Articles from Ed Vavra at KISS Grammar
Help Spread the Word!

     The way in which grammar is taught in our schools is illiterate. Imagine students studying baking. They are taught to identify all the different types of flour, sugar, spices, etc. But they are never even shown how these ingredients work together to make a pie, cake, or anything else. That is the way that grammar is taught in our schools. Students learn definitions of noun, verb, clause, etc., but they are never taught how to identify these things in real sentences!
     KISS Grammar takes an entirely different approach. First, students are taught how to identify the basic parts of a sentence--subjects and verbs. Once they can do this, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc. are added to their ability to understand how sentences in real texts work. The KISS site includes instructional materials, and thousands of exercises, each of which has an "Analysis Key" for teachers. And everything on the site is free. Check it out at

     This section of the site includes articles and other material that you are encouraged to send to newspapers, your local school administrators, state Departments of Education, your local state and federal legislators, and to anyone else who can help solve the problem. In other words, you can publish anything from this page in any publication, for free.

"Mr. 'But'-Head (Grammarian?) Needs Your Help!"

     Do you remember being taught not to begin a sentence with "But"? More than 80% of my college students did. Well, Mr. But-Head needs help to validate his rule. This 844-word article explains a research project that attempted to find a major writer who obeys this rule. It includes the 33 major writers in Modern Essays, Selected by Christopher Morley, The Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution, and eight different translations of the Bible. Three of the major writers did not use "but" to begin a sentence in their essays in the anthology, but they did in other works. If they all break the "rule," why can't everyone else? Help get the word out--share this article!
Explanations of and Data for “Mr. ‘But’-Head (Grammarian?) Needs Your Help!”
      Statistical studies are often deceiving. This document assumes that you have read “Mr. ‘But’-Head (Grammarian?) Needs Your Help!” For those who are interested, it contains explanations, complications, and links to supporting spreadsheets that have the sentences that were counted.
"What KISS Can Teach You That Other Grammars Don’t"
     This is an 82-page document that explains what its title suggests. To my knowledge, KISS is the only grammar that starts with subjects and verbs and then adds constructions until students can explain (and thus understand) how every other word in a sentence connects to a basic subject/verb pattern to make meaning. The "Table of Contents" enables you to choose what you want to look at.