sentences. Boiling down subordinate clauses to single modifying words allows you to pack more information into each sentence. x
  • 6
    The Rhythm of Cumulative Syntax
    Cumulative sentences lend themselves to writing moves that almost guarantee more effective sentences. Learn how these easy-to-write sentences take you through increasingly specific sentence levels and how they clarify and embellish preceding phrases. x
  • 7
    Direction of Modification
    Cumulative sentences also employ modifying words and phrases before, between, or at the end of base clauses. Investigate the benefits and potential risks of each of these placement options on the meaning of your sentences. x
  • 8
    Coordinate, Subordinate, and Mixed Patterns
    With your newfound understanding of the relationship between base clauses and modifying phrases, you examine the three major patterns of cumulative sentences and their effect on the base clause: coordinate (refining information), subordinate (providing new information), and mixed (combining the previous two patterns). x
  • 9
    Coordinate Cumulative Sentences
    This lecture elaborates on coordinate cumulative patterns, which pile up modifying phrases that point back to the base clause. It also emphasizes the importance of listening to how your sentences read as a means of tightening up their logic. x
  • 10
    Subordinate and Mixed Cumulatives
    Continuing the discussion of various cumulative sentence patterns, Professor Landon zeroes in on subordinate and mixed patterns, which offer more variety to sentences by adding specificity or tapping into the strengths of both coordinate and subordinate patterns. x
  • 11
    Prompts of Comparison
    Prompts like "as if," "as though," and "like" can prompt writers to look for metaphors, similes, or speculative phrases that add information, clarification, and imaginative appeal to sentences. Learn how writers forge emotional links with their readers by incorporating figurative language into their writing. x
  • 12
    Prompts of Explanation
    Prompts can also speculate about the unknown. Examine three major prompts—"because," "perhaps," and "possibly"—to use in your sentences, so you can reveal more of your thinking and strengthen the connection between you and your readers. x
  • 13
    The Riddle of Prose Rhythm
    Follow along with scholars and critics as they try to study, measure, and explain the mystery of prose rhythm. Learn to better recognize the distinctive rhythms that characterize your sentences by imagining their modifying levels as long or short bits of Morse code. x
  • 14
    Cumulative Syntax to Create Suspense
    Learn to start thinking about sentences as not just "loose" or "periodic" but as possessing degrees of suspense. Base clauses in a cumulative sentence can be moved about or split to increase or decrease the reader's suspense about how the sentence will end. x
  • 15
    Degrees of Suspensiveness
    In this lecture, you unpack the periodic/suspensive sentence, which suggests a greater degree of control over its material and, when used effectively, can generate interest by combining complex concepts with syntactical suspense. x
  • 16
    The Mechanics of Delay
    Look closely at four broad tactics to delay completing the base clause, two of which involve the manipulation of modifiers and two of which use initial clauses or phrases as either extended subjects or as modifiers. You also consider a possible fifth tactic that involves using a colon or semicolon. x
  • 17
    Prefab Patterns for Suspense
    Another option for adding suspense to sentences is starting them with certain prompts such as "if" or "since." This lecture illustrates the uses of these and other prompts and considers some reasons for making suspense a critical part of your prose style. x
  • 18
    Balanced Sentences and Balanced Forms
    Perhaps the most intense form of the periodic/suspensive sentence is the balanced sentence. Professor Landon points out that balanced sentences, in drawing their strength from the tension between variation and repetition, offer an advantage to writers comparing two subjects. x
  • 19
    The Rhythm of Twos
    Binary oppositions in balanced sentences lend confidence and conclusiveness to writing. With its mirroring effect, the duple (double-beat) rhythm gives balanced sentences the power to stay lodged in your mind. x
  • 20
    The Rhythm of Threes
    Three-part series bring an extended balance to sentences through the buildup of elements in threes. Delve into the unity, progression, and intensification at the heart of this syntactical form. x
  • 21
    Balanced Series and Serial Balances
    Sentence balance is an extension of the organizational constructs of human consciousness. Explore the prevalence of balanced rhythm in our speech and writing and look at numerous examples of sentence balance. x
  • 22
    Master Sentences
    The opposite of the minimal base clause is the master sentence: a very long sentence that can function in remarkably original and controlled ways. While no formula can anticipate the context and purpose of master sentences, you can construct effective ones by combining a number of the strategies from earlier lectures. x
  • 23
    Sentences in Sequence
    Move beyond the sentence and on to the impact of several sentences in sequence and see new possibilities of resonance and relationship among their rhythms and structures. x
  • 24
    Sentences and Prose Style
    How do our sentences fit into prose style? In exploring critical approaches to this issue, Professor Landon emphasizes that prose style can be seen as both a problem and a gift passed on from writer to writer. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Video Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
Audio Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 audio lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 136-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
CD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 12 CDs
  • 136-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 136-page course synopsis
  • Sentence diagrams
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

Brooks Landon

About Your Professor

Brooks Landon, Ph.D.
