E 360K • English Grammar
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
The aim of this course is a better understanding of syntax, the structure of sentences. We will divide the semester fairly evenly between the first two texts. Kolln uses Reed-Kellogg diagrams, which concisely if somewhat mysteriously represent this structure. Through weekly exercises you will learn the powers and limitations of this nineteenth-century form of analysis. In addition to diagramming sentences, you will frequently write out some of the "Questions for Discussion" that appear at the end of each chapter. These questions call upon your ability to explain how the classification system presented in that chapter applies to borderline constructions that appear to break the descriptive rules. Baker presents a version of the generative theory of grammar. The descriptions of sentences constructed within this book are more detailed than Reed-Kellogg diagrams. These tree diagrams name phrases as well as arrange them, and they also arrange these phrases in ways intended to reveal their relationship to the linear orders actual sentences take. Our goal in using these two systems is to survey the full range of sentence patterns in English, to illustrate their structure, and to learn how to explain ambiguities and errors, both prescriptive and descriptive, to ourselves and to others.
Exercises, class participation, and attendance ( 2 or fewer absences): 11%
Additionally, timely and satisfactory completion of all exercises collected raises your final grade one point if your exam average is between an A and a B, two points if it is between an B and a C, three points if it is between a C and a D, and four points if it is below 60.
Two in-class 75 minute exams: 28% each
The first exam is in the fifth week of class, the second will be in or near the 12th week of class. The exam questions will strongly resemble the weekly exercises. There will be no make-up exams or finals without a proven medical emergency.
Comprehensive final examination : 33%
I will accept late exercises only on or before the class day immediately after the due date for that assignment. Exercises are better slightly late than never, but better yet when never late.
Martha Kolln and Robert Funk, Understanding English Grammar (Allyn and Bacon, 2005, seventh edition)
C. L. Baker, English Syntax (MIT, 1995), second edition, blue paperback