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Prepositions | Writing Style Rules

How to Use Prepositions

Prepositions Writing Style Rules

Jenna remarked, “I read in my history textbook that someone named Sir Winston Churchill got upset when an editor revised one of his sentences to avoid ending it in a preposition.”

“Yes,” responded Jenna’s English teacher. “Churchill said, ‘This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.’”

“That’s awkward. If Churchill ended sentences with prepositions, why can’t I?”

“When you write as many books as Churchill, you may write what you want, but not until.”

Definition and Examples

preposition is a word that shows some relationship or position between the preposition and its object (a noun or a pronoun). The preposition is always part of a phrase and comes before its object. The preposition asks “What?” or “Whom?” and the object provides the answer.

Examples: He found it under the house. He found it under what? the house

Secrets were shared between friends (them). Secrets were shared between whom? friends (them)

Read the rules.

  • In formal writing, such as essays, prepositions and prepositional phrases never stand on their own. They always modify other words in the sentence, so Keep prepositional phrases close to the words they modify. Prepositional phrases act as adjectives to answer How Many? Which One? or What Kind? of a noun or pronoun or as adverbs to answer How? When? Where? or What Degree? of a verb, adjective, or another adverb.
  • Avoid stringing together more than two prepositional phrases.
  • Don’t use prepositional phrases instead of possessive adjectives.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] misused prepositions and prepositional phrases.

  1. “Who will you go to?” she asked.
  2. Down the road, through the gate, and past the fence rode the bicyclist.
  3. I don’t know where you’re at.
  4. Would you please hand me the coat of Sue.
  5. The lady found my dog in a blue dress.

Revise the intentional fragment.

Prepositions are not good to end sentences with.

Answers

  1. “Who will you go [to]?” she asked.
  2. Down the road, through the gate, and [past the fence] rode the bicyclist. This sentence has one too many prepositional phrase strings.
  3. I don’t know where you’re [at].
  4. Would you please hand me the coat [of Sue]. Don’t use prepositional phrases instead of possessive adjectives, such as “Sue’s coat.”
  5. The lady found my dog in a [blue dress]. Keep prepositional phrases close to the words they modify.

Check out this more detailed article, “How to Teach Prepositional Phrases,” to find out when to use to, in, and of.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Useless Adjectives and Adverbs

Eliminate Writing Crutches

Eliminate Adjective and Adverb Crutches

“‘The amazing author profoundly utilizes many symbols to creatively symbolize his very meaningful ideas.’ What do you think of my concluding statement?”

“You sure use plenty of words to say what you mean, Marci.”

“I do try. My English teacher says that I’m in love with adjectives and adverbs. They are my most favorite and often-used parts of speech.”

Definition and Examples

Writers often use adjectives to make general nouns more interesting or specific. However, readers prefer writing with well-chosen, specific nouns. Example: Instead of absolutely, positively necessary, the writer might say essential. Also, writers may include useless adverbs when more concrete and specific verbs would serve better. Examples: Instead of the runner ran incredibly quickly, the writer might say the runner sprinted.

Read the rules.

  • Writers should avoid using adjectives to make general nouns (people, places, things, or ideas) more interesting or specific. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and asks, “How Many, Which One, or What Kind?”
  • Writers should avoid using useless adverbs. An adverb modifies an adjective, adverb, or verb and asks, “What Degree, How, Where, or When?”

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the useless adjectives and adverbs.

  1. The huge sumo-wrestler entered the arena slowly to face his fighting opponent.
  2. The well-trained and experienced navy pilot took off quickly and rapidly from the large aircraft carrier.
  3. Meteorologists carefully studied the devastating impact of the swirling tornado.
  4. He gently sifted the tiny grains of sand through his fingers into the bucket.
  5. Sad mourners attended the funeral service and later after the service witnessed the burial.

Revise the sentence to eliminate useless adjectives and adverbs.

Avoid using very interesting, nice words that contribute little to a sentence.

Answers

  1. The [huge] sumo-wrestler entered the arena [slowly] to face his [fighting] opponent.
  2. The [well-trained and experienced] navy pilot took off [quickly and rapidly] from the [large] aircraft carrier.
  3. Meteorologists [carefully] studied the [devastating] impact of the [swirling] tornado.
  4. He [gently] sifted the [tiny] grains of sand through his fingers into the bucket.
  5. [Sad] mourners attended the funeral service and later [after the service] witnessed the burial.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Generalize: Get Specific

Use Specific Details and Evidence

Avoid Generalizations

“Where do you want to go to lunch? Carlos asked.

“Wherever there’s food to eat and something to drink,” said Ella.

“Could you be a bit more specific? I’d like to narrow my search terms.”

