All posts by kiddcicero

No one is two busy too study grammar when its fun

Greetings,

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Would you please examine an idea for helping ordinary people become better writers?

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I need to find writers who will write three to five short stories and change them into grammar puzzles.   The short stories/grammar puzzles can be published in newspapers or booklets similar to the Sudoku booklets that are sold in the checkout lanes of almost every grocery store in America.  The following instructions will explain how to quickly change a short story into a grammar puzzle.  I assume that a local newspaper will agree to publish some grammar puzzles as an experiment.  If the experiment is successful, other newspapers will be eager to pay for the right to publish them.  But if a writer wants to publish a collection of short stories in booklets and sell them in local stores or over the internet, I think that the money for publishing hundreds or even thousands of booklets could be raised over the internet.  After all, this will give ordinary people an opportunity to become part of the history of education.  And I assume that when the booklets are sold, the money could be kept as income by the writer.  For extra fun, a small grammar puzzle has been included at the bottom of this page.  It explains how book and textbook publishers can make studying more enjoyable than learning. 

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The first four sections in a short story/grammar puzzle won’t have any capitalization, punctuation, or paragraphs.  Correcting these mistakes will be enjoyable because people will be able to make instantaneous corrections while they are reading.  Which should make them feel really smart and inspire them to do the more difficult sections.  However, the first four sections will also force people to look at words and sentences more carefully than they normally do.  And that is the kind of studying that real writers do when they edit their work.  When someone has learned how to edit his own work, he has also learned how to write. 

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The second section will also have some words and phrases misplaced.  As a result, the sentences will have to be put back together like jigsaw puzzles.  That could force people to get a pen and paper so they can rewrite the sentences.  Although it may be better for newspapers if the first four sections are easy enough to be read in a single attempt.  Then people will be more likely to read the final draft on the newspaper’s website.  Which will make them more likely to read the grammar puzzle in the next newspaper edition.  True, the puzzles must be challenging or they won’t be fun but they must also be easy to do.  So maybe some sentences shouldn’t have misplaced words and phrases.  A balanced mixture of good and bad sentences might stimulate readers to be more alert because they won’t always believe their eyes when they find a sentence with no errors.  Either way, this section will make the grammar puzzles more enjoyable to solve.  And when it’s fun to learn, people will actually spend money so they can work hard at learning. 

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The third section won’t have any misplaced words and phrases but some sentences will be misplaced.  The misplaced words, phrases, and sentences are essential because people will learn more from studying bad writing than from studying good writing.  And the learning curve for anything is never complete until people go through a phase of making mistakes.  Regular lessons with examples of good writing seem to only produce temporary connections in our brains that eventually fail when we relax.  Making and correcting mistakes, on the other hand, seems to be more shocking and thereby produces more durable connections.  Yes, people will learn more from correcting their own mistakes.  But they may make the same mistake a thousand times before they realize they are making a mistake.  Ergo, they need to use the second, third, and fourth sections so they can learn faster with someone else’s mistakes.  Of course, both the second and third sections will more enjoyable if the first word of every sentence is never misplaced.  That will give the readers a very helpful clue for correcting someone else’s mistakes. 

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The fourth section won’t have any misplaced words or sentence but it could still be the most important section because most of its sentences be badly written and/or have grammatical errors.  These mistakes shouldn’t be hard to create because they could come from the short story/grammar puzzle’s first draft.  But even though people will be able to read this section well enough to know what is happening in the story, which again will inspire them to go to the newspaper’s website and read the final draft, most readers won’t be able to make instantaneous corrections while they are reading.  So readers will have to write the second draft by themselves.  And maybe the third draft.  And the fourth draft.  Consequently they should learn more from this section than any other section.  Moreover, these grammar puzzles could serve as an experiment for how schools should teach grammar and writing skills.  Teachers could even develop their own inventory of writing puzzles by collecting writing samples from their students.  Then by making their writing classes more enjoyable, teachers will be given more respect and deference by their students.

