Our Mother Tongue: Guide to English Grammar

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Not too long ago my husband started commenting that I often use pronouns that have indistinct antecedents (i.e. "Put that away!") I was somewhat defensive about this until I realized that he (and many others) commit the same grammatical faux pas and most of us would benefit from increasing our command of English. Studying our language enables us to choose our words wisely, enjoy and appreciate great literature, understand the thoughts of others, give clear and correct expression to our own thoughts, and train our minds to think in an orderly fashion.

Designed to give a comprehensive overview of all aspects of our language, I can imagine Our Mother Tongue used to brush up on grammar as you teach your children or for introducing an older student (perhaps a recent escapee from the government schools where English is seldom taught) to the delights of a systematic examination of our language.

Starting with the basic facts of grammar - the eight classes of words and the parts and types of sentences, author Nancy Wilson continues her thorough examination of all the major concepts in English grammar by looking at the special properties of nouns, pronouns, verbs, and modifiers. She also spends some time on the "friendliest" of English grammatical constructs - verbals. And if you can't quite remember what a verbal is, well . . . . . The various sections of the book follow an identifiable pattern. There are examples, explanations and definitions followed by exercises. Many of the examples and exercise sentences are taken from Scripture and from great English writers. Adding spice to this examination are periodic sidebars detailing the development of the English language. Did you know that many of our grammar rules came into being in the eighteenth century when the Enlightenment inspired man to reduce everything to neat, tidy, governable systems?

In case you're wondering, the "D" word - diagramming - is definitely a part of this overview. Actually, in a day and age when graphic organizers are the educational "rage," it's surprising that people are so determined to overlook the advantages of diagramming. Like all graphic organizers, the use of diagramming trains the student to quickly analyze the subject matter - in this case, sentence structure.

Comprehensive in scope, well-organized, and (dare I say it?) enjoyable, this book could be a helpful tool as you strive to teach your children to love our mother tongue and how it works. ~ Janice

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Our Mother Tongue: Guide to English Grammar Item #: 006108
Grades: 4-Adult
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Our Mother Tongue Answer Key Item #: 006106
Grades: 4-Adult
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