Diagramming Sentences: Verbals

Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. I know grammar isn’t your favorite subject to study and learn (hey, it isn’t my favorite either), BUT knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram verbals – gerunds, participial and infinitives.

Gerunds end with -ing and act as nouns.

Participials end in -ing, -d, -t, or -n, and act as adjectives.

Infinitives are to+verb, and they act as adjectives, nouns or adverbs.

 

Gerunds are function as subjects, direct object, indirect objects, objects of prepositions and more. When you diagram a gerund, you place them on ‘steps’. Put the -ing of the verb on the lower step and the rest of the verb on the upper step. You then attach your steps to the sentence with a pedestal in whichever part of speech the gerund is functioning as.

In the sentence ‘Running is fun’, running is a gerund. It is formed from the verb ‘run’ and ends in -ing, and functions as a noun in the subject of the sentence.

Gerunds can also have compliments (direct/indirect obj) or modifiers (adj, adv). These are called gerund phrases.

The sentence ‘Running marathons is fun’ is a gerund phrase. It’s made up of the gerund ‘running’ and the direct object ‘marathons’.

Now practice with the following sentences:

  1. My sister and I enjoy laughing.
  2. Wow! Riding my bike is really fun.
  3. Jumping rope for twenty minutes is good for your heart.
  4. My favorite game is throwing a frisbee to my dog.
  5. I dream of diving to the bottom of the ocean.

 

Next, you should practice diagramming sentences with infinitives.

Infinitives act as a noun, adjective or adverb and is made up of two words: to+verb.

For example, in the sentence Kittens want to play, the infinitive ‘to play’ acts as a noun (or direct object) of the verb ‘want’.

infinative1

There are also ‘bare infinitives’  – these are infinitives that do not have the ‘to’ in front of the verb. They normally occur with verbs like feel, hear, help, let, make, see and watch.

Additionally, there are also infinitive phrases, where you have the infinitive and the words that modify and/or compliment it.

infinative2

To diagram infinitives, you’ll need to follow these rules:

infinative3

 

Now practice with the following sentences:

  1. I love to go to the movie with my friends.
  2. The best thing for me to do is to try to control my urge to shop.
  3. If I plan to save my money for the trip, I definitely need to resist the temptation to shop online.
  4. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving Break to get here.
  5. I cannot wait to see The Last Jedi on opening night.

 

Next, participles are words that are formed from verbs but act as adjective. They end in -ing, -d, -t or -n.

Now practice with the following sentences:

  1. Can you help me fix the leaning column of blocks?
  2. Have you ever read The Giving Tree?
  3. The broken glass cut my foot.
  4. Ben, exhausted, took a nap on the couch after school.
  5. The torn paper is my homework from yesterday.
10th Grade Literature 11th Grade American Literature AP Language and Composition Spring 2017 Spring 2018 Spring 2018

Preparing for the AP Exam: Q3, The Argumentative Essay

We’ve reached the last essay in our preparation for the exam in May – rejoice! Q3, or the Argumentative Essay, is similar in form to Q1, The Synthesis Essay. You will be required to take a position on a topic – either defend, qualify or challenge – and support your argument with evidence. However, unlike the Synthesis Essay, College Board will not be giving you a packet of 8 sources to pull your information from. You must come to this essay with enough personal experience, observations from current events and real-world situations and knowledge of readings/texts, that you can cite reliable evidence off the top of your head.

For those of you that do not feel comfortable with current events or the scope of your literary background, you may want to spend some time between now and May reading, reading, reading. 

Before we dive into how to write the Argumentative Essay, watch the short video below that will help to explain the essay a bit more.

Click here to watch the video.

Now that you’ve watched the video, let’s look at the 2007 prompt:q3

Notice the prompt is much shorter than the Synthesis Essay, though it follows the same basic format: pick a position, and argue that position.