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The fifth section will be a movie script of the short story’s climax.  This will change the final section into a happy ending for most people because they won’t have to do any work.  Instead of working hard to change the script into prose, they will just read the script and dream about becoming a great writer and making millions of dollars from a novel or movie script.  True, this will almost never happen.  But as part time students of grammar and writing, they will become loyal fans of short stories and enjoy buying the next newspaper edition of a grammar puzze or a grammar puzzle booklet. 

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(In the future, newspapers and booklet publishers will create software that enables writers to make their stories fit inside a five inch by eleven inch section of a newspaper or the five inch by seven inch pages of a booklet.  Those dimensions are only guesses.  The software for newspapers will prohibit sentences in puzzles that start in one section and finish in another.  The software for booklets will prohibit paragraphs in the final draft that start in one section and finish in another.  The newspapers and booklet publishers will also want to guarantee that the puzzles are not too hard or too easy.  So they will ask writers to only submit a final draft and they will make the necessary changes.) 

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As for publishing short story/grammar puzzles in a newspaper, most newspapers should be very eager to do it because so many of them have gone bankrupt.  And small newspapers could use grammar puzzles to publish weekly booklets similar to Reader’s Digest.  They will write their local stories every week via the internet on a large newspaper’s computers.  Then the large newspaper will write news articles about state, national, and international events that will also be printed in the booklets.  They will also print and mail the booklets.  And because people love both good stories and puzzles that are not too hard to solve, maybe the demand curve could be increased by including grammar puzzles.  A prolific writer might be able to make a career for himself by writing a series of weekly grammar puzzles similar to a television show with the same characters every week.  And some publishing companies may even pay to have a scene from a novel printed as a grammar puzzle so they can promote the novel. 

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It may also be possible for weekly newspapers to increase the demand curve for their Reader’s Digest format by presenting information in a format that people will want to study.  Obviously there is a demand curve for information that people want to learn.  That is why people buy newspapers and watch cable news.  But the demand curve for studying information is different and no one is currently making a product for this market niche.  So no one knows how large or how profitable it could be.  (Book and textbook publishers have repeatedly ignored my emails on how they could make learning more productive.)  In my humble opinion, weekly newspapers could exploit the demand curve by publishing essay/flash card combinations in the final section of their booklets.  This will create a journalism product that is fundamentally different than the current infotainment because flash cards can actually be hypnotic.  If the essay is interesting, readers will repeatedly switch back and forth from looking at the flash card to thinking about the essay to looking at the flash card to thinking about the essay to looking at,,,  ,  Which is too hard to do with essays because reading sentences is too laborious.  And rote memorization is done with the pattern of repeatedly looking and thinking about.  With flash cards then, newspaper readers will be able to remember much more than they are currently remembering.    

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And many people will really want to experiment with the essay/flash cards because they really want to become better voters.  Look at the federal tax code.  There have been many news reports on the tax code since the 1986 reforms by Ronald Reagan but the voters have never done anything to stop Congress from creating more tax deductions for every lobbyist and special interest group with enough money for many large campaign contributions.  So the voters are mad at Congress about the tax code.  They are also mad about the budget deficits and national debt.  And the crumbling infrastructure.  And the cost overruns by the Pentagon.  And the unfunded entitlements.  And the corruption in Congress.  The voters are so mad that it is impossible to guess how big the demand curve will be for a journalism product that enables and inspires them to become better educated and more demanding voters.  And studying flash cards in a booklets will be much more enjoyable that studying them on a computer.  So the flash cards in newspapers should have a competitive advantage over internet websites.

