WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? (PART 3: WE KNOW YOUR TYPE…GET THINGS IN ORDER!)

Quick Review: The 250 000 or so WORDS in our English language are grouped into 8 FAMILIES or PARTS OF SPEECH. 

We can remember the 8 PARTS OF SPEECH using the acronym PAPA VINC. (Pronouns, Adjectives, Prepositions, Adverbs, Verbs, Interjections, Nouns and Conjunctions.)

The name of each part of speech is determined by its position and function within a sentence.

HOWEVER, BEFORE WE PROCEED TO THE ANALYSIS (OR PARSING) OF SENTENCES, WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF SENTENCES AND THREE TYPES OF SENTENCE ORDER

So that none of our students feels (not feel…you’ll learn more about subject/verb agreement later) slighted, we’ll give you all we’ve got and provide you with mnemonic devices that will help you remember…

LET’S START WITH THE FOUR TYPES OF SENTENCES:

1.  STATEMENT, ASSERTIVE OR DECLARATIVE SENTENCE(S.A.D. if you forget). Used to     tell, describe or explain something. They begin with a capital and end with a period. Example: The study of grammar is worth the effort.

2.  INTERROGATIVE OR QUESTION (What’s your I.Q.?). They begin with a capital and end with a question mark (?). Example: How does one go about it?

3.  IMPERATIVE OR COMMAND (I. C.). They too begin with a capital and end with a period. Example: Make time and study.

4.  EXCLAMATION (Oh my goodness, I’m an ex clam!) They begin with a capital and end with an exclamation mark (!). Example: Do it now! (yes, it’s a command but the exclamation mark (!) gives it some oomph)

Now, see if you can readily identify each type of sentence (Yes, you’re allowed to cheat!):

Give me your name. Why do you ask? I’m doing a survey. I hate surveys!

NEXT UP…SENTENCE ORDER!

In order to qualify as a complete thought, a sentence must have two parts, namely, a subject (the naming part) and a predicate (the telling part). Good writers often vary the arrangement of these two parts in order to add variety and interest.

There are 3 possible orders (or arrangements) of subject and predicate. Here’s your new acronym (or mnemonic device) for remembering: S.I.N. 

S = SPLIT ORDER (the subject is between two parts of the predicate). Example: After running the marathon, the exhausted athlete drank several bottles of water.

I = INVERTED ORDER (the subject and predicate are reversed). Example: Down the lane lives the little old lady.

N = NATURAL ORDER (the subject is followed by the predicate). Example: One of the contestants answered incorrectly.

Identifying the subject and predicate is not rocket science. A writer (or speaker) names something (this is our subject) and then tells something about it/him/her/them (this is our predicate). Sometimes the order in which a sentence is written or the inclusion of extra words or groups of words can complicate matters. Please don’t fret. As Papa Vinc might say, “Fergedda bout it!” We’ll proceed from the very simple of sentences before we compound matters or make things complex. By the end, we’ll have the ability to to identify and analyze (parse) even the most compound-complex types of sentences.

Your grammar is about to get a whole lot better. There’s a time and a place for using proper grammar and spelling. The secret is being able to know when and how to do just that. Remember that! (sorry Papa Vinc)…

OOPS! WHAT I MEANT WAS…

Tonight, I (bloggingfrog) was watching the Oprah/Lady Gaga interview. There was a mention of a 14 year-old gay boy who became a target of relentless bullying by his peers. In the voice-over, Oprah tells the world,”…he hung himself…”  WHAT SHE MEANT TO SAY was “…he hanged himself…”. As we were reminded in WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART ONE, pictures are hung…people are hanged.

We forgive you Oprah but not your writers who are probably paid enough to know the difference. They should be hanged (out to dry).

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