Last Updated: 6/18/00
Way too much time, fuss, and energy are
devoted to the definitions of grammatical terms, but this problem with
definitions is also the cause of much, if not most, of both the poor teaching
of grammar and our inability to improve that teaching. Numerous, often
conflicting attempts have been made to define grammatical terms, but I
have yet to see a discussion of the problem that begins with the basic
question, "What is a definition?" The first subsection of this essay therefore
attempts to address this question:
and Hassan in a Ravine
||# 9 Definitions
of Grammatical Terms
What Is a Definition?
Although the preceding section is more about philosophy and psychology
than about grammar, I urge anyone interested in the problem to read it
before reading anything else in these essays. The basic definitions for
the KISS Approach can be found in "How
to Use KISS Grammar." The essays in this section are more about the
pedagogical problems in the ways that other people define grammatical terms
and about the pedagogical assumptions that underlie the KISS definitions.
Defining and/or Recognizing Nouns and
Definitions of "Clause"
Definitions of the "T-unit"
As time allows, I will return to these essays
to discuss both definitions of specific grammatical terms and ways in which
students can be taught to recognize the concepts which those definitions
attempt to identify.