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Author Topic: Calling all grammar geeks!  (Read 65560 times)
magistra
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« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2011, 10:26:31 PM »

Hmm.  Maybe I'm thinking of the whole clause as an unnecessary element.  Like so: "I believe that, instead of focusing on which enrichment programs (music, art, and athletics) can be saved, schools should focus on where they can cut frivolous spending on programs that do not directly contribute to a studentís academic education." 

She's really saying that she thinks schools should spend money on essential services, and that whole clause about enrichment programs is a detail that can be cut without changing the sense of the sentence.

Maybe?

Chime.  My thought was that the whole thing needs to be rewritten and cut down, since no amount of commas is going to make it easily understandable.  If you meet with her in a conference, tell her about editing just to cut out works ("focus on cutting spending that does not....") and reading a sentence aloud to see how it reads.  I know that wasn't what you asked, but my eyes glazed over during her sentence!
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marigolds
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« Reply #46 on: May 19, 2011, 10:26:18 AM »

Hmm.  Maybe I'm thinking of the whole clause as an unnecessary element.  Like so: "I believe that, instead of focusing on which enrichment programs (music, art, and athletics) can be saved, schools should focus on where they can cut frivolous spending on programs that do not directly contribute to a studentís academic education." 

She's really saying that she thinks schools should spend money on essential services, and that whole clause about enrichment programs is a detail that can be cut without changing the sense of the sentence.

Maybe?

Chime.  My thought was that the whole thing needs to be rewritten and cut down, since no amount of commas is going to make it easily understandable.  If you meet with her in a conference, tell her about editing just to cut out works ("focus on cutting spending that does not....") and reading a sentence aloud to see how it reads.  I know that wasn't what you asked, but my eyes glazed over during her sentence!

Oh, I completely agree.  But she has Comma Problems Rampant, so I was trying to identify what patterns the errors fell into, and this one was beyond me.
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moodymoodie
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« Reply #47 on: May 19, 2011, 10:44:01 AM »

I adore Martha Koln's Understanding English Grammar. It's actually a text for advanced grammar, but it has diagramming and everything.



That looks neat. I will have to see if I can get the library to order it.

Our program works with The Little, Brown Handbook. I haven't found anything I would replace it with yet, but I am definitely open to suggestions, especially for our first-year majors course.
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paultuttle
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« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2011, 4:25:11 PM »

I thought this was going to be a thread with lots of fun questions about subjunctives and prepositions, so we could show off our grammar geekiness!

pout.


I would have no problem if you were to take it in that direction as well. The subjunctive makes me happy.

If I were to use the subjunctive more often, I would be happier.

Perhaps.

(grin)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 4:25:47 PM by paultuttle » Logged

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merinoblue
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« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2011, 5:02:33 PM »

Grammar geeks? Hardly!  I'd call myself the Megan Fox of grammar: a grammar fiend serving up hypnotic beauty! 
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #50 on: May 22, 2011, 11:28:30 PM »

I adore Martha Koln's Understanding English Grammar. It's actually a text for advanced grammar, but it has diagramming and everything.



That looks neat. I will have to see if I can get the library to order it.

Our program works with The Little, Brown Handbook. I haven't found anything I would replace it with yet, but I am definitely open to suggestions, especially for our first-year majors course.

Ohhh...this is for a class. The Koln book is for advanced grammar--like a 300-level course.

I have found all those grammar books like Little, Brown to be a complete waste of time and money. Students have to know grammar to understand the books, and they don't know grammar.

Also, anything in those books you can find on the Purdue OWL.
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dr_alcott
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« Reply #51 on: May 23, 2011, 9:44:51 AM »

I adore Martha Koln's Understanding English Grammar. It's actually a text for advanced grammar, but it has diagramming and everything.



That looks neat. I will have to see if I can get the library to order it.

Our program works with The Little, Brown Handbook. I haven't found anything I would replace it with yet, but I am definitely open to suggestions, especially for our first-year majors course.

Ohhh...this is for a class. The Koln book is for advanced grammar--like a 300-level course.

I have found all those grammar books like Little, Brown to be a complete waste of time and money. Students have to know grammar to understand the books, and they don't know grammar.

Also, anything in those books you can find on the Purdue OWL.

