Rhetorical Question

“Rhetorical Question: Basically a question not expecting an answer, or one to which the answer is more or less self-evident. It is used primarily for stylistic effect, and is a very common device in public speaking—especially when the speaker is trying to work up the emotional temperature. For example (a politician on the hustings:

‘Are we going to tolerate this intrusion upon our freedom? Are we going to accept these restrictions? Are we to be intimidated by time-serving bureaucrats? Are we to be suppressed by sycophantic and supine jackals waiting for dead men’s shoes?’

Or the writer may argue with himself (and in a different way work on the emotions of the reader) as Sir Philip Sidney does in the 47th sonnet of the sequence Astrophel and Stella:

‘What, have I thus betrayed my libertie?

Can those blacke beames such burning markes engrave

In my free side? Or am I borne a slave,

Whose necke become such yoke of tyranny?

Or want I sense to feel my miserie?

Or sprite, disdained of such disdaine to have?’

Another fundamental form of rhetorical question (both having something in common with the above) are: (a) a series of questions in quick succession for emphasis (e.g. “Can we make it? If so, will it work? Where can we market it? Can we market it cheaply?” and so on); (b) a question put to another person or oneself which expresses surprise, astonishment, or anger and which is not easily answered. A good example is Bolingbroke’s outburst in Richard II (I, iii, 294) after he has been banished:

‘O, who can hold a fire in his hand,

By thinking of the frosty Caucasus?

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite

By bare imagination of a feast?

Or wallow naked in December snow,

By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?'”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

The Weekly Text, 14 January 2022: A Lesson Plan on the Compound Preposition

This week’s Text is this lesson plan on using compound prepositions.

I open this lesson with this Everyday Edit worksheet on Eleanor Roosevelt; if this lesson goes into a second day, here is another on time zones. Incidentally, if you and your students find these Everyday Edit worksheet edifying (and therefore rewarding), the good people at Education World generously distribute a yearlong supply of them at no charge.

Here is the scaffolded worksheet that is the principal work of this lesson. And, at last, here is the teacher’s copy of same.

And that is it for another week.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Think-Aloud Strategy

“think-aloud strategy: The process of talking explicitly about what one is reading. The think-aloud process, which involves questioning, accessing prior knowledge, and making predictions, helps students recognize the strategies they are using to understand a text.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

The Weekly Text, 7 January 2022: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Trick or Treat”

Happy New Year!

The first Weekly Text of 2022 on Mark’s Text Terminal is this lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Trick or Treat.” I open this lesson with this half-page (with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions) Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a “lunatic fringe” in politics, timely material in 2022 wherever you happen to be in the world, I submit.

To conduct your investigation of the heinous crime committed and documented in the pages of this lesson, you’ll need this PDF of the evidentiary illustration and questions that form the center of this case. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key that will aid you in making an arrest and closing this case.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Life Enhancement

“Life Enhancement: Term used by art historian Bernard Berenson to describe what he considered the primary function and role of art: the power to enrich, enhance, and extend the meaning of life.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

A Learning Support on Gray Areas in Comma Use

Last but not least, here is a learning support on gray areas in comma use. This is the fifteenth of fifteen posts carrying learning supports–presented seriatim in the order, sorted by major subheadings, from the punctuation manual from which they are excerpted. If you click here, you will end up back at the first posted support, titled “An Introductory Learning Support on Using the Comma.” From there, you scroll up to find them in order. Each post indicates which is which in the sequence.

If you want it, here is the table of contents for all fifteen of the learning supports in this chain.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Archaism

“Archaism (noun): Antiquated expression, diction, or style; out-of-date or old-fashioned word or phrase, often having some currency or literary usefulness, e.g., “perchance,” “forsooth,” “betwixt.” Adj. archaism; v. archaize.

‘A part of our reality is the unreality of archaic language about sex.’ Dwight Bolinger, Language—The Loaded Weapon”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Slipshod (adj)

I don’t know how often it is used these days, but if you have an idea that your students should know it and understand how to use it, here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective slipshod. It means, for the purposes of this document, “shabby,” “careless,” and “slovenly.”

Its primary meaning, as it sounds and dating from 1580, is “wearing loose shoes or slippers.” But it also means “down at the heel.” All of this is to say that this was almost certainly a Word of the Day at Merriam Webster at the height of the first pandemic surge in the late winter and early spring of 2020.

Wait: has this really continued for almost two years now?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley on the Standardization of American Life

“It takes no great perspicacity to detect and to complain of the standardization in American life. So many foreign and domestic commentators have pointed this feature out in exactly the same terms that the comment has become standardized and could be turned out on little greeting cards, all from the same type-form: ‘American life has become too standardized.’”

Robert Benchley

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

A Learning Support on Comma Placement Relative to Other Punctuation

Here is a learning support on comma placement relative to other punctuation. This is the fourteenth of fifteenth learning supports, presented seriatim as they were presented in the punctuation manual from which they were excerpted. (You can find an excursus on this choice of publishing practice here.)

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.