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Thread: Book for the Grammar Police

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Book for the Grammar Police

    Grammar rocks
    Putting it all on the line
    Celebrated book examines the art of diagramming

    Headline and Article from the Louisville Courier-Journal:
    http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/...jJAf3cPejY0%3D

    The book is
    "Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences"
    by Kitty Burns Florey.

    Some students loved diagramming. In sixth grade, Florey was hooked by the enthusiasm of a nun named Sister Bernadette and by the visual appeal of the diagrams themselves -- "the curious geometric shapes they made, their maplike tentacles, the way the words settled primly along their horizontals like houses on a road."

    And that, Florey said, is one of the appeals of diagramming. "Diagramming gives grammar, proper English and good usage the same kind of respectability that math has. It shows that there's a right answer and a wrong answer.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I can't argue with diagramming sentences. I learned good grammar that way -- plus reading gazillions of books. I'm not surprised this book is "Sister Bernadette's..." . Diagramming hung on in Catholic schools long after it died in the public schools.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    We had it in my Quaker high school too!

    Well, it was also more than 25 years ago...

  4. #4
    BANNED
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    Grammar books have always seemed slightly elitist to me, I dunno--at least the books about people going around with a sharpie pen correcting signs in shop windows. When you think about it, grammar is simply what sounds "correct" to a whole lot of people, or what was passed on to us as "correct" by a whole lot of people when we were younger.

    For example, a lot of people use "it's" when it should be "its" or "you're" instead of "your". This doesn't bother me that much, because if enough people do it for a long enough time, it'll become the norm. That idea is a whole lot more interesting to me.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I write very well, thank you, and am so glad that I was on the leading edge of "diagramming" since I had to do so little of it. My kid had to do that the last couple of years and it is soooo frustrating I had to tell him, hey kid, you're on your own.

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