Tag Archives: diction/grammar/style/usage

Common Errors in English Usage: Perspective (n), Prospective (adj)

Here is a worksheet on sorting out the use of the noun perspective and the adjective prospective. These are a couple of words worth knowing and being able to use properly–especially for high school seniors who are in the process of becoming prospective students at post-secondary institutions. Incidentally, since these are very near homophones, and may indeed sound like homophones to English language learners, I’ve tagged this post as such.

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.

Leo Tolstoy

Here is a reading on Leo Tolstoy and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Do high school students read Tolstoy–or any of the big Russian authors, for that matter? I prepared these documents last week after a high school chum of mine mentioned in correspondence that he’d read Anna Karenina at our high school. Ours was a somewhat unusual (and unusually small) school, but not that far out of the mainstream–though I did read Richard Brautigan for the first time there.

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.

The Weekly Text, January 22, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Predicate Adjective

It’s an important syntactical structure and area of English usage, so I have written several lessons on the predicate adjective; I want students to have this sentence structure and its parts, especially linking verbs, down cold. So, this week’s Text is yet another lesson plan on the predicate adjective.

I open this lesson with this worksheet on the Latinism N.B., or nota bene. The first time I saw this abbreviation on a piece of my Russian language homework in college, I looked it up and mastered its use. It is a phrase students ought to know. This is the scaffolded worksheet on using the predicate adjectives at the center of the lesson, and here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet for ease of teaching this lesson.

There are two learning supports (ultimately, I’d plan to make four, for, again, scaffolded teaching and learning). The first one is organized to provide extra support for students who need it; the second one is less organized and structured and therefore places greater demand on heuristics and the ability to search for just the right word.

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.

Approbation (n)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun approbation.  It means “an act of approving formally or officially: COMMENDATION, PRAISE” and has an adjectival form in approbatory.

Approbation is not exactly the most commonly used word in the English language. That may in fact be its strength in using this document to teach inferring from context as a reading strategy. When students don’t know a word this obscure, in my experience, they derive satisfaction in the act of defining it from the context in which it is embedded. Will your students begin expressing to their friends and siblings about their approbation and disapprobation (which means, unsurprisingly, “the act or state of disapproving : the state of being disapproved : CONDEMNATION”) for menu choices, girlfriends or boyfriends, or musical preferences? Probably not. But they will have an opportunity to practice an important, indeed key, reading comprehension strategy by defining this word from the context in which it appears.

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.

Word Root Exercise: Dent, Denti

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word roots dent and denti. Would you be terribly surprised that they mean, respectively, tooth and teeth?

This is a very productive root in English, and one particularly useful for student considering healthcare careers, especially, uh, dentistry.

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.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Here is a reading on President Rutherford B. Hayes along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet

Hayes was basically a cipher (in the sense of “one that has no weight, worth, or influence NONENTITY“), but his election in 1876, a result of the famous Compromise of 1877, was consequential indeed. The negotiations that elevated Hayes to the presidency directly brought about the end of Post-Civil War Reconstruction Era in the former Confederate States, but also engendered the Jim Crow laws that oppressed Americans of African descent, in most respects, to this day. When you think about the horrors that black people suffered and continue to suffer, think about the installation of Hayes in the presidency as a result of this chicanery.

This is a relatively short reading. But I think it could be the basis of a unit that I would like to think contained adapted text and teacher-made materials from C. Vann Woodward’s seminal treatise on this period of United States history, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). If we want students to make sense of the present, then we must help them understand the real past–without obfuscation or euphemism.

Incidentally, I’ve attached the black history tag to this post, not because Hayes’ biography is black history–it manifestly is not. But the man’s effect on the lives and history of Americans of African descent really speaks for itself: generations of extrajudicial murder (including of children), apartheid laws, an unearned and misplaced sense of ethnic superiority attached to white skin–do I need to go on? Unfortunately, Rutherford B. Hayes is part of Black History in this country.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Duke Ellington

Here, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Duke Ellington

Today is a day of service; don’t forget to go out and do something to make the world a better, more just, peaceful, and dignified place

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 Weekly Text, January 15, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Latin Word Root Medi-

The Weekly Text from Mark’s Text Terminal for Friday, January 15, 2021, is a lesson plan on the Latin word root medi. It means middle; unless I miss my guess, you already recognize this as an extremely productive root in English, as well as across the Romance Languages.

I open this lesson with this context worksheet on the noun intermediary. This is a commonly used word in English. Its adjectival form, intermediate, shows up on this scaffolded worksheet on this word root that is the principal work of this lesson.

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.

Write It Right: Both Alike

“Both alike. ‘They are both alike.’ Say, they are alike. One of them could not be alike.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Achieve (vi/vt)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb achieve, which is used both intransitively and transitively.

More importantly, perhaps, it is very commonly used among educators and with our students;  we use it, albeit in adjectival form, in terms of art like “achievement gap.” If we’re going to use this word, which can be in some cases a value judgement, then we owe it to our kids to help them understand it in both its denotative and connotative senses. Moreover, I would argue, we need to help students understand that achieve and achievement are words that can be and often are used in highly subjective–and again, judgemental–ways.

So we might want to ask critical questions, and by extension help students gain an understanding of asking such questions, like: “What is achievement?” “Who defines achievement?” “How do people know when they achieve something?” “Why is achieving things important?” “According to whom?” “How does one know when one has achieved something?” You get the picture.

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.