“How about ‘Italian restaurants with deep-dish pizza and red and white checkered tablecloths’?”

“That might be a little too specific, but it sounds good to me.”

Definition and Examples

The hierarchy of an essay refers to the organizational structure and the relationship of ideas within that structure. The most common essay hierarchy is the general to specific organizational pattern. Ideas, groups, and patterns are general. Facts, examples, quotations, details, and statistics are specific. Examples of the General to Specific Organizational Pattern: Substance abuse has become the leading cause of preventable deaths. Last year, opioid deaths surpassed automobile deaths. More than 80,000 Americans died due to opioid overdoses.

Read the rule.

Essays usually begin with general statements and funnel down into a specific thesis statement. A narrow focus is much easier to argue, inform, or explain than a general one. Topic sentences should provide specific reasons to support the thesis statement in an argumentative essay or include specific information or explanation about the thesis statement in an informational/explanatory essay. Supporting evidence, analysis, and minor details must be even more specific. Your teacher may comment “too general” or “be specific” in your body paragraphs. The essay conclusion may return to more general applications of the proven thesis.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the writer and essay references.

  1. Some people need to understand the issues in this world.
  2. Poisons in our waterways threaten our way of life.
  3. Many solutions create more problems than they solve.
  4. Overall, the citizens were basically happy.
  5. All challenges can be overcome with everyone’s support.

Revise the “too general” sentence to eliminate the writer or essay references.

Generally be sport of specific in your writing.

Answers

  1. [Some people] need to understand the [issues] in this [world].
  2. [Poisons] in our [waterways] threaten our [way of life].
  3. Many [solutions] create more [problems] than they solve.
  4. [Overall], the [citizens] were [basically] happy.
  5. [All challenges] can be overcome with [everyone’s support].

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How and Why Not to Say “I”

Writer and Writing References

How and Why Not to Say “I”

Tim said, “Let me read you my essay introduction: ‘In this essay my evidence, as detailed in the following four body paragraphs, will prove all I want to say to you by the time it ends.’”

“I thought the essay was supposed to be about fish.” replied Joni.

“I’ll get to that later. I thought I needed some bait to hook my readers first.”

“No, get to the essay topic of fish; don’t talk about you and your essay structure.”

“Okay, I catch what you’re saying.”

Definition and Examples

You are the writer of the essay, not the writer in the essay. Let’s understand How and Why Not to Say “I” in your essays.

Unlike a narrative (story), you cannot place yourself in the writing. Example: I understand this point of view, but for me as the writer… An essay uses objectivity (being fair to all points of view) to convince in an argumentative essay or to inform or explain in an informational/explanatory essay. Placing yourself in an essay inserts personal preferences and takes away from the objectivity of your evidence.

In a story you would never say things such as “In the next paragraph you will find out who the murderer is” or “as was previously stated in the last chapter” or “by the end of this book, you will learn.” Similarly, an essay should never talk about itself in terms of its parts or as a whole.

Read the rules.

  • Don’t refer to yourself in an essay as the writer or use first person pronouns: I, me, we, us, my, mine, our, myself, ourselves. Additionally, do not address your audience as you.
  • In your essays, don’t refer to parts of the essay or the essay itself. Use transition words to connect sentences and paragraphs to assist the reader’s understanding of your writing.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the writer and essay references.

  1. I’ll tell you everything you need to know by the end of this essay I wrote.
  2. In the last paragraph, I proved that my evidence was convincing.
  3. In the following paragraphs, I will show you why people should obey traffic signs.
  4. Our goal by the end of this essay will be to give you reasons and evidence to persuade you.
  5. In conclusion, we have proved that our position is correct throughout this editorial.

Revise the sentence to eliminate the writer or essay references.

I have shown that you should delete references to your own writing.

Answers

  1. [I’ll tell you] everything [you] need to know by the [end of this essay I wrote].
  2. In the [last paragraph], [I] proved that [my evidence was convincing].
  3. In the [following paragraphs], [I will show you] why people should obey traffic signs.
  4. [Our goal by the end of this essay] will be to give [you reasons and evidence to persuade you].
  5. In conclusion, [we have proved that our position] is correct [throughout this editorial].

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing

Essay Rules | Word Choice

Word Choices for Essays

Essay Word Choice

“Why are you using that thesaurus?” asks Lance.

“I need bigger words, so that everyone will see how smart I am,” replies Dawn.

“You are so pretentious,” says Lance.

“Is that a criticism or a compliment?” asks Dawn.

Definition and Examples

Precision (exactness) of meaning, the tone of the writing, and the audience should guide your selection of word choices in an essay. Using a word which doesn’t match what you mean to say or how you want to say it creates confusion for your readers.

Example: The comprehensive solution regarding cake and ice cream for the class party failed to address many of the students’ concerns.

