This book, designed for students of language and style, has three primary objectives. The first is to show that although the relation of form to meaning is not a direct one, it is indeed a very systematic one. The second is to describe and explain major aspects of English sentence structure within the framework of the important theory of language developed in recent years by generative-transformational grammarians. The third is to make the student aware of the semantic and stylistic consequences of choosing one syntactic form over another.
Such an awareness, of course, does not automatically lead to good writing or sensitive reading on the part of the student. Too many other factors -- imagination, sensibility, logic, a feeling for words -- are involved. But both from the point of view of the student writer and the student reader, a sound linguistic description can be very useful. It should provide an insightful way to expand the syntactic inventory that he actually draws from in writing, it should sensitize him to significant stylistic differences between apparent paraphrases, and perhaps it should remind him of possibilities unexploited as he looks over a first draft of his own.