Monthly Archives: March 2020

John Kenneth Galbraith on the Pleasures of His Life

“One of my greatest pleasures in writing has come from the thought that perhaps my work might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position. Then comes the saddening realization that such people rarely read.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Super Bowl III

Finally, today, here is a high-interest reading on Super Bowl III along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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.

Use the Proper Case of Pronoun.

[If you need this as a learning support in Microsoft Word it’s under that hyperlink.]

“10. Use the proper case of pronoun.

 The personal pronouns, as well as the pronoun who, change form as they function as subject or object.

Will Jane or he be hired, do you think?

 The culprit, it turned out, was he.

 We heavy eaters would rather walk than ride.

 Who knocks?

 Give this work to whoever looks idle.

In the last example, whoever is the subject of looks idle; the object of the preposition to is the entire clause whoever looks idle. When who introduces a subordinate clause, its case depends on its subject in that clause. (N.B. The first two sentences are incorrect, the second two are correct.)

Virgil Soames is the candidate whom we think will win.

Virgil Soames is the candidate who we hope to elect.

Virgil Soames is the candidate who we think will win [We think he will win.]

Virgil Soames is the candidate whom we hope to elect. [We hope to elect him.]

A pronoun in a comparison is nominative if it is the subject of a stated or understood verb.

Sandy writes better than I. (Than I write.)

In general avoid “understood” verbs by supplying them.

I think Horace admires Jessica more than I.

I think Horace admires Jessica more than I do.

Polly loves cake more than me.

Polly loves cake more than she loves me.

The objective case is correct in the following examples.

The ranger offered Shirley and him some advice on campsites.

They came to meet the Baldwins and us.

Let’s talk it over between us, then, you and me.

Whom should I ask?

A group of us taxpayers protested.

Us in the last example is in apposition to taxpayers, the object of the preposition of. The wording, although grammatically defensible, is rarely apt. “A group of us protested as taxpayers” is better, if not exactly equivalent.

Use the simple personal pronoun as subject. (N.B. The first sentence is incorrect, the second sentence is correct.)

Blake and myself stayed home.

Blake and I stayed home.

Howard and yourself brought the lunch, I thought.

Howard and you brought the lunch, I thought..

The possessive case of pronouns is used to show ownership. It has two forms: the adjectival modifier, your hat, and the noun form, a hat of yours.

The dog has buried one of your gloves and one of mine in the flower bed.

Gerunds usually require the possessive case.

Mother objected to our driving on the icy roads.

A present participle as a verbal, on the other hand, takes the objective case.

They heard him singing in the shower.

The difference between a verbal participle and a gerund is not always obvious, but note what is really said in each of the following.

Do you mind me asking a question?

Do you mind my asking a question?

In the first sentence, the queried objection is to me. As opposed to other members of the group, asking a question. In the second example, the issue is whether a question may asked at all.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

Crime and Puzzlement: Incident at the Ferry

Here is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Incident at the Ferry.” I use this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the American idiom “Every dog has his day” to open this lesson. You’ll need this PDF of the illustration and questions surrounding the case so that your students may conduct their investigation. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key to solve this heinous crime.

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.

Star-Crossed Lovers

“Dido and Aeneas * Helen and Paris * Layla and Majnoun * Antara and Bala * Prince Khosrow and Shirin * Pyramus and Thisbe * Romeo and Juliet * Abelard and Heloise * Tristan and Isolde

Only the saddest stories live forever.

Aeneas would betray his lover, Dido, the queen of Carthage (who had generously offered hospitality to his refugee-party from Troy) in order to follow his political destiny, while Paris would unwittingly start the whole gory cycle of the Trojan War by receiving the love of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, as reward from the Goddess Aphrodite.

The love of Majnoun (literally the ‘possessed’ or ‘mad one’) for his beloved friend from school, Layla, is perhaps the most influential of all the Arab world’s tales. The pair were separated by a family feud and after his beloved had been given to another man, Majnoun wasted his life away in the desert, a virgin ascetic composing love songs to his impossible dream. Scholars have traced fifty-nine variations of this tale, including the cycle of Antara and Abla; the Persian story of this love of Prince Khosrow for Princess Shirin; Pyramus and Thisbe; and the most famous spin-off of all—Romeo and Juliet(‘A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows, Do with their death bury their parents’ strife’).

Medieval European love was equally unpromising. The story of Abelard and Heloise begins with the elderly male canon-scholar seducing his brilliant but poor young pupil in twelfth-century Paris. Once pregnant she is sent away to give birth in Brittany and then tricked with a ‘secret and private’ marriage before being consigned to a nunnery. Only after Heloise’s many admirers take their revenge on Abelard by castrating him does his proper love grow, and it is as chaste monk and nun that they enjoy the correspondence that would later be published.

Tristan and Isolde has inspired countless tellings, including Sir Thomas Malory’s creation of L’Morte d’Arthur. It has been traced to a twelfth century text but clearly looks back to a much older Celtic tradition in which the dashing young Tristan is sent to Ireland to bring back the beautiful Isolde for his uncle Mark, King of Cornwall. However, during their journey the two mistakenly drink a love potion destined to be consumed during the marriage ceremony. Thereafter their lives are full of deceit and romping adventure as they aspire to be good and dutiful to King Mark, yet stay true to their love. They can only break out of their fateful destiny by taking their own lives.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Three Long Division Worksheets and Their Answer Keys

I started working on these three long division worksheets and their respective answer keys several months ago as part of a large remedial unit on basic operations in arithmetic. I just finished them this morning.

Let me say again that I am not a math teacher–and was not exactly a stellar math student–and leave it at that. OK, come to think of it, I will point you toward this article on “interleaving” in math instruction from the American Educator. When circumstances (which I hope never to confront again) compel me to teach math, I tend to use articles like that one to guide my planning.

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.

Q.E.D. (Quod Erat Demonstrandum)

“Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum): Which was to be demonstrated: used to indicate that something has just been showed or proved. ‘By making this call—which reduces both characters to still more tears—Vito miraculously learns to “stop hating himself.” He then decides, Q.E.D., that the time has come to quit his ad-agency job and settle down with Theda to collaborate on hit plays.’ Frank Rich, The New York Times”

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