July 7, 2013
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KISS Level 2.2.3 - Embedded Prepositional Phrases

Notes for Teachers
Exercises in KISS Level 2.2.3
Exercises 1 (a - c) - Identification
Exercise 2 (a & b) - Passages for Analysis
Exercise 3 - Treasure Hunt
Old Exercises
Some Background Information
Notes for Teachers

      "Embedding" is a concept, not a construction, but it is an extremely important concept. It simply means that a grammatical construction has been put into the "bed" of another S/V/C pattern. Any modifier can be viewed as embedded. Consider the sentences

They live in a big house. It is brown.
They live in a big brown house.
In the second version, "brown" has been taken from its separate pattern, the "It is" has been deleted, and "brown" has been embedded in the first sentence. Similarly, a subordinate clause that functions as the direct object in another clause is embedded in that clause. We do not usually talk about embedding in these simple sentences, but English sentence structure is actually based on a very limited number of constructions. The complexity of our sentences results from the embedding of one construction within another. Although it is not essential to teach the concept of embedding at this level, it will help students understand how all the words in a "sentence" chunk to the main S/V/C pattern. For example, in the sentence
MR. JEREMY bounced up {to the surface} {of the water},
{like a cork and the bubbles} {out of a soda water bottle}.

the concept of embedding lets students see that "out of a soda water bottle" modifies "cork" and "bubbles" and is thus embedded in the "like" phrase. The "like" phrase then connects to "bounced" as an adverb. Similarly, "of the water" modifies "surface," so it is embedded in the "to the surface" phrase which modifies "bounced." 

     In the analysis keys, embedded phrases, and the phrases they are embedded in, are denoted by underlining. The grade-level books each contain six exercises, in part because this is the last main sub-level in Level 2.2. (KISS Level 2.2.4 includes advanced questions that teachers may or may not want to have their students look at in this point in their work.) Because they can be used as a general review, there are three sentence-based exercises (# 1, a, b, & c) in each grade-level book. The next two exercises (#2, a & b) are passages for analysis; the last exercise is a Treasure Hunt.
Suggested Directions for Analytical Exercises:
1. Underline subjects once, finite verbs twice, and label complements (PA, PN, IO, DO). 
2. Place parentheses around each prepositional phrase. Draw an arrow from the beginning of each phrase to the word it modifies. Underline any embedded phrases and the phrases they are embedded in.
Probable Time Required:
     Although it will help students later understand the embedding of clauses, it is not required at this KISS level. In a single-year framework, I'd skip embedded phrases. In a longer curriculum design, these exercises can also be used for review.
Exercises in KISS Level 2.2.3
Instructional Material

Exercises 1 (a - c) - Identification
Ex # 2 from Potter's The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck Text AK ToC G3
Ex # 6 from Potter's The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher Text AK ToC G3; IB2
Ex # 3 from Potter's The Tale of Johnny Town Mouse Text AK ToC G3
Ex # 12 from Potter's The Tale of Samuel Whiskers Text AK ToC -
Ex # 5 from Potter's  The Tale of Benjamin Bunny Text AK ToC IB2
From Vredenburg's My Favorite Fairy Tales AK ToC G4; IG4
From Robin Hood by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall AK ToC  G5
Embedded Preposiitonal Phrases (Maxwell 2 5) AK ToC G6
From Lassie, Come Home, by Eric Knight AK ToC G6
From Heidi, by Johanna Spyri AK ToC G6
From Sherwood Anderson's "The Egg" Text AK ToC G8
From Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle AK ToC G9; 1YM
From Stephen Crane's "The Blue Hotel" AK ToC G9
From The Call of the Wild, by Jack London AK ToC G9
Ex. 2 (a & b) - Passages for Analysis
* "The Pledge of Allegiance" AK ToC G3-11
From "How Reddy Fox Was Surprised," by Thornton W. Burgess AK ToC G3
From "The Wilful Little Breeze," by Thornton W. Burgess AK ToC G4
Ex # 5 from "The Little Match Girl," by H. C. Andersen  AK Text ToC  G5
From Lang's "Toads and Diamonds" Text AK ToC G6
From Lang's  "The Yellow Dwarf"  Text AK ToC G7
Carl Sandburg's "Who Am I?" AK ToC G8
From Mark Twain's "Corn-Pone Opinions" (Ex # 2) Text AK ToC G9
Exercise 3 - Treasure Hunt and/or Recipe Roster
     Find and bring to class (or write) a sentence that has an embedded prepositional phrase in it. Underline the embedded phrase and the phrase that it is embedded in.
Old Exercises
These are old exercises that do not fit the new format of the books.
Treasure Hunt: For Embedded Phrases in James Baldwin's "Cornelia's Jewels" AK -
Some Background Information

     Embedding is the major force behind the power and complexity of sentence structure. Not only are phrases embedded in phrases, but subordinate clauses are embedded in main clauses and into other subordinate clauses. Verbals are embedded in clauses, and, as noted earlier in this book some linguists see the child's "The red flower is pretty." as an embedding of "red" from "The flower is red." into the sentence "The flower is pretty." Ultimately, it is its focus on embedding that distinguishes KISS from most approaches to grammar. But at KISS Level Two, our primary focus still needs to be on enabling students to identify constructions. Introducing students at this level to the concept of embedding may, in effect, clarify some questions that they have and also prepare them for their later work with clauses, but I would not overemphasize it.
     The idea of teaching embedded prepositional phrases was suggested by Robert Einarsson in his "Embedded and Aligned Phrase Structures," (Syntax in the Schools, Vol. 11, No.2 (Nov. 94) 10-11.) Einarsson used brackets to identify some phrases. That will not work within KISS because brackets are used to identify clauses. He also embeds the analytical brackets within brackets, as in 
The eyes [of the character [on the billboard [in the Valley [of Ashes]]]] are a symbol [of Gatsby's desire [for public display]].
This is precisely the way KISS uses brackets to denote the beginnings and endings of clauses, but in working with randomly selected sentences, the embedding of parentheses, which KISS has students use to denote prepositional phrases can cause confusion when the objects of repositions are themselves modified by other constructions. Consider, for example,

embedding the parentheses:

They went {to the Athens {in Pennsylvania} and the Athens {in Greece}}.
compared to underlining embedded phrases and their hosts:
They went {to the Athens} {in Pennsylvania} and {*to* the Athens} {in Greece}.
Embedding of the parentheses can result in the closing parenthesis for the first phrase to be so far away from the opening one that their connection is lost.