The Sentence: A Love Affair

Friday, February 28th, from 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

Gertrude Stein said, "I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences." This tool has fallen out of favor in most English classrooms, but as writers we have much to learn about writing clear, correct sentences; taking a close look at their structure is a first step towards doing so. Plus, as writers in Stein's time knew well, diagramming sentences is a really cool trick and fun parlor game. In this class we'll look closely at effective sentences and how to write them. We will begin by learning from the greats, piecing apart beautiful (and terrible) sentences from books, magazines, and newspapers, in order to understand why they are (or aren't) working. Then we'll turn review the basic grammatical parts of a sentence and learn how to diagram. We will discuss subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and ending with complex compound sentences, "verbals," noun clauses, and appositives. The class will involve writing and workshopping, and will end with the class diagramming one of Proust's famously labyrinthine sentences together.

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"Excellent introduction to sentence diagramming. Practical application of the principles was particularly helpful, via group revision of a sentence."

"Very good explanations of grammatical concepts, with good illustrative hand outs, followed by examples, and in-class practice. Very good instructor. Enjoyed it very much."

"Beth had great energy; very good handouts, met the class where we were, provided structure and flexibility; gave us the full six hours and then some (we had a short lunch), and the other participants were interesting, engaged and varied."


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Beth Schwartzapfel
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Previous Students Say

  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Lots of Practical Tips"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


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