For the Argumentative Essay we are going to use the ‘PRO’ method of pre-writing and brainstorm. This will ensure that you are writing a well-balanced argument, and that you use the required types of evidence.pro1

pro2pro3

pro4

If you were to do this for the 2007 prompt it would look something like this:

pro2007

You may use personal pronouns in this essay, however, you must be careful to maintain a mature authorial voice. If you’re not sure you can do this, I would try not to use the personal pronoun ‘I’ too often.

As you can see, the depth and maturity of your writing will depend on the PRO evidence you can provide – mature personal experiences, in-depth knowledge of relevant texts, and astute and applicable observations of the world around you. If you do not feel comfortable with aspects of your ability to ‘go PRO’ for this paper, please see me for suggested readings and activities you can do on your own to improve your chances of scoring a 3 or higher on the exam.

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Synthesizing Sources on the Environment: The Pessimism and Optimism of Enviromentalism

paul-hawken-434909As we continue our discussion of the Environment in preparation for the Q1 Synthesis essay, I’ve asked you to read a series of essays that focus on three types of environmental perspectives: In Lewis Thomas’ essay ‘Natural Man’, we see Thomas defining what it means to be a ‘natural man’ in the 21st century; in E.O. Wilson’s ‘The Future of Life’, we see an optimistic perspective on humanity’s relationship with the environment and the steps needed to maintain that healthy relationship, while in Bill McKibben’s ‘The End of Nature’, we see a very pessimistic viewpoint on the relationship between mankind and the environment and the future of that relationship.

 

Remember, in preparation for Socratic Seminar you need to focus on this following questions in regard to these articles, and the more specific questions targeted towards these articles in green below:

 

  • Do we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the environment?
    • How is this topic actually a larger discussion of ethics?
    • Is it too late to protect the environment from the changes we’ve already wrought?
  • Do we have a responsibility to ensure equitable access to food and water for our fellow-man?
    • How can we address this issue in a realistic way that takes into account our excesses in production and the finite resources we have access to?
  • How do we work towards greater environmental awareness and stewardship?
    • How can the average citizen effectively discuss issues impacting the human/environment relationship in a way that can target both pro and anti environmentalist?

As you prepare to discuss any questions you may have had about the articles themselves (either literal, evaluative or qualifying questions), you will also need to bring at least one additional reliable resource you’ve found on the topic. Remember, find something in these articles that appeals to you personally  – either because you agree or disagree strongly with the statements made by the author, or because you genuinely found a part of the articles and the information therein interesting. The additional resource you bring to Socratic seminar should be used to DEFEND yours or a classmates’ assertions about the article, to CHALLENGE  a classmates’ assertions about the article or the QUALIFY a statement made by a classmate.

This article asks you to revise your ideas about environmentalism and the ethics of environmentalism, as well as to consider a new global perspective on mankind’s relationship, dependence and responsibility to the environment. I look forward to your discussion Wednesday!

Click here to access the readings if you lost your copy. 🙂

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Synthesizing Sources On The Environment: Hungry Plant

As we work through mastering the Q1 synthesis essay this unit, we are going to hold Socratic seminar over a series of sources that focus on the environment. Ultimately you will all conduct a class debate at the end of the unit using (synthesizing) all of these sources.

Our focus questions for this unit are:

  • Do we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the environment ensure equitable access to natural resources for our fellow-man?

Our first source comes from the book ‘Hungry Planet’ by Peter Menzel. This piece of photojournalism focuses on portraits of families from around the world, and one week’s worth of groceries. This series highlights the differences not only in food culture by geography, culture and economic status, but also how ‘wealth’ is communicated through food and how what is perceived as ‘wealthy’ differs from place to place.