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(A lot of reporters are also mad about the tax code et al because all of the hard work by many reporters has been an almost complete waste of time.  Their only positive accomplishment was the money they earned from entertaining both voters and politicians with gotchas.  Which is why they failed.  They were entertaining their customers, and themselves, instead of educating voters.   But reporters have also ignored my letters and emails.  So I predict they will be viscerally opposed to experimenting with essay/flash cards.  They don’t care that surveys by the news media have repeatedly shown that most Americans are too ignorant to vote intelligently.  Or that local journalism is an endangered species.  Their time is apparently too valuable to be wasted on the intellectual weaknesses of their customers.  They write the first draft of history.  Not the second draft.  If voter literacy was a journalism issue, then journalism professors and journalism textbooks would make it an important issue.  But they don’t.  Nearly all of the research into the impact of voter ignorance is being done by political scientists.  Not by journalism professors.  I am sure that journalism professors will agree that our country and democracy will be in worse shape when the voters become more ignorant after their local newspapers have disappeared.   But they must also believe that making the voters less ignorant by communicating like a teacher is not the responsibility of reporters.  It’s the responsibility of the voters themselves.   Even though a teacher would be fired if her lectures were as unpredictable as the events that reporters must investigate, and most students would flunk if they studied as much as the average voter, journalism professors obviously believe that reporters are the cops of democracy.  Not its teachers.   And all of the journalism prizes are for providing information.  None of them are for educating voters.  That is another reason why reporters are going to be opposed to experimenting with essay/flash cards.  Some improvement in voter education is not important to them.  But winning a journalism prize is important.  Nothing is going to be done to reform journalism until reporters are forced by outsiders to change their professional standards.  Just like they were forced by outsiders to stop the chronic sexual harassment in the news media,)

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However, this idea won’t be profitable unless every year’s supply of two hundred to five hundred essay/flash cards is condensed into fifty to one hundred essay/flash cards and published in an annual textbook about our democracy.  Without the yearly textbook, the weekly essay/flash cards will create an obligation to study that most people won’t be able to fulfill.  The time and effort that they currently allocate for learning about current events won’t be usable because learning is fun and studying is work.  Consequently they will hate the essay/flash cards.  But if they are condensed and published in an annual textbook, the weekly versions will become entertaining.  People will know that they can just look at them long enough to satisfy their curiosity.  And some weeks they may even feel like studying some of the flash cards because they really enjoy the endorphin rush from being hypnotized.  But because the textbook is published only once a year, people will know that they will have more than enough time to study the essays/flash cards and meet their obligation to become educated voters.   

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More enthusiasm for the annual textbooks could also be generated by including one page book reviews for the one hundred most important books of the prior year.  The book reviews should inspire a lot of Joe Sixpacks and Wanda Winecoolers to buy an annual textbook so they can become a One Minute Intellectuals.   And if ten to twenty pages of the textbook are used for listing the major events of American History, newspapers could use the information as a reason for conducting an annual survey of how much American History is known by the average American.  Then if the survey questions are published in the textbook, people will be able to determine if they know more or less than the average American.  Which will stimulate to study the American History section every year so they can be prepared if they are ever called.  Another incentive to buy both the weekly newspaper and the annual textbooks is for every newspaper to publish their best divide and conquer journalism in the textbooks.  But this may never happen because no one in Congress wants to create large blocs of independent voters in their states and districts who are experts in what their representatives are doing.  

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(The essay/flash cards in the weekly publications will be published with one page essays on even numbered pages and one page flash cards on the adjacent odd numbered page.  A reader should never, never, never, never, never, never have to turn a page to read an essay and study the flash card.  This rule may be impossible to always comply with in the annual textbooks.  If the weekly booklets have two columns per page like Reader’s Digest, then some of the essays could be published in three columns and the flash card in the fourth column.  Or the essay can be made just one and one half columns long with a half column flash card.  Then the corresponding odd numbered page could be used for advertising space.  Or the essay could be two columns long and the flash card on the top half of the corresponding odd numbered page with a half page advertisement underneath.  And some topics, like Donald Trump, will get only one essay/flash card per month to avoid excessive repetition.  While other topics, like our welfare system, will get only one essay/flash card per year because publishing it just once a year during Christmas will magnify its impact.)  

