What is Grammar?
Traditional Grammar = 1st subject in the 7 Liberal Arts
          Grammar: Logic, Rhetoric
          Mathematics: Geometry, Music, Astronomy

Grammar = Rules for how words should be combined and formed in sentences
          A description of the system for forming sentences and words in a language
          which can be used to prescribe and explain grammatical rules

Prescriptive vs. Descriptive Grammar

Linguistics = The science of language, including phonetics, phonology,
          morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics

          Structural Grammar vs. Generative Grammar vs. Functional Grammar

Grammar Skills
Grammatical Proficiency = The ability to combine and form words "correctly" &
          The ability to understand word combinations

          Oral Skills: Reflect the grammar of first language input
          Written Skills: Reflect individual reading and writing experiences

Grammatical Literacy = Understanding the system and structure of a language
          The ability to classify words and explain how they are combined

Multiple Meanings of Words
Color Coded Grammar = Information about the Meanings of Words & Sentences

a kind person / a kind of fruit

I like sports / He looks like you

fell off the table / call off the game

dig a well / plays well / well, maybe they left

I want that phone / it's not that expensive

The phone that rang was hers. / She was lucky that you were there.

kind / like / off / well / that

  Limitations of Grammatical Literacy
Grammatical Literacy ≠ Proficiency.

Grammatical Literacy is similar to Musical Literacy.

Elements of Style

William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

 Controversial Grammatical Classifications
Classification Disagreements in the Parsing of Sentences

The platypus has webbed feet, lays eggs
and produces milk.
Is it a Bird or Mammal?

 A Grammar-Based Approach to Language Learning

"One possible reason why grammar-based language learning and teaching fails is that no reliable model of grammar is available. ... We need a better description of grammar."
- Hu Zhuang Lin

 Grammar Teaching Strategies
"Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand."
- Confucius

Learning through Examples & Exercises
    Azar Grammar: Teachers helping teachers
    Grammar Charts, Interactive PowerPoints, Workbooks,

Learning through Corrections of Compositions
    Harbrace Handbook of English by John Hodges (+300 Professors)
    America's Best-Selling Textbook

Learning through Visualization Systems:
    Sentence Diagrams
        Developed in 1870s for English students
    Syntax Trees
        Developed for Linguists
    Color Coded Grammar
        Developed for English students
        Can be used with any HTML document &

Seeing How Words Combine

Syntax Trees
Grammar is the study of the structure of language.

Grammar is the study (of the structure (of language)).

Sentence Diagrams
What will we eat today?
We will eat pizza today.
Who will eat pizza today?
Will we eat pizza today?
When will we eat pizza?
Who] do you suppose [made the pizza (that we ate)?

The Color Code's Components
The 18 Color-Styles
 Solid Dotted Dashed 
AquaDeterminer / (Adjective) {Adjective} [Adverb]
Blue(Noun ) / Pronoun {Noun} Pron. [Noun] Pron.
PurpleVerbal Verbal [Adverb]
OrangeModal Verb Auxiliary VerbAux. V. / Adverb
BlackPreposition S. Conj.Conjunction[Adverb / Interjection ]
 (Parentheses) {Braces} [Brackets]

Visual System

1. Color
adjective noun
verb adjective
2. Line Styles
noun (adjective)
verb {adjective}
3. Marker Pairs
Word + Word
Adverb Adjective    /    Adverb Adjective

Word + Phrase    /    Word + Clause
Adjective [Preposition Phrase]
Adjective [Verbal Phrase]
Adjective [Conjunction Clause]

Seeing Grammatical Structures
ice cream
quite well
make up
ought to
very fast
to drive very fast
seems to understand  
should have been
Your friend / fast cars
should buy
have eaten
are sleeping
1. Same Color w/  
Same Line Style  
2. Same Color w/
Different Line Styles
3. & 4. Same Color Temperature w/
Same or Different Line Styles
like sports
to become a doctor
getting angry
known to lie
A friend (of mine) is {from France}.
happy [for you]
to be {who you are} / like [to drive fast]
to talk [about sports]
sit alone [in the car]
5. Red & Purple Heads
Solid or Dotted Red
or Solid or Dotted
+ Dashed Blue
+ Dotted Blue
+ Dotted Aqua
+ Dotted Prpl.
        6. Marker Pairs
           ( ) = solid    { } = dotted    [ ] = dashed
            ( ) = solid    { } = dotted   [ ] = dashed
;                                                   [ ] = dashed
                                                    [ ] = dashed
                                                    [ ] = dashed

Color-Coded Games
change your mind
the weather changes
change (of address)

Phrase Master: The Color Coded Phrase Game

You must be the change (you wish [to see [in the world]]).

[If you don't take change [by the hand]], it will take you [by the throat].

[just when I think [I have learned the way to live]], life changes.

Say Blank: The Color Coded Sentence Game


Color-Coded Karaoke
The Sound of Silence
Composer: Paul Simon
Hello darkness, [my old friend],
I've come [to talk [with you] again],
[Because a vision (softly creeping),
Left its seeds [while I was sleeping]],
And the vision (that was planted [in my brain])
Still remains [Within the sound (of silence)]

Color-Coded Grammar
English Training Wheels
Increase Vocabulary
Improve Comprehension of Complex Sentences

Copyright © 2017 Ted O'Brien

Grammatical Classifications