Though it might seem mysterious why some kinds of writing are more effective than others, there is a technique for investigating how writing works at the level of the sentence. The Reed-Kellogg system of diagramming is a method of learning grammar and syntax by creating "pictures" of individual sentences. These diagrams show the logical relations between words, phrases, and clauses, and they illustrate the choices writers are making as they craft individual sentences. Using a recent book that extends and enlarges upon the Reed-Kellogg system, we will diagram sentences both famous and ordinary, both contemporary and of historical interest. Our aims will be (1) to learn the principles of the Reed-Kellogg system such that we are able to diagram any written or spoken "sentence" in English; (2) to use this knowledge to analyze how writers shape arguments at the sentence level, and how they achieve particular styles; and (3) to practice crafting and revising our own prose. Diagramming will help students understand how they can make their own writing more powerful, effective, and clear. Though this class does not fulfill any requirement in the creative writing concentration, creative writers are welcome. This course does not count toward the Creative Writing Concentration.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; BU Hum