You may view these pictures via The Times by clicking here, or you can view the images below. You will need to be able to answer the following questions during seminar, as well as posing questions of your own:

  1. Which portraits are most similar to each other in terms of food representation? Does this surprise you?
  2. Which portraits are most similar in setting?
  3. Consider the number of people, or ‘mouths’, to be fed in each photograph. Compute the cost of feeding that many individuals based on the information provided. What does this tell you about the global economy?
  4. From your analysis of the photos, what inferences can you make about the countries depicted? Overall what does the photo-story tell us about global sustainability?
  5.  Look at the food-items depicted in the photographs – Does access to food always mean access to natural resources (fresh water, fresh vegetables and meats)?

hp27

hp26 hp25 hp24 hp23 hp22 hp21 hp20 hp19 hp18 hp17 hp16 hp15 hp14 hp13 hp12 hp11 hp10 hp9 hp8 hp7 hp6 hp5 hp4 hp3 hp2 hp1

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Preparing for the AP Exam – Q1, Synthesis Essay

This week we will be moving on from the Rhetorical Analysis Q2 essay and will begin working on the skills needed for the Q1 Synthesis essay. First, let me be clear: the skills of argumentation that you will be practicing the next four weeks will be used on the Q1 Synthesis and the Q3 Argumentative essay – they are both technically argumentative essays, with the key difference being that the Q1 Synthesis provides you with eight sources to use, while the Q3 Argumentative does not.

So what exactly is the Q1 Synthesis essay, and how is it different from the Q2 Rhetorical Analysis?

  • The Q1 DOES NOT require you to analyze an author’s use of rhetoric.
  • The Q1 DOES require you take a position on a given topic and defend, challenge or qualify that position.
  • The Q1 DOES provide you with eight sources to read and review for potential use in your essay.
  • The Q1 DOES NOT require you to use all eight sources, only three.

The Q1 essay was introduced in 2008, so there are not quiet as many examples for you to review on AP Central (there’s still ten years of samples though…). Your main concerns for the synthesis essay will include:

  1. Taking a CLEAR POSITION on the topic given.
  2. Writing a CLEAR THESIS for your essay.
  3. Reviewing the eight sources, and determining with three you want to use in your own essay.
  4. Formatting your paper as an argument, with a counterclaim.
  5. CITING YOUR SOURCES – including in your counterclaim.
  6. Making sure that your sources support your argument – not that you are simply rewriting the sources as your body paragraphs.

For more on the synthesis essay, see the video below. 🙂

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Preparing for the AP Exam – Free Response Question 2: Rhetorical Analysis

Section II of the AP Language and Composition Exam contains three free response questions, which students will have 2 hours and 15 minutes (or 135 minutes) to complete. Section II of the exam accounts for 55% of students scores. It is suggested that students spend:

  • 15 minutes for reading source materials for the synthesis prompt (in the free-response section)
  • 120 minutes to write essay responses to the 3 free-response questions

Prompt Types

  1. Synthesis: Students read several texts about a topic and create an argument that synthesizes at least three of the sources to support their thesis.
  2. Rhetorical Analysis: Students read a non-fiction text and analyze how the writers language choices contribute to his or her purpose and intended meaning for the text.
  3. Argument: Students create an evidence-based argument that responds to a given topic.

You have been practicing the Rhetorical Analysis, or Q2, prompt all year without even knowing it! Every rheotrical analysis you have done up till point has prepared you for the Q2 free response questions, so breathe easy AP kids – it won’t be as hard as you imagine!

 

There are a few things you can do to to ensure you do your best on the Q2 Essay:

  1. Read the prompt carefully! The prompt is the small paragraph at the top of the page – it should tell you vital information such as who the author of the piece is/was, the title of the piece, when it was published and where. Sometimes the prompt give you more information, such as the historical context of the piece, the author’s perspective or position, or the purpose of the piece. The prompt will also tell you exactly what to write!
  2. Read the text and annotate it! This is what the essay is all about… and I can assure you that those of you who annotate the text will do better than those who do a cold-writing. Remember, you’re not just looking for every stylistic and rhetorical device they author has used – you want to pay attention to the ones that seem to be most effective in achieving the purpose or appealing to their specific audience. Don’t forget the canons – delivery, organization and arrangement can be the things that help you write a deep analysis and not a surface level assessment of the rhetoric being used.
  3. MANAGE YOUR TIME. Don’t spend 30 minutes annotating the text, even though it is an important step. Also, don’t spend 30 minutes writing the introduction. You will have 135 minutes for all three essays, so its important that you learn to manage your time and work quickly and efficiently.
  4. Don’t just list all of the devices you see – pick the most effective ones to write about, and write DEEPLY about them. You need to pick an angle to write you analysis from… don’t just go through the text in chronological order and list all the devices the author uses!

