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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2005

E 360K • English Grammar

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32310 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
PAR 203

Course Description

The aim of this course is a better understanding of syntax, the structure of sentences. We will divide the semester fairly evenly between the two texts. Kolln's text uses Reed-Kellogg diagrams to represent the structure of sentences concisely. Through weekly exercises, you will learn the powers and limitations of this form of description, which dates from the nineteenth century. 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 understanding of how (and, you may sometimes think, whether) the classification system presented in the chapter applies to constructions that appear to break the rules. The second text, by Baker, presents a version of the generative theory of grammar. This theory involves taking a more empirical approach to describing sentences, as it sees syntax as indicative of the structure of mind and knowledge. The tree diagrams you will construct in working through this text are similar in many respects to Reed-Kellogg diagrams, but trees are more explicit in naming and arranging phrases in a representation that underlies the linear form that actual sentences take. The goal of this course is to survey the full range of sentence patterns in English, to illustrate their structure, and to learn how to explain ambiguities and errors to ourselves and others.

Grading Policy

Work on exercises and class participation 20%
Two 1-hour tests 25% each
Comprehensive final examination 30%

Note: Class participation presupposes regular attendance. There will be no make-up tests or final without a proven medical emergency. Exercises are marked as check, check +, or check -. We will usually discuss the best answers in class. They factor into your grade as follows: all checks = 80 (B-). More than two "check - " or "Inc" lowers that, and two or more late exercises lower it more. [N.B. If your average grade on the exams is better than 80, your exercises won't count against you. The exercise grade is your safety net.]


Martha Kolln, Understanding English Grammar (Allyn & Bacon, 1997), 5th Edition
C.L. Baker, English Syntax (MIT, 1995), 2nd Edition


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