A More Comprehensive Consideration of Language in Book Reviews

AMore Comprehensive Consideration of Language in Book Reviews

Primarily, syntaxgoverns the rules of languages and how words are combined to formphrases, clauses and complete sentences which confer meaning to thereader. Sense is also created. Syntax controls English in thefollowing ways:

  • Agreement: He is a person

He am a person

  • Case: She took me the mall

She took I to the mall

  • Reflexive pronouns: I bought myself a car

I bought my a car

  • Word Order: We ate cake for lunch

For lunch, we ate cake

Additionally, a lexical technique seems to be concerned withvocabularies, words, collocations, idioms, sayings and text framesamong other lexical items types.

Syntactictechniques can communicate and mitigate an emphasis the arrangementof words clauses, into ordered, coordinate and subordinate patterns.Lexical and syntactic elements can tune praise and criticism ifproperly used in a book review.

In the discussionbelow, I have reviewed several books using a few critique techniques.


Martin Wolf has written what he intends as a definitive statementin defense of

globalization and its benefits for developing and developedcountries. It is economically

sophisticated, analytically incisive, erudite and encyclopedic. Itoffers both a rationale

for the emergence and growth of markets on a global scale, and aclosely reasoned

rebuttal of several of the main charges leveled againstglobalization by its neo-collectivist critics. Yet its content, forall its wisdom, belies its title: the slaying of the

anti-globalization. Hydra takes precedence over explanation of thekey mechanics and

conditions of wealth generation, distribution and stability inepisodes of globalization,

past, present or future………..( Martin, pg 275).

In the excerptabove, praise is evident, in that the reviewer has givencredit to globalization by indicating that it is “economicallysophisticated and offers the growth of markets.” In addition, a fewsyntactic elements drive the review. For instance, there is a syntaxagreement when “Martin Wolf has written what he intends as adefinitive statement in defense of globalization……” Thelexical technique involved guarantees accurate readability andtechnique effectives. For instance, “…..global scale” isa figurative sentence that seeks to quantify the amount and extent ofglobalization that is expected.

…….Barbara Mirel`s chapter, &quotDesigning Usefulness intoSystems for Complex

Tasks,&quot also merits attention. Refreshingly, Mirel makes asolid rather than a

merely political case that information design in the softwareindustry does not begin

with the documentation set or even with the user interface butwith the very

conception and functionality of the software…….( Michaelet al, pg 69).

Lexically, the word “…….Refreshingly…….” is a textframe that evaluates and takes into account what the reviewer hadformerly suggested. Syntactically, the sentence “…..Mirelmakes a solid rather than a…………” follows the syntaxrule for doer, subject-verb agreement, whereby Mirel is thedoer, makes is the verb and the solid is the subject.Again, clauses are arranged and coordinated in order, forexample….Designing Usefulness into Systems for Complete Tasks,also merits attention…….

………There are strong linkshere, and throughout the book, to the thrust and orientation of theAfrica Commission report, in which Stern was intimately involved asthe Commission’s head of policy and research. His analysis thereled him to comment that the belief that liberalization, budgetaryrestraint, privatization and control of inflation were the answers toall of Africa’s problems was ‘naive and damaging’……… (Martin, pg 275).

Criticism is evidentin the excerpt above. The reviewer indicates that Africa hasproblems, and the problems have their solutions like liberalizationand budgetary restraint. Syntactically, word order presentsitself through….His analysisthere led him to comment….Inaddition, vocabularies such as privatizationseem to lexically give theexcerpt more weight and authenticity.


Martin. W. “WhyGlobalization Works”, Yale University Press, London, (2004): p. 725

Michael. A, Beth. M.“Content and Complexity: Information Design in Technical Communication.” Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, (2003): p. 69