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Thread: Book for the Grammar Police

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003

    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:

    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.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Nov 2006
    Jamestown, New York
    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
    Aug 2002
    We had it in my Quaker high school too!

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

  4. #4
    Apr 2007
    New York, NY
    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 Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    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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