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Large daily newspapers like the New York Times might be able to increase their profits from long journalism by enabling their subscribers to buy print on demand books filled with newspaper articles that their subscribers thought were invaluable.   And medium sized daily newspapers might be able to improve their financial situation by publishing a semi-random sample of classified ads for cars, houses, and miscellaneous items.   Cars and houses are the two biggest purchases that most people make and periodically looking at the sample would help them monitor both prices and product options.  And every time they look at a sample of classified ads, they are going to be stimulated to look at other advertisements in the newspaper.  Which will make advertising in newspapers a much more effective business strategy.  Moreover, the samples will create a demand curve for consumer information about many different kinds of products.  Thereupon every newspaper will be able to make a profitable supply curve that satisfies the demand curve they made.      

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As for the booklets, a typical booklet will have three to five short stories.  Or it could have a three to five chapter short novel.  The stories will be printed in two versions.  The puzzle version for the first story or first chapter will be printed on pages 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26.  Then the actual story with no errors will be printed on pages 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, and 28/29.   (The first page will show the story title and the author’s name.  The third page will display a picture or drawing  similar to the pictures and drawings on book covers.)  And when a reader makes all of the corrections on an even numbered page, he will flip over the adjacent page and look at the actual story printed on the subsequent odd numbered page.  The first four sections of the puzzle will be three pages apiece but the fifth section will be a one page movie script and it will be printed on the twenty-sixth page.  Then the prose version for the script will be on the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth pages.  After the last puzzle, there will be several pages of advice about grammar and writing skills.  To make the booklets for children more enjoyable, the puzzles should be printed right side up and the actual stories should be printed upside down.  Children will enjoy learning how to read upside down because it will improve their spelling. 

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Stanley Krauter  

Lincoln, Nebraska  68508  

stanleykrauter @ gmail dot com

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  • First and second paragraphs with no capitalization, punctuation, or paragraph indentations
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good students take notes during their classes and highlight important words phrases and sentences in their textbooks so every non fiction book and textbook should include blank pages in the back that can be used for taking notes while reading then next to the blank pages there should be one page or half page outlines for each chapter so everyone can study the artificial notes that the author took while writing the book or textbook and the table of contents that is always printed in the front section of a book should also be printed in this back section because it is the equivalent of an outline for the entire book since most people are right handed the blank pages should be on the even numbered pages and the outlines on the odd numbered pages this notebook workbook chapter will enable students and ordinary readers to study more effectively while people with a reading problem will be able to read more effectively as for the highlights and notes that good students are currently putting in their textbooks they are much less effective than they should be because they are spread out over hundreds of pages and therefore they are hard to study with both the reader’s notes and the author’s outline for a chapter put on two adjacent pages on the other hand everyone will be able to concentrate much longer at connecting the dots while looking at their book or textbook and during these staring contests they can repeatedly refresh their minds by alternately connecting dots and thinking absentmindedly which is a really good studying technique because our memories grow stronger when intense concentration is repeatedly combined with contemplative rests its also better for creative thinking  

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  • First and second paragraphs with capitalization, punctuation, and paragraph indentations put back in
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Good students take notes during their classes and highlight important words, phrases, and sentences in their textbooks.  So every non-fiction book and textbook should include blank pages in the back that can be used for taking notes while reading.  Then next to the blank pages there should be one page or half page outlines for each chapter so everyone can study the artificial notes that the author took while writing the book or textbook.  And the table of contents that is always printed in the front section of a book should also be printed in this back section because it is the equivalent of an outline for the entire book.  Since most people are right handed, the blank pages should be on the even numbered pages and the outlines on the odd numbered pages.

This notebook/workbook chapter will enable students and ordinary readers to study more effectively while people with a reading problem will be able to read more effectively.  As for the highlights and notes that good students are currently putting in their textbooks, they are much less effective than they should be because they are spread out over hundreds of pages and therefore they are hard to study.  With both the reader’s notes and the author’s outline for a chapter put on two adjacent pages, on the other hand, everyone will be able to concentrate much longer at connecting the dots while looking at their book or textbook.  And during these staring contests, they can repeatedly refresh their minds by alternately connecting dots and thinking absentmindedly.  Which is a really good studying technique because our memories grow stronger when intense concentration is repeatedly combined with contemplative rests.  It’s also better for creative thinking.