Chime to this. I stopped ordering grammar guides for my students years ago. I have better luck with stuff I create myself.
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prytania3
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« Reply #52 on: May 23, 2011, 10:50:20 AM »

Now I use this book   http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Guide-Writing-Pamela-Dykstra/dp/0131849549 for my developmental crew, but I think regular composition students could learn a few things from it, too.

I *love* this book. It's also blurbed by Martha Kolln.

I don't know this book personally, but it's my Kolln and worth checking out. She's my hero.

http://pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Rhetorical-Grammar/9780205706754.page
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nordicexpat
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« Reply #53 on: May 24, 2011, 8:01:34 AM »

I just got Bas Aarts' *Oxford Modern English Grammar*. It's just out, based on corpora, and takes a contemporary approach to English grammar. Not expensive, either. I haven't had time to check yet, but the book is probably related to the UCL on-line grammar course, located here:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/
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marigolds
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« Reply #54 on: February 06, 2012, 5:53:54 AM »

OK, I got one.  A student turned in this sentence:

McCullough describes the United States' opinion of the Japanese in the early 1900's as "more servile than the Chinese" and not deserving to be among Americans (Smith12).

Why does the quotation, as she has it in the sentence, modify the clause "the US opinion of the Japanese" rather than "the Japanese" themselves, which is what she intended?  Just because that whole thing as it's set up is an unbreakable phrase that serves as the object of the sentence? 

It's easy to articulate this reference problem with pronouns (they usually refer back to the most recent noun in the sentence, and that makes sense) but I'm not sure how to tell her why this is wrong in a way that will be clear and generalizable for her.
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peppergal
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« Reply #55 on: February 06, 2012, 8:28:49 AM »

OK, I got one.  A student turned in this sentence:

McCullough describes the United States' opinion of the Japanese in the early 1900's as "more servile than the Chinese" and not deserving to be among Americans (Smith12).

Why does the quotation, as she has it in the sentence, modify the clause "the US opinion of the Japanese" rather than "the Japanese" themselves, which is what she intended?  Just because that whole thing as it's set up is an unbreakable phrase that serves as the object of the sentence? 

It's easy to articulate this reference problem with pronouns (they usually refer back to the most recent noun in the sentence, and that makes sense) but I'm not sure how to tell her why this is wrong in a way that will be clear and generalizable for her.

Changing "opinion" to "perception" eliminates the problem, I think.  "Opinion" takes a clause ("the opinion that the Japanese were more servile than the Chinese were and did not deserve to be among Americans"), while "perception" can take both an "as" phrase or a clause, which is what the student has done.

BTW, the definition of a clause requires a verb in it.  Anything else is a phrase.
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leecmimi75
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« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2012, 5:53:42 PM »

I'm surprised nobody suggested Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

I was also surprised too!
But I would say my favorite goes to Martha Koln's Understanding English Grammar of course.
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #57 on: March 14, 2012, 6:52:00 PM »

I'm surprised nobody suggested Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

I was also surprised too!
But I would say my favorite goes to Martha Koln's Understanding English Grammar of course.


Jonesy said it on the first page.
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marigolds
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« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2012, 12:58:48 PM »

I'm editing a paper and I'm not sure about commas after "Then" as an opener in a new sentence. Here's the context:

"the velocities can be computed as [some math here]. Then, the [other math thing I was just talking about before] can be expressed as [another equation here]."

Should that comma be there? I can see both sides.  If the "then" is meant to express "as a direct result of this" the comma adds emphasis and sets it off.  If it's just a transition to move to the next thing, then I think the comma shouldn't be there.

Is there a hard and fast rule about this? 
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They are our servants.  They are like dogs.  Sometimes, they think they remember being wolves, but they are only dreaming.
prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2012, 10:49:54 PM »

I'm editing a paper and I'm not sure about commas after "Then" as an opener in a new sentence. Here's the context:

"the velocities can be computed as [some math here]. Then, the [other math thing I was just talking about before] can be expressed as [another equation here]."

Should that comma be there? I can see both sides.  If the "then" is meant to express "as a direct result of this" the comma adds emphasis and sets it off.  If it's just a transition to move to the next thing, then I think the comma shouldn't be there.

Is there a hard and fast rule about this? 

Then is technically a conjunctive adverb, so you would use a semi-colon before then and a comma after it. It's a bit old school, though, and you could get away with a comma. I'm seeing it more and more.
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