The University of Iowa
Dr. Brooks Landon is Herman J. and Eileen S. Schmidt Professor of English and Collegiate Fellow at The University of Iowa and Director of the university's General Education Literature Program. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. Since 1978, Professor Landon has regularly offered a prose-style course focused on the sentence. He has also taught courses in nonfiction writing, contemporary...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft is rated 3.7 out of 5 by 254.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Trial By Lecture By reading his lecture notes from a prompt and not using teaching aids other than projected text examples, Professor Landon ignores the basic rules for effective and compelling communication.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Professor knows his subject I watched this course while jogging on a treadmill. I truly believe the professor knows his subject but it was very difficult to watch as his presentation was very dry to me. I do believe he is probably great for those who are learning to be journalists. I was watching this course to help me to learn writing a little better. Now, I am not sure I want to continue to write anything. I had to force myself to watch this course. I paid for it sometime ago and did not think I could get my money back. If you are seeking to be a journalist or maybe you are one this course may be for you. For those who are interested in writing a book or maybe do better on research papers I do not believe you will enjoy this course. I do recommend it to some but not to all.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's true - learn to build great sentences This is the single BEST source of information about how to improve writing.I have ever run across. It is a great course!!!!
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me Nothing in the description suggested that this was a creative writing course. I was hoping for something useful in grant writing and reporting on medical research. This writing also uses sentences but not the kind suggested in the this course. I'm so glad I can return for refund or exchange.
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly a Great Course Having little understanding of complex sentences, their usefulness, and their structure, the course was wonderfully informative, intellectually satisfying, providing much needed knowledge, epiphanicallly received and appreciated, and expertly delivered by Professor Landon; I am a better writer because of it. Whew!
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation. It is very interesting, very useful and fully educated my knowledge within very short period. I am happy constantly.I would like to thank prof Brooks Landon for his great presentation.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Beyond words This presentation is dated and boring. I expected the delivery of the content to be engaging but was vary disappointed.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too focused on long sentences. The course description is "mastering the basic building block of all writing--the sentence. Understand how and why great sentences work, and discover the wide range of possibilities for the common sentence." However, Professor Landon is clearly, enthusiastically biased to "long" sentence construction, and that is his emphasis throughout his presentation. I do not have a probelm with long sentences, but expected this series to cover long and short (and inbetween) with equal emphasis--this course does not do that, and it is really irritating. I have not gotten past the first two CDs, and should have returned this course.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good presentation and quite useful I finally finished the 24 lectures in this course and found Professor Landon's presentation good and quite interesting. He presents many excerpts from his research and findings. In the beginning lectures, I found the writing skills and tips useful. Progressively, the sentences structures and formulation of sentences became more and more complex. There were some good stories and the excerpts were entertaining and interesting to listen. I found the lectures to have their merits though I am not a true English student and at times, the lectures got to be somewhat overwhelming. If you just listen to the lectures as I did, I did take in some understanding and appreciation to sentences from various authors both classical and in recent past. If and when I write a book, I think the lectures and its ideas will guide me to more ways to write. In his last lecture (lecture 24) Professor Landon parts us with lending his expertise to gift of giving, so I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from a college professor and the video experience gives me a sense as to what could be expected in attending a live university lecture.
Date published: 2016-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is true Writing Instruction This course has changed my writing, fine-tined my writing, and crafted my writing in ways I never imagined. Professor Landon is not only fully equipped to teach this class, his enthusiasm over a well-written sentence is contagious. I have learned many techniques (I gravitate to the cumulative sentence and the suspensive forms) to say 'what it is I want to say' in a way that gives me pleasure and joy just to read aloud, and I hope that that translates to the readers. Thank you.
Date published: 2016-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Informative but not engaging
Date published: 2016-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent class. This is a short review so say that there's a wealth of information in this class. I listened to my CDs twice and could listen to them again. Even if you don't care for long sentences, there is much to learn from this class.
