Grammar is the language we use to talk about language. It’s a tool for describing how written sentences work and figuring out and explaining why they don’t work. In this course you’ll learn the language of grammar: the technical terms and the conceptual principles needed to describe the grammatical structure of sentences. You’ll learn sentence diagramming in order to help see the patterns behind grammatical concepts. We will pay careful attention not only to the rules of grammar but also to the logic behind those rules. Furthermore, you will learn about the historical development of some of those rules–why, for instance, English sentences are punctuated the way they are, why the passive voice should be avoided, and whether it is acceptable to ever split an infinitive. Along the way, we’ll consider further questions about the nature of spoken vs. written language, dialects, and standardized language. As we will see, knowledge of grammatical concepts can help writers think through and revise their own written ideas more effectively.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
Writing Requirement courses focus on the technical terms and conceptual principles needed to write clear, grammatical prose aimed at communicating with force and logic. Upper-division courses focus on professional writing and the creation of individual styles.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.