Flow redux

As a writing instructor, I’ve been chronically frustrated by the fact that composition textbooks use words no one has ever defined.

Flow, for instance.

What is it?

Or paragraph.

What is a paragraph apart from a list of sentences separated from two other lists of sentences inside a longer text?

The answer is that a paragraph has a topic (topic?) and the sentences have flow.

But we already said we can’t define flow, so that’s no help.

Then there’s the universal margin-comment: awkward, awk for short.

What is an 18-year old college freshman who writes awkward sentences to make of the word awkward?

Not much, I fear.

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