Date published: 2016-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wise and Refreshing I'm a longtime professional book editor, and I took this more out of curiosity than anything else, as someone who is forever interested in reading various writers' takes on what constitutes "good' or "effective" writing, and I found a great deal of value in the examples and approaches offered here. Many seem to take issue with this scholar's emphasis on the idea that longer and more complex, more recursive, sentences are better and I don't entirely agree with this philosophy either. But I try not to come to any given writers' ethos about prose with hard and fast predispositions of my own. To do so is to wall yourself off from potentially valuable reminders about the great variety of what is possible in prose. There's probably not a teacher of writing or a prose stylist, living or dead, with whose philosophy of writing I wholly concur. I believe the value in spending time with any teacher or writer's viewpoint about these matters is to reacquaint oneself with the patterns and modes that are possible, rather than to get dicty about what is best, or better, or right or wrong. It's pattern recognition, for me, above all else, and in that respect the patterns highlighted in these lectures are well worth revisiting (or just plain visiting, as some of these perspectives did strike me as novel). They are often sound, and always interesting, approaches for strengthening ones reflexes as a writer.
Date published: 2016-09-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Needlessly complex Although I found some interesting information in this course the presentation, with all the theoretical asides, some dating back to the 1600s, made it unnecessarily complex and pedantic. The presenter rambled on at some length about one theory or another, and then repeatedly said the information wasn't relevant for our needs as writers learning to craft better sentences. So why include it? It felt as though great swathes of the presentations were there simply to fill time requirements. A pity. If heavily edited I think the professor has the chops to present a truly great course, one more practical than theoretical..
Date published: 2016-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Building Great Sentences This class is no joke. The first lesson I listened to was at a high level and caught me off guard. I have since re-listened to the first lesson with pad and paper and I was transformed back to my college days. I am only through lesson one but the value of this course is clearly evident. I am glad I joined.
Date published: 2016-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Building Great Sentences Overall, this is a good course. However, the instructor pronounces the word "sentence" in a manner that I find distracting considering the high level of content that is offered in the course. Hearing the word "sentence" spoken without the sound of the letter "t" throughout the lengthy lectures...and the word "sentence" is repeated over and over...creates a barrier for me. Otherwise this audio course is sufficient.
Date published: 2016-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from New Perspectives on Sentences A great course for learning how to make sentences more interesting, more engaging, more satisfying, and more effective. Now I understand better what it is I like about some writers and how these authors create such life, such feeling, and such effective imagery with the rhythm and structure of their well-constructed sentences. After years of business and academic writing, this course helped me find my voice, my style, my soul when creating enjoyable prose without using all the old writing rules of efficiency, brevity, and sterility that sucked the life from my soon-to-be-forgotten sentences. If you want to change your writing to make it more joyful and delightful, then this course is a worthwhile investment that can make a huge difference in what and how you write.
Date published: 2016-06-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from So few examples So very dry...and boring. But most importantly.. Severely lacking in stimulating examples of well-written sentences. Very little help to me for writing.
Date published: 2016-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Which way to learn? I want to learn but didn't really feel comfortable returning to the classroom even if I had the time. What I've found is this the course I purchased: Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft is a well prepared product that lets me learn at my own pace with the ability to repeat and research the contents presented until I'm comfortable. Sunday morning, Friday evening or at lunchtime, it's my choice, when I'm ready! On completion of this course, and the other I purchased, I'll be looking through their catalog for more.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Gift of Style "Style must be taught for what and as what it is - a pleasure, a grace, a joy, a delight." Oh, no, I gave away the ending of the Building Great Sentences course! This quote from Richard Lanham, one of many quoted by Professor Landon in the Building Great Sentences course, sums up the course for me, a course that is filled with technical grammatical theories, references to writing texts, practical ways to build cumulative sentences, discussions of balanced sentences, and a gift basket of examples overflowing with masterly crafted sentences that bought me great pleasure. Many other reviewers have given detailed accounting of the course, so I'll keep my review short, even though the course focuses on how to build sentences over 100 words long. One reviewer complained that they felt the lack of real student/teacher interaction was a detriment to the course; perhaps they didn't do the course book exercises? I highly recommend reading the course book chapters prior to the lectures and doing the exercises. I took this course to improve my fiction writing, so I used the exercises in the course book to build sentences that I can use in my novel. One reviewer complained that Professor Landon was stiff; I found his style engaging and felt his passion for the "self-conscious pleasure in words," another Lanham quote. Professor Landon believes crafting great sentences is a gift that the writer passes on to their readers, a sentiment that comes through clearly in his lectures. These lectures were an eye-opener for a history major who was taught to write in the square box, to "be clear". I'm looking forward to writing better sentences, sentences that climb outside the box, sentences that are a gift to my readers.
