Style & Substance

I believe that style and substance are tightly connected. As Donna Gorrell says in the Introduction of her book, Style and Difference, the choice of the writer’s words affects the way the reader will interpret the sentence. The words used are a part of one writer’s style. As a result, subjective adjectives, for example, or nouns and verbs that convey a certain nuance, shape the message of the writer, or in other words, the content. Changing these words, so, modifying one’s style, can also alter the message and its meaning as the nuances may not be conveyed anymore. The interpretation of the sentence will, then, be different.

To change style is always to change meaning

– Monroe C.Bearsley

Moreover, I believe that style and substance should not be separated. If you think about a poem for example : its style (words that are used, punctuations, verses, rythm…) usually help you to understand more deeply the content and sometimes, hidden meaning. Without it, it would be meaningless or incomplete. On the contrary, a style without a content is useless and doesn’t bring you much information about what the writer is talking about. Therefore, I think style is actually used to make the content understood by the reader.

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