 

While I will be giving you feedback on your timed writing and you will be conducting peer review throughout the semester, I strongly suggest you meet with me after school or during lunch to review your writing at some point. The more one-on-one time we can spend on your writing the better, and unfortunately we just don’t always have time to do that together in class.

**NOTE – I will be uploading ALL of the past rhetorical analysis prompts from previous AP Language and Composition Exams for you in the ‘Resources’ tab. PLEASE PRACTICE SOME OF THESE ON YOUR OWN. We can only do so many in class together before we have to move on and study the Synthesis Essay and the Argumentative Essay….. I am more than willing to work with you after school if you choose to practice additional prompts on your own! 🙂

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Civil Disobedience – What is the relationship between The Citizen and The State?

As we continue to examine the question of “what is the relationship between the citizen and the state” this week we will do so informed by your reading of Henry David Thoreau’s famous text ‘Civil Disobedience’.

disobedience

 

After analysis of the text and discussion of the topic in Socratic seminar, you will have a choice again this week of three potential projects to complete analyzing and addressing the topic of civil disobedience. As you work on this project remember that you must cite at least three reliable sources, with one of them being Thoreau’s essays.

 

 

 

Project Option 1:  Definition/Exemplification – Visual Infographic

Examine an act of Civil Disobedience, focusing on the individual or group responsible. Create an infographic that:

20130626-ghandi-civil-disobedience

  • Describe the background of the law or governmental policy in question. What was the individual and his or her allies protesting?
  • In what specific acts of civil disobedience did they engage? Provide samples/examples through artifacts (visual or audio).
  • How did the government and/or the public respond to their actions? Cite evidence.
  • Impact on the world, society, and/or governmental laws and policies – Were the goals of movement achieved? Be able to justify your answer.
  •  What role did civil disobedience play in helping them to achieve their goals? Did their actions work against them in any way?

You infographic must have at least three sources cited, and must use a minimum of 10 images. You will present a copy of your infographic to each of your classmates. Remember, PiktoChart is a great website that easily allows you to create infographics. Click here to view an example inforgraphic.  

e532f1f8674516a404f2115b1cbbfb77

 

Project Option 2: Compare and Contrast – Written Statement

Compare and contrast Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, focusing on their purpose, tone, figurative language and their definition of a ‘just law’.

Your response must be 1500 words, written in MLA format.

 

 

Project Option 3: Rhetorical Analysis – Protest Medium Presentationcbde8e01070568d58d7e0316db4b41ed

Acts of Civil Disobedience do not just take place in history books, but occur everyday around us. Find an example of modern civil disobedience from the last 50 years, and examine it. This can example of civil disobedience does not have to be limited to The United States, but can come from the global community.

  1. Conduct a rhetorical analysis of a protest medium from that act of civil disobedience – this could be a poster, a song, a poem, spoken word, a series of tweets, a speech or a visual demonstration. Determine if the protest medium was effective or not, and present this analysis of your selection to the class.
  2. Create your own protest medium for the topic, using rhetoric effectively to achieve your purpose. You may create a poster, record a song (at least 90 seconds long), write a poem, perform spoken word (at least 90 seconds long), write a tweet-stream (at least five tweets long, 140 characters with pictures), write a speech (at least three minutes long). If you do not read or perform these protest mediums, you must submit a recording of them.
AP Language and Composition Spring 2018