Chronicle article on sentence diagramming

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 16 02:40:06 UTC 2009

"Hypercorrect," you say? According to whose prescription?


On 5/15/09, Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU>
> Subject:      Chronicle article on sentence diagramming
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> There's a kinda interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (5/15/09)
> about a sentence diagramming class at Trinity College. The tastefully
> understated name of the class is "Constructing Thought," and it is/was
> taught by Lucy Ferriss, a novelist and literary scholar. Of course the
> diagrams in question are the traditional Reed-Kellogg type. The appeal of
> the course is attributed to the fact that it offers "finite, ordered
> solutions" and thus an alternative view on English to what some students
> have gotten from their prior education, which is some cases allowed them to
> write with "invented spelling."
> Anyway, the article describes a diagramming contest that the class held and
> the teacher is got help in judging it from the author of the textbook she
> used. So she notes," it isn't just my doing the judging." I thought this was
> a nice hypercorrect use of possessive (my) before an -ing form.
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