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language lessons.

lessons. But what should be emphasized ? and what should stand first in the order of presentation ?

Elementary correctness in oral usage should be the first result aimed at in teaching grammar to children. At all events, it is the result most difficult to produce. The teacher of a large class cannot easily diagnose the habitual faults of each individual, or easily cure those diagnosed. She can patiently correct sporadic aint's and wa'nt's, but the habits usually persist. It is sometimes said that school cannot counteract a bad linguistic environment; but it is a mistake for any teacher, however discouraged, to say that. School, with all its opportunities for fixing attention and insuring vivid impressions, can work miracles in a child's usage. But miracles are not wrought “incidentally”; there must be organized and prolonged drill, of a sort which to-day is called old-fashioned. Nor need there be a fear that learning to say isn't will be less educative than distinguishing " object complements” from “ objective complements."

Next in importance to elementary oral correctness we may place a working knowledge of what a sentence is. This knowledge is purely grammatical in its nature, but it underlies all work in composition. It is attained by applying the theory of independent and


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dependent statements to the actual problems of punctuation. The theory is perfectly definite, even arbitrarily so, and has nothing to do with rhetorical theories of unity.

Believing that elementary oral correctness and an elementary sentence-sense should be the first objects of grammar study, the present writer has devoted Part First of his book to a few cardinal principles of conversational English, and to the definition of the sentence. The exercises of this part are very numerous, but often each member of the class should be required to recite the entire exercise — for example, 17, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 38, 39, 43, 48, 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 61. From time to time each student's usage should be tested.

should be tested. His written usage can be discovered from his handling of such tasks as that of section 300.· His oral usage can be tested once a week by having him retell some story to the class, or recount some experience of his own. He should not be corrected during his speech, but his mistakes should be silently “set in a note-book, conned, and learned by heart,” to be (most gently and kindly) cast into his teeth next day. A small note-book, with a page for each student, can silently be used throughout the hour without embarrassing the speakers. Conversation should be encouraged, and the faults similarly noted.

In Part Second a more systematic treatment of English grammar is given, with further applications to usage.

The elements of the sentence are treated before the inflections.

The book is meant to be used for two years. If anything is omitted, it should be the “ Analysis Exercises” of Part Second. A student who omitted only these would know nothing of analysis or parsing, but would have received a good deal of blind practise in the correct use of the vernacular.

In Part First there are but few definitions. The words defined in Part Second are in bold type. Sentences containing such words should usually be committed to memory.

The writer holds with those who believe that a little technical grammar, -sympathetically taught, is within the normal powers and interests of grammar school students. Also he thinks it the only permanent cure for bad punctuation. A boy may learn to punctuate by instinct after his written work has been pointed for him over and over again; but without some clear notion of principal and subordinate clauses he will never be sure of himself.

Yet it is only too easy to overdo the teaching of formal grammar.

Subtleties of analysis are not for children.

n. When we reflect that grammatical terms are but figures of speech, we can only pity the lad who has to apply them as if they were divinely ordained. When we realize that the purpose of every predicate is to modify the hearer’s notion of the subject; that every word but one in a sentence is a modifier, a complement, an adjunct, a limiter, an increaser, a definer of the subject; that every word is a name as well as something else; that in many sentences the only important thought lies in some subordinate element; that personal pronouns may mean more than persons' names, which are often but unimportant propronouns, and that pronouns may stand for verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and sentences; when we reflect that what we call the parts of speech are the result of at least three disparate methods of classification, and that a strict definition of any is logically impossible, is it any wonder that technical grammar is strong meat for babes ? If the boy thinks about what he studies, he gets mixed up. If he does not think, he parses accurately from memory till a

, visitor arrives, and then covers himself and his teacher with confusion by calling a verb a

One recalls Sweet's story of the assemblage of grammarians who could not agree whether cannon in cannon ball is an adjective or not. Finally, one thinks with grim humor of Browning's poetic license in declaring that his grammarian had "settled hoti's business.Hoti": business will never be settled while articulatespeaking men strive to fathom the miracle of speech — what Newman liked to call “ the twofold logos, the thought and the word.”


A kindly fortune has lately given the writer the benefit of many discussions of grammar with three friends : Director George N. Carman of the Lewis Institute, Professor W. A. Heidel of Iowa College, and Professor F. W. Shipley of Washington University. Fortune would have been still kinder had it permitted the writer to submit the proofs of his book to the same critics.

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