Comprehensive means “thorough and complete” and suggests that nothing else is needed. A solution which failed to “address many of the students’ concerns” would not be comprehensive, so the word choice is imprecise. Also, the word choices, comprehensive, address, and concerns are formal and serious and don’t match the tone of the rest of the sentence with words such as “cake and ice cream” and “class party” and the audience of students preparing for a class party.

Read the rule.

If a simple word means exactly what you want to say and it fits the tone of your writing and your audience, use it. If a technical term or unfamiliar word must be used, define it or build writing context so that it is easily understood.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the poor word choices.

  1. She planned to enhance her drawing in the coloring book with a few stickers.
  2. Frances exaggerated how badly she did on the math quiz.
  3. The author suggested adding a mysterious villain and a clown to the children’s cartoon.
  4. The cafeteria lunch included a burrito, fruit, and milk. The fruit was a tragic choice.
  5. The witness statements, DNA, police report, and the defendant’s opinion were convincing.

Revise the poor word choices. Use a dictionary if necessary.

Avoid big words when more utilitarian words would suffice.

Answers

  1. She planned to [enhance] her drawing in the coloring book with a few stickers.
  2. Frances [exaggerated] how badly she did on the math quiz.
  3. The author suggested adding a [mysterious villain] and a clown to the children’s cartoon.
  4. The cafeteria lunch included a burrito, fruit, and milk. The fruit was a [tragic] choice.
  5. The witness statements, DNA, police report, and the defendant’s [opinion] were convincing.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Essay Rules | Intentional Fragments

How to Avoid Intentional Fragments in Essays

Avoid Intentional Fragments in Essays

“Wow! Look at all those FRAG comments Ms. Johnson wrote on your essay. You sure do love your fragments! Maybe consider writing a complete sentence once in a while,” suggested John.

“Ah… life’s too short to have to write all those words,” complained Lara. “I could type an entire essay in emojis.”

Definition and Examples

An intentional fragment is simply an incomplete sentence. It is intentional because the author chooses to use a fragment instead of a complete sentence. Writers use intentional fragments as substitutes for any of the four types of sentences: declarative (statement), imperative (command), or exclamatory (surprise or strong emotion) in narratives (story), poetry, texting, notes, and other forms of informal writing to reflect the authentic language used in everyday speech.

Examples: How dumb. Time to run. That’s amazing! Really?

Read the rule.

Write in complete sentences for all formal writing, including essays and reports, and do not use intentional fragments. A complete sentence expresses a complete thought and includes both a subject and predicate. The voice drops down at the end of a declarative (statement), imperative (command), and exclamatory (surprise or strong emotion) sentence and rises at the end of an interrogative (question) sentence.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the intentional fragments.

  1. How very strange. They would have expected him to put up less of a fight. Go figure!
  2. Seriously? The author questions whether freedom of assembly should be a right. What a joke!
  3. Ah, to be young and foolish once again. Who knows if they will return home.
  4. Visiting the National Parks is amazing. Such beauty and wildlife! All in our protected parks.
  5. She left her phone at the beach. So sad. No doubt the tide has come in by now. What a loss!

Revise the intentional fragment.

Avoid intentional fragments. Right?

Answers

  1. [How very strange.] They would have expected him to put up less of a fight. [Go figure!]
  2. [Seriously?] The author questions whether freedom of assembly should be a right. [What a joke!]
  3. [Ah, to be young and foolish once again.] Who knows if they will return home.
  4. Visiting the National Parks is amazing. [Such beauty and wildlife!] [All in our protected parks.]
  5. She left her phone at the beach. [So sad.] No doubt the tide has come in by now. [What a loss!]

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , ,

2018 Top 10 Quotes

Top 10 Quotes 2018

2018 Top 10 Quotes

Teachers… How well do you and your students know American culture? Current events? It’s quiz time!

For the last 13 years, Yale Law School librarian Shapiro adds 10 of the most popular and influential American quotes of the year to his collection of more than 12,000 well-known quotations by famous personalities, living or dead featured in his  2006 book, “The Yale Book of Quotations,” a collection of more than 12,000 well-known quotations by famous personalities, living or dead.

Let’s play a simple match game. I’ll provide the quote and the matching options. Now, not all matches will be quote to quoter; some of the matches will match quote to quotee, because some of the 2018 Top Quotes are about someone. You’ll understand as you make your guesses. Answers at bottom, so don’t scroll too far.

