abstract, abstraction

abstract, abstraction

By LAWRENCE FELLOWS

If you thought someone had spilled paint on the wall, you may have been looking at an abstraction, or an example of abstract expressionism, or a treatment of an abstract or highly subjective motif, not an abstract.

An abstract is a summary of the main points of a complicated document, such as a deed or a will.

Abstract, as an adjective, has to do with things that are difficult to understand, such as an abstract painting by Jackson Pollock. The trick is not to hang it upside down.

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The Writer's Stylebook is a unique collaboration between two former journalists -- my father, Lawrence, and me. Mr. Fellows, an impassioned wordsmith and journalist of long standing, created the original Stylebook, which he distributed to Connecticut newspapers and worked on for over a decade until his death 16 years ago. In 2003, the Connecticut Press Club published "Wordwatch: A Writer's Guide to Linguistic Distinctions," a compendium of nearly 300 of my father's word features. Unfortunately, that book is out of print and my father's features have been languishing in the attic of our family home in Westport -- until now. With the blessing of my mother, Ruth, I'm reviving the Stylebook and putting it online in the hope that it will find new readers. I think there's a need for a lively, illustrated guide to words and word usages that isn't wordy -- especially in today's fast-paced world!

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