Introduction to Syntax
Syntax and Style-Point Penalties on Major Papers
In grading your major papers for this course, I deduct "Style Penalty Points" for errors such as subject/verb agreement, comma-splices, run-ons, fragments, etc. These will be marked by a "-1" in the margin next to the sentence that contains the error. Some students never lose any points; others have lost as many as ten points per paper. You can earn these points back by analyzing the relevant sentences (parentheses around prepositional phrases, underlining, brackets, etc.) and correcting the error. Do this, in pencil, on the paper that contains my marks. [Do not copy the sentences to other paper.] Then simply give me the paper back. If your analysis and corrections are right, you will get the points back. If they are not, after you get the paper back you are welcome to get the points back by seeing me (during office hours or by appointment) and going over the sentences, one by one. For Major Papers 1 - 4, you can earn the points back between the completion of the self-analysis assignment and the next to last week of classes. (I will not accept them during the last week or later, as I will have too many other papers to read and grade.) If you lose points on the last major paper, you can earn them back during the final exam period.
Unlike what you have probably previously done
in grammar, in these exercises you will be analyzing sentences in texts,
not just pre-selected sentences. As a result, you will find very difficult
sentences followed by relatively simple ones. DO NOT GIVE UP. Work through
each exercise, sentence by sentence, following the directions. When you
have done the best you can with a sentence, put the vertical line at the
end of it and move on to the next sentence -- it may be a lot easier.
Lessons in Syntax (doc)
Over the years, many students have looked for
additional instructional help with the syntax exercises. Because my approach
differs significantly from the traditional, going to other textbooks will
probably only confuse you. Likewise, many of the tutors in the Tutoring
Center will not be able to help you. (See the "Note to Tutors.") I have
therefore created a set of "Practice Exercises" which you can use.
The computer program CASA is available
in most of the computer labs. Log onto a computer, and in Windows, click
on the "Start" button in the lower left corner. You should see "Dr. Vavra's
programs." When your cursor is over it, you should see "CASA." Click on
it to start the program. (You will need a 3.5" FORMATTED computer disk.)
Downloading CASA to use on your own computer.
CASA requires Windows 3.1 (or 95, or 98). You
can use CASA in most of the computer labs on campus, but some students
prefer to download and install it on their own computers. You are free
to do so, but neither Ed Vavra, nor Penn College is liable for any
problems that may result from your doing so. [This is a fairly standard
When the SAVE AS box appears, choose a subdirectory to save the file.
[Before doing this, you may want to create, if you do not already have
one, a "working" subdirectory, i.e., an empty subdirectory where you can
temporarily save graphic, zipped, or other files that you are working with
during a session. I simply call mine "T" (for "Temporary").]
Don't Have an "A" Drive?
Many new computers do not have an "A" drive.
If you want to install and use CASA on such a computer, you can "remap"
another drive or subdirectory (folder) on your computer to make in an "A"
drive. There are several ways to do this.
This border is a reproduction of
The nymph Galatea
c. 1512-14, Fresco, Villa Farnesina, Rome
Mark Harden's WWW Artchive http://artchive.com/core.html