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  • Third and fourth paragraphs with misplaced words and phrases — the first word of a sentence will never be misplaced
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ironically notes and outlines will make the actually learning more enjoyable and more studying enjoyable than learning most people are excited when something they find that they to really want remember the ability then to immediately write book in a notes will desire their increase to find something is that really important this will make them alert while reading more which will both be enjoyable and increase how they learn much and notes writing takes more time and effort than highlighting words phrases sentences and because the reader must think what about he wants to write this to is going too increase how much learned is with all of their notes written in the back book of a people are also more likely to impulsively review their notes months several or even years several later which also increase how will much is learned and though even sentences are essential for learning notes and the outlines will be better studying for after reading a chapter a reader can immediately outline review the chapters this is the what experts always recommend but does not it happen very often with sentences or the highlights in a chapter because reviewing the sentences usually means rereading the entire chapter and reviewing the highlights right after is making them boring if the notes are written on sticky large notes a reader quickly can edit them with new sticky notes whenever he realizes something that should be added or improved all of the experts are going to recommend this studying technique when the blank pages and outlines become standard in books and textbooks  more importantly it may take twenty to ten hours to book a read but only a half hour or an hour to all study the of notes and outlines that is studying why can become enjoyable more than learning it will time less take   

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  • Third and fourth paragraphs with the misplaced words and phrases put back in their original places  
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Ironically, the notes and outlines will actually make learning more enjoyable and studying more enjoyable than learning.  Most people are excited when they find something that they really want to remember.  The ability then to immediately write notes in a book will increase their desire to find something that is really important.  This will make them more alert while reading.  Which will be both enjoyable and increase how much they learn.  And writing notes takes more time and effort than highlighting words, phrases, and sentences because the reader must think about what he wants to write.  This too is going to increase how much is learned.  With all of their notes written in the back of a book, people are also more likely to impulsively review their notes several months or even several years later.  Which will also increase how much is learned.  

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And even though sentences are essential for learning, the notes and outlines will be better for studying.  After reading a chapter, a reader can immediately review the chapter’s outline.  This is what the experts always recommend but it does not happen very often with the sentences or highlights in a chapter because reviewing the sentences usually means rereading the entire chapter and reviewing the highlights right after making them is boring.  If the notes are written on large sticky notes, a reader can quickly edit them with new sticky notes whenever he realizes that something should be added or improved.  (All of the experts are going to recommend this studying technique when the blank pages and outlines become standard in books and textbooks.)  More importantly, it may take ten to twenty hours to read a book but only a half hour or an hour to study all of the notes and outlines.  That is why studying can become more enjoyable than learning.  It will take less time.     

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  • Fifth and sixth paragraphs with misplaced sentences — the first word of a sentence will never be misplaced
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moreover people with a reading problem may be helped the most with the blank pages and outlines and reading an entire book will be similar to climbing a mountain with no places to rest normal people can read several chapters or even an entire book in a single sitting but reading a single chapter can be an exhausting struggle for other people a problem they can avoid by not reading books however briefly looking at a chapter outline after reading just one sentence or one paragraph or one page can become a resting place for reading the chapter that will be just enough time to remember some words or phrases from the outline this will help them read the book in increments that they can handle then by closing the book and concentrating on what was seen in the outline readers can gradually memorize the entire outline also the blank pages will be very compatible with my favorite technique for reading a book or textbook that i hate that makes it possible to read a book that I could not read because the topic was too boring or the book was badly written instead of reading these books in the normal fashion i read them aloud as if i was giving a speech this idea works so well that I even bought a music stand so i can pretend that it is a podium and practice reading a speech before an audience all fiction books that students hate but their teachers and professors repeatedly assign should also have blank pages and outlines in the back of the book so i need to immediately write notes in the back of the book but i remember less when i read aloud because i am concentrating on pronouncing the words instead of understanding the sentences and paragraphs    

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  • Fifth and sixth paragraphs with misplaced words, phrases, and sentences put back in their original places  
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Moreover, people with a reading problem may be helped the most with the blank pages and outlines.  Normal people can read several chapters or even an entire book in a single sitting but reading a single chapter can be an exhausting struggle for other people.  And reading an entire book will be similar to climbing a mountain with no places to rest.  A problem they can avoid by not reading books.  However, briefly looking at a chapter outline after reading just one sentence or one paragraph or one page can become a resting place for reading the chapter.  That will be just enough time to remember some words or phrases from the outline.  Then by closing the book and concentrating on what was seen in the outline, readers can gradually memorize the entire outline.  This will help them read the book in increments that they can handle. 

