Imparting expertise and excitement about writing to students has been a task that writing teachers across the continents have deliberated on and debated for decades. At various times, their emphasis has centered on four key concerns: (1) on correctness of language usage; (2) on addressing the audience and community; (3) on developing a more rational, clearer intellectual stance; and (4) on realizing a more authentic, free-flowing expression revealing the personal voice and perspective of the writer.
These pioneers have each hewn new ground, brought fresh ideas to the ongoing conversation, and illumined us all with what to keep in mind when crafting a composition or staking out a sentence, along with reminding us of the overarching and subtle aspects of the relationships between language, reader, subject, and writer.
Surprisingly, however, few have put the sentence under full scrutiny by a comprehensive examination of its prevailing Forms. Sentences have Forms that can be recognized by specific key words, by a variety of properly placed punctuation marks, and by the positioned placement of its primary and secondary structural units. This book lays out these 128 Essential and Universally Used Sentence Forms, conveniently arranged in 10 main groups plus 1 group of lone rangers.
Take the plunge, get this book, and see and learn these Forms! In addition to giving you a repertoire to deploy in the field of composition, your handle on these Forms will greatly boost your appreciation of good writing, as these Forms – waiting for you to notice and recognize – lie throughout good writing as the hidden structural architecture of their writer's art.
A handy nomenclature will enable you to retain these Forms forever at your fingertips.
Introductory Talk 2011.6.4 Kyungbook University, Daegu, South Korea
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The Two Hands Approach to the English Language: A Symphonic Assemblage (symphonicassemblage.org)
The site introduces our older sibling, also 2-volume work, The Two Hands Approach to the English Language: A Symphonic Assemblage(Volumes I and II) (2009).
This monumental work proposes and is the prototype for a new genre of academic scholarship, the assemblage – a genre suitable for the Integral Age now dawning and which incorporates and interweaves insights and textual keepsakes from humanity's treasured and vast past, across disciplines, yet held together with a unifying theme and guiding metaphor. Some (but only some) of the valuable contents of the 2 volumes of the (Symphonic Assemblage) are available for viewing at the following site: twohandsapproach.org
[2012 October ATLANTIC Magazine]
Learning a few Sentence Forms changes a school's dropout rates
"For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform." Click here for complete article. Click here to read our response.
[2011 August 25]
Response to Kelly Coyle's review of Stanley Fish's How to Write a Sentence
Back in February this year, Hamline University writing instructor Kelly Coyle wrote an insightful and well-written review of Prof. Fish's recent book.
For those who have not read Fish's book, Coyle's review is itself an example of writing that perhaps says more about the writing process itself than does Fish's book. Coyle deliberates on what should be his opening sentence. Should it be short and to the point? Should it start with a modifying time clause? Coyle goes through several possible openers and very clearly explains the merits and drawbacks of each.
Coyle's description of this seesaw process of tuning and fine editing shows he is fully aware that good writing involves finding the best choice from among the many that pop and crop up during the composing process. In expressing his disappointment with the Fish book, Coyle says:
Coyle expresses his disappointment at not finding an inventory or listing of sentence forms.
He then describes how when he was trying to learn to play guitar, he came upon a book Patterns for Jazz and how his daily music routine was to practice those chords (musical forms) over and over so that they would be there, ready for deployment, at the right moment, in the right riff, in the right song.
He was somehow hoping, I guess, that such a fundamentals book existed for Sentence Forms. Well, Mr. Coyle, the honor is ours to show that such a book has been written about the Forms of the English Sentence. And this is its home page.
Two Hands Approach concept manager and co-author Richard Dowling of the University of Maryland has written a comment to Mr. Coyle's article here.
A further comment deserves mention: Coyle's mental swapping and sampling of choices included what he saw as an important form, the
[although general condition] [exception to the general condition]
form. This form is in our Form 7AC (Adverbial Clause) section. There are 4 categories of Adverbial Clause Forms (Cause, Condition, Qualification/Concession, and Time). Under Qualification/Concession, we have the more frequent and casual though, the more formal although, and the more emphatic even though. Go to page 213 in the first semester book which is viewable in the second embedded scribd document above, and you will see the summary chart for that form with the 16 sub-forms. There it is – clearly organized and laid out for students to notice and to exemplify in their writing.
Although Fish, Coyle, and Hasselgård may all in their writings be more detailed, more erudite, more traditional, 7AC Qualification although, 2S Series Standard Series, 2S Series Triple Force, 5R Repetition Word we submit that our book is more practical, more quickly graspable, more readily adaptable8RN That, 2S Series Triple Force, 5R Repetition word for use in high school and freshman2S The Pair writing classes by aspiring3V Verbal Present Participle novice writers around the world.
The codes in blue are what we call the short codes and indicate the 9 various Sentence Forms used in the above closing sentence.
Making Writing Instruction a Priority in America's Middle and High Schools
Interview with Stanley Fish in which he admits
Nina Sankovitch on Stanley Fish's book
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