I read the Washington Post article, written by Kristine Phillips, who details the complete list, as published Tuesday by the Associated Press:

  1. “Truth isn’t truth.”
  2. “I liked beer. I still like beer.”
  3. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” — Sanofi drug company, in a tweet responding to this celeb’s blaming its product Ambien in a tweet.
  4. “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.”
  5. “We’re children. You guys, like, are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics and get something done.”
  6. ”[I am] not smart, but genius . . . and a very stable genius at that!”
  7. “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone.”
  8. “Our country is led by those who will lie about anything, backed by those who will believe anything, based on information from media sources that will say anything.”
  9. “I have just signed your death warrant.”
  10. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd! And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Elise Viebeck contributed to this article.

BONUS: Who said last year’s top quote: “alternative facts”?

NEED SOME HINTS?

TOP ROW: John McCain, Donald Trump, Larry Nassar, Brett Kavanaugh, David Hogg

BOTTOM ROW: Rudy Giuliani, Kanye West, Roseanne Barr, James Comey, Maxine Waters

*****

ANSWERS

  1. “Truth isn’t truth.” — Rudolph W. Giuliani, interview on “Meet the Press,” Aug. 19.
  2. “I liked beer. I still like beer.” — Brett M. Kavanaugh, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee testimony on his Supreme Court nomination, Sept. 27.
  3. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” — Sanofi drug company, in a tweet responding to Roseanne Barr’s blaming of its product Ambien in explaining a tweet that led ABC to cancel her show, May 30.
  4. “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.” — Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain in a eulogy for her father, Sept. 1.
  5. “We’re children. You guys, like, are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics and get something done.” — David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, in a CNN interview, Feb. 15.
  6. ”[I am] not smart, but genius . . . and a very stable genius at that!” — President Trump, in a tweet, Jan. 6.
  7. “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone.” — Kanye West, in a tweet, April 25.
  8. “Our country is led by those who will lie about anything, backed by those who will believe anything, based on information from media sources that will say anything.” — Former FBI director James B. Comey, in a tweet, May 23.
  9. “I have just signed your death warrant.” — Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, addressing former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar upon sentencing him to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault, Jan. 24.
  10. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd! And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), in remarks at a rally in Los Angeles, June 23.

BONUS: Kellyanne Conway

*****

The Pennington Publishing Blog is authored by Mark Pennington, English-language arts teacher and reading specialist. Mark’s assessment-based curriculum is featured at https://penningtonpublishing.com/. Each informative article (over 700) includes links and a teaching freebie. Here are three to choose from. Happy New Year! Let’s hope next year’s quotes are more hopeful and positive.

Get the 25 Greek and Latin Power Words FREE Resource:

Get the Simple Sentence Diagramming FREE Resource:

Get the SCRIP Comprehension Strategies FREE Resource:

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Simple Sentence Diagramming

Sentence diagramming can be a useful tool to make the abstract components of English grammar more concrete. Most students find that the visual image helps them better understand and remember grammatical terms, the parts of a sentence, and the basic rules of grammar. With practice, writers can use diagramming to diagnose their own grammatical errors and fix them.

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics Programs

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics

My Teaching Grammar and Mechanics Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and High School programs include a simple sentence diagram for each lesson (plus a mentor text, error analysis, practice in the writing context, and a formative assessment). The sentence diagrams are “simple,” because instead of requiring students to construct the entire diagram of a given sentence from scratch (takes too much class time), the simple sentence diagrams provide the drawing (the lines) and the words of the sentence that are not the focus of the grammar lesson.

Check out how much students can learn about grammar with these two simple sentence diagrams from my programs. Both examples focus on adverbs.

Simple Sentence Diagram Examples

Easy

Lesson Focus: An adverb can modify a verb and answer How? An adverb may be placed before or after the verb that it modifies. Modifies means to identify, define, describe, or limit. Examples: Carefully she answered. He walked slowly.

Complete the sentence diagram for this sentence: They happily played video games.

 

 

Compare your diagram to that on the display. Use a different color pen or pencil to place a √ above each correctly placed answer and change any errors.

Answer

 

 

Happily, they played video games. They happily played video games. They played video games happily.

Challenging

Lesson Focus: Today we are studying adverb order. Remember that an adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb and can be a word or a phrase. When using more than one adverb to modify the same part of speech, usually place adverbs in this functional order: 1. What degree 2. How 3. Where 4. When. Example: She sings more enthusiastically on the stage each night.

Revise and complete the sentence diagram for this mixed-up sentence: “The track star runs quickly now less.”

 

 

Compare your diagram to that on the display. Use a different color pen or pencil to place a check mark √ above each correctly placed answer and revise any errors.

Answer

 

 

The track star runs less quickly now.

Whether you choose to include simple sentence diagramming as one instructional component of teaching grammar and usage in the reading and writing contexts, the following three 10-minute lessons will help your students better understand how sentences are structured.

Get the Simple Sentence Diagramming FREE Resource:

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