Tag Archives: grammar and style

Grapheme (n)

A minimal unit of grammar into which a sentence or a word within a sentence can be divided. E.g. Come inside can be divided into the minimal units come, in, and side; distasteful into dis, taste, and ful.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

The Weekly Text, August 9, 2018

Today is August 9. On this day in 1945, three days after the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, a plutonium bomb called Fat Man was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. In 1974, while I was away at the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, Richard Nixon, engulfed in the Watergate scandal, resigned the presidency. Today is Singapore’s National Day, which celebrates that nation’s independence from Malaysia, which it achieved in 1956.

This week’s Text is four parsing sentences worksheet for nouns. These are pretty simple literacy exercises designed to get students reading and understanding the structure of basic declarative sentences by analyzing the parts of speech in them.

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.

Grammar (n)

Any systematic account of the structure of the language; the patterns that it describes; the branch of linguistics concerned with such patterns.

Often restricted to the study of units that can be assigned a meaning. Distinguished in that light from phonology, e.g. singing is a grammatical unit as are sing and –ing, while s or the syllable si are phonological. Also opposed, thought not always, to a dictionary or the lexicon. E.g. the meanings of sing belong to its entry in the lexicon; the functions of -ing to grammar, where they are described for verbs in general. When limited in both of those ways, the study of grammar reduces to that of morphology and syntax.

Chomsky’s term in the 1960s for the knowledge of a language developed by a child who learns to speak it. A grammar in the widest sense was thus at once a set of rules (32) said to be internalized by members of a speech community, and account, by a linguist, of such a grammar. This internalized grammar is effectively what was later called I-language.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Gerund

A nominal form of verbs in Latin: e.g. pugnando (“fight-gerund-abl.sg”) “by fighting.” Hence a term available for verb forms with a noun-like role in other languages: e.g. English fighting is traditionally a gerund in Fighting used to be fun, as opposed to the participle, also in –ing but with a different syntactic role, in people fighting.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Parsing Sentences Worksheets: Adjectives

Over time, I have begun to wonder if parsing sentences, somewhere along the line. I think not, at least in my classroom, which is why I wrote, and now pass along to you, these four worksheets for parsing adjectives in basic declarative sentences.

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.

A Learning Support on Writers’ Manuals

If you teach writing and want to supply your students with the tools for creating good prose, you might find this short bibliography of writers’ manuals a helpful handout.

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.

Diction (n)

Choice of words with respect to clarity, variety, taste, etc.; aptness of vocabulary and phrasing; correctness of pronunciation; enunciation. Adjective: dictional; adverb: dictionally.

‘It is destructive enough to the novel’s texture to hear this “historical” Arthur speak in the diction of a mod labor candidate or an American president standing for re-election.'”

Alan Cheuse, The New York Times

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