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Also, the blank pages will be very compatible with my favorite technique for reading a book or textbook that I hate.  Instead of reading these books in the normal fashion, I read them aloud as if I was giving a speech.  That makes it possible to read a book that I could not read because the topic was too boring or the book was badly written.  This idea works so well that I even bought a music stand so I can pretend that it is a podium and practice reading a speech before an audience.  (All fiction books that students hate but their teachers and professors repeatedly assign should also have blank pages and outlines in the back of the book.)  But I remember less when I read aloud because I am concentrating on pronouncing the words instead of understanding the sentences and paragraphs.  So I need to immediately write notes in the back of the book.   

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  • Seventh and eighth paragraphs with grammatical errors, badly written sentences, and misspelled words   
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subtitles or pavlovian nouns could be used to stimulate people to use the blank pages and outlines by including them in the chapter outlines readers will be reminded of the blank pages and outlines in the book a pavlovian noun is a noun that is used as the first word in a chapter section for example subtitles is the first word of the first sentence in the fourth section of this puzzle ergo it is a pavlovian noun when a reader finishes a chapter he may be curious to see if he remembers the subtitles or pavlovian nouns he may even try to memorize them as he reads so he can get a better score on his exams with subtitles or pavlovian nouns it will be possible to have a detailed outline of the entire book with the table of contents that is printed in the back of the book then a reader can study the entire book by staring at just one page for aesthetic reasons the first word of the first sentence of a chapter should never start with a pavlovian noun another stimulus can be made by printing the introduction in a narrow column this will waste space but it will make writers to write short introductions with one big idea.  Which will make better introductions  yes a good book has one big idea but introductions should be written to inspire people to buy a book when they are in a bookstore and or inspire them read the book when they get home and or inspire them to understand how all the big ideas can be woven together in one big idea  these objectives can be accomplished better with a short introduction that is well written the introduction should be the most well written part of a book so people will be inspired to read it several years later this will stimulate them to reread the entire book

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  • three paragraphs with badly written sentences and grammatical errors and misspelled words  
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Subtitles or Pavlovian Nouns could be used to further stimulate people to study more often.  By including the subtitles or Pavlovian Nouns in the chapter outlines, readers will be repeatedly reminded of the blank pages and outlines in the back of the book.  (A Pavlovian Noun is a noun or noun phrase that is used as the first word of the first sentence in a chapter section.  For example, “Subtitles” is the first word of the first sentence in the fourth section of this grammar puzzle.  Ergo, it is a Pavlovian Noun.)  When a reader has finished a chapter, he may be curious to see if he remembers all of the subtitles or Pavlovian Nouns in the chapter.   He may even try to memorize them as he reads the chapter so he can get a better score on his personal exams.  With subtitles or Pavlovian Nouns, it will be possible to have a detailed outline of the entire book with the Table of Contents that is printed in the back of the book.  Then a reader can study the entire book by staring at just one page.  For aesthetic reasons, the first word of the first sentence of a chapter should never start with a Pavlovian Noun.  

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Another stimulus can be created by printing the book’s introduction in a narrow column.  This will waste a lot of space but it will force writers to write short introductions that have only one Big Idea.  Which will result in better introductions.  Yes, a good book will have more than one big idea.  But introductions should be written to (a) inspire people to buy a book when they are in a bookstore (b) inspire them read the book when they get home (c) inspire them to understand how all of the other big ideas can be woven together in one Big Idea.  These objectives can be better accomplished with a short introduction that is extremely well written.  In fact, the introduction should be the most well written part of a book so people will be inspired to read it several years later.  This may stimulate them to reread the entire book.     

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