Date published: 2016-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Value in the details It is enriching to find gems such as Dr. Landon's intensive study on sentences. Worth it - and then some.
Date published: 2016-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-04-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Probably better in a classroom environment This course has inspired me to start writing again. The professor offers a number of good insights and better yet, HOW to apply them. I imagine the content works much better in a classroom environment: learn, do, reinforce, repeat. Without the "do" and the reinforcement from peer and instructor feedback, these lectures follow a learn and repeat cycle which draws out the content much longer than seems necessary, as if the differences between a classroom and recorded experience were not really understood. The major points and the illustrations would likely be just as effective in 1/2 or 1/4 of the time these fill. Would I buy more recorded lectures from this professor? Not unless they include some form of interaction. Would I take a class from him if I had the chance? Yes. Had my writing education decades ago reflected the same enthusiasm as this professor I would have continued writing and may have built a living doing so. Note: the "5" rating of content applies to the usefulness of the major ideas. For having listened to these lectures my writing is not as boring, I know better how to develop a story and have a rekindled desire to write. The "3" takes the regular repetitiveness into consideration.
Date published: 2016-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Class that Changed my Writing! I am amazed that my writing has changed significantly as I progressed through this class; taking my voice, its style and making it jump off the page. LOVE IT...was very worth the investment. My only negative thoughts - the first 12 classes moved me to a new level BUT out of the last 12 - (7) seemed to be of little value. Those 7 could have easily been combined to make this a course of 18 or maybe 20, thus saving several hours. Even with that negative - it is SO worth the time and financial investment. Professor Landon has an easy to follow and entertaining presentation.
Date published: 2016-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Happy with this course Professor Landon did a wonderful job of delivering this course with its concepts of writing in a Cumulative coordinate, subordinate, and mixed manners. I wish that I'd have taken this course prior to my required College writing courses (ENG 111, 112, 114), surely my writing would have been more impressive. My only regret is that college credits are not eared when taking these courses, as I learn more with this format.
Date published: 2016-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Building Great Sentences Course came recently. I have done only the first lecture. Am extremely impressed and eager to continue.
Date published: 2016-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very useful course for a new writer The course is very well done. Professor Landon works through what could, in the wrong hands, be extraordinarily dry material. The content will be valuable to me as a new novelist.
Date published: 2016-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My First Cumulative Sentence “Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft” taught by Brooks Landon, the package that came from the Great Courses people said, such great sentences that at first seem to ramble on and on, but really are cumulative with each subordinate clause, whether gerundive, participial or infinitive, adding more and more information for the reader to digest, the author carefully plotting the direction of flow, the author wondering if the thirty dollars the course cost was well spent, wonders if it possible to multitask and listen to the twelve hours of lectures while painting in his studio, wondering if the left brain would dominate the right and the creation of art be diminished or if the right would hinder the left such that verbal comprehension would suffer, the author pleased to discover Professor Landon’s enthusiasm and clarity easy to follow even while concentrating on the tiniest details where it was imperative that no more than two or three bristles of the brush he was using be allowed to touch oil to canvas, pleased to comprehend Landon’s explanations of the rhythms of twos, threes, and fours and more and the even more complicated constructions of aphoristic sentences, three part balances, asyndeton, anadiplosis, chiasmus, symploce and other rhetorical schemes, not that he could ever recite a definition of the terms or offer an example, but that he could comprehend what the constructions were doing and that they were tools he could learn to use, tools he should have already been using and tools best used effortlessly and instinctively, much like playing music by ear or humming familiar tunes while doing chores, tools that would allow him to build a sentence containing far more than the twenty-five to thirty words recommended by the professors of yore, perhaps even up to four hundred and sixteen words as this one is, to build such a sentence even though the author is not quite finished with all of the lectures which explains why he hasn’t passed the recordings on to another author/artist as promised, to build such a sentence that eventually all of his family and friends and loyal readers will certainly have begun to wonder by now and become quite nervous that perhaps he’s gone off his rocker and/or that the sentence isn’t going to ever reach a conclusion as stated at the word count just mentioned and might grow and metastasize endlessly, to build such a sentence, that is what this course promised and, unfortunately, succeeded in doing. Just kidding, of course, yet at the same time having fun while learning, a delightful surprise rare to find in too many courses.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-01-22
  • y_2017, m_3, d_28, h_23
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_1.0.0
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_19, tr_235
  • loc_en_US, sid_2368, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 56.17ms

Questions & Answers


1-10 of 11 Questions
1-10 of Questions

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Video title