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’.

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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

Naturalism in American Literature

As we move away from the Realist period in American literature and into the 20th century, we approach the literary period known as ‘Naturalism’. While many of the other periods of writing in American literature had fairly distinct timelines and major events that acted as ‘endcaps’, the Naturalist period overlaps many of the other time periods – Realism, and The Harlem Renaissance. While very similar to Realism, there are distinct differences between the two periods:realism-and-naturalism-in-acting-context-6-638

As we read through these texts, pay attention to how we are finally presented with stories that have characters who struggle with their emotions and their own psychology. We will also be examining stories that develop the struggles of characters in poverty and characters who are disenfranchised in society.

 

Please watch the video below to catch up on your in-class notes if you missed them!

11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018

Charlotte Perkins Gilman – The Yellow Wallpaper

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Over the next two days we will be reading the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A feminist, social reformer and novelist, Gilman based the story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” on her own experiences with depression and the popular 19th century ‘rest cure’. In her short story she examines the impact that this ‘cure’ has on the mental state of her female protagonist, and makes a clear statement against the control that a patriarchal society held over every aspect of women’s lives in the 19th century.

 

As we examine this text, remember to apply the lens of Feminist Criticism to your analysis. If you’ve forgotten how to do this, remember:

Feminist Criticism:  Feminist criticism is concerned with the impact of gender on writing and
reading. It usually begins with a critique of patriarchal culture. It is concerned with the place of female writers in the literary cannon. Finally, it includes a search for a feminine theory or approach to texts. Feminist criticism is political and often revisionist. Feminists often argue that male fears are portrayed through female characters. They may argue that gender determines everything, or just the opposite: that all gender differences are imposed by society, and gender determines nothing.

Advantages: Women have been underrepresented in the traditional cannon, and a feminist approach to literature attempts to redress this problem.

Disadvantages: Feminists turn literary criticism into a political battlefield and overlook the merits of works they consider “patriarchal.” When arguing for a distinct feminine writing style, they tend to relegate women’s literature to a ghetto status; this in turn prevents female literature from being naturally included in the literary cannon. The feminist approach is often too theoretical.

Checklist of Feminist Critical Questions:

  • To what extent does the representation of women (and men) in the work reflect the place and time in which the work was written?
  • How are the relationships between men and women or those between members of the same sex presented in the work?
  • What roles do men and women assume and perform and with what consequences?
  • Does the author present the work from within a predominantly male or female sensibility?
  • Why might this have been done, and with what effects?
  • How do the facts of the author’s life relate to the presentation of men and women in the work? To their relative degrees of power?
  • How do other works by the author correspond to this one in their depiction of the power relationships between men and women?

Please click here for access to Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wallpaper”.

11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018

Paul Lawrence Dunbar – We Wear the Mask

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Paul Laurence Dunbar was an American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dunbar’s parents had both been slaves prior to the Civil War, and he was apart of the first group of African Americans to be born free and emancipated from slavery in the United States. His work focused on the dialect and language of the Southern slaves and African Americans, though he had a difficult time publishing this work. He wanted to record and preserve the language of the southern African Americans, as slaves had been kept illiterate, and he knew that this history would be lost. Eventually Dunbar would go on to write poems, stories and articles in standard forms, and would receive acclaim and praise for them.

 

In class we are analyzing Dunbar’s poem ‘We Wear The Mask’, and tracing how not only the tone of the poem shifts in each stanza, but also how the speaker feels about the ‘mask’ they where. Please be sure to analyze this poem thoroughly, and it will be on your test!

 

Click here to access Dunbar’s poem.

11th Grade American Literature 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

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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

Lincoln’s Oration

As we continue to examine primary source documents from the Realist period of American Literary history, we turn to one of the country’s most amazing Presidential writers, Abraham Lincoln.

We have discussed how a speaker’s audience, purpose and persona impact their writing and oration, as well as the way they employ rhetorical devices.

 

11th Grade American Literature 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