The language of reviews

Some extracts from 2 reviews in "Envoi" issue 151 (2008).

June Hall reviewing June EnglishJan Fortune-Wood reviewing Nigel McLoughlin
"dares""daring"
"brims with energy""brimming with energy"
"authentic""authenticity"
"sharp eye for detail""attention to detail"
"vivid""vividly"
"ironic", "irony""irony"
"sentimental""sentimental"
"exploration""explored"
"juxtaposition""juxtapose"

There's a vocabulary for puffs and one for reviews, but these two pieces share so many words that it surely can't be coincidence. In addition the pieces include some other standard review features

June Hall reviewing June EnglishJan Fortune-Wood reviewing Nigel McLoughlin
clichés "chronicling", "evocative", "challenging""within the themes that both weave and compete within and between the sections", "at once familiar and strange"
self-repetition "captures her bewilderment", "are caught by", "catches the rage" "dissonance(s)" 4 times, "resonate with a stance towards language", "resonate across the discord"

The moral? Maybe "Watch out - one man's cliché may be another man's cliché". At least there's no "navigating" or "negotiating".


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Updated Feb 2009
tpl@eng.cam.ac.uk