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Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences

by

Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Part memoir, part literary gossip, but mostly a guide to the lost art of sentence diagramming, the book, penned by copy editor Kitty Burns Florey, hilariously examines the history of grammar....The book, in other words, does everything Lynne Truss's EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES does, and then some. — Sara Nelson, editor, Publishers Weekly

Chicago Tribune Editor's Pick

Diagramming sentences may have gone the way of the slide ruler, but this charming little book makes deconstruction of language fun. In this illustrated personal history, the author, a long-time copy editor, explores the birth and death of language mapping. In this handsome book, subjects, predicates, articles, gerunds and participles dance across the page, bringing delight to those who venture into the party. — Elizabeth Taylor, literary editor, Chicago Tribune

Kitty Burns Florey seems to write from a great wellspring of inner calm that derives from a gleeful appreciation of life's smallest details.-Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Once wildly popular and used by grammar teachers across America, sentence diagramming is now a lost art to most people. But from the moment she encountered it in the sixth-grade classroom of Sister Bernadette, Kitty Burns Florey was fascinated by the bizarre method of mapping the words in a sentence.

Now a novelist and veteran copyeditor, Florey studies the practice in a charming and funny look back at its odd history, its elegant method, and its rich, ongoing possibilities. From a discussion of its birth at the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, to a consideration of how it works, to a revealing look at some of literature's most famoussentences in diagram, it is a charming and often inspiring tale.

Along the way, Florey explores the importance of good grammar and answers language lovers' most pressing questions: Was Mark Twain or James Fenimore Cooper a better grammarian? Can knowing how to diagram a sentence make your life better? And what's Gertrude Stein got to do with any of it?

Synopsis:

A SLATE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

 

A PEOPLE PICK FOR WORD LOVERS

 

“This gem from copyeditor Florey is a bracing ode to grammar.”—People

 

In its heyday, sentence diagramming was wildly popular in grammar schools across the country. Kitty Burns Florey learned the method in sixth grade from Sister Bernadette: "It was a bit like art, a bit like mathematics. It was a picture of language. I was hooked.”

Now, in Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog, an offbeat history that any language lover will adore, Florey explores the sentence-diagramming phenomenon and what diagrams of famous writers' sentences reveal about them.

Along the way, she offers up her own commonsense approach to learning and using good grammar. And she answers some of literature's most pressing questions: Was Mark Twain or James Fenimore Cooper a better grammarian? Can knowing how to diagram a sentence make your life better? And what's Gertrude Stein got to do with any of it?

 

“A pleasantly discursive and affectionate tribute to an antiquated art.”—The Wall Street Journal

 

“You don't have to be over age 50 or a Catholic school graduate to enjoy Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog . . . Florey's keen memories of being schooled in this art and her humorous affection for it are contagious . . . Try it, youll like it."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

"Florey writes with verve about the nuns who taught her to render the English language as a mess of slanted lines, explains how diagrams work, and traces the bizarre history of the men who invented this odd pedagogical tool . . . Its a great read."--Slate

 

KITTY BURNS FLOREY, a veteran copyeditor, is the author of nine novels and many short stories and essays. A longtime Brooklyn resident, she now divides her time between central Connecticut and upstate New York with her husband, Ron Savage.

Synopsis:

In its heyday, sentence diagramming was wildly popular in grammar schools across the country. Kitty Burns Florey learned the method in sixth grade from Sister Bernadette: "It was a bit like art, a bit like mathematics. It was a picture of language. I was hooked." Now, in this offbeat history, Florey explores the sentence-diagramming phenomenon, including its humble roots at the Brooklyn Polytechnic, its "balloon diagram" predecessor, and what diagrams of famous writers sentences reveal about them. Along the way Florey offers up her own commonsense approach to learning and using good grammar. Charming, fun, and instructive, Sister Bernadettes Barking Dog will be treasured by all kinds of readers, from grumpy grammarians and crossword-puzzle aficionados to students of literature and lovers of language.

About the Author

KITTY BURNS FLOREY, a veteran copyeditor, is the author of nine novels and many short stories and essays. A longtime Brooklyn resident, she now divides her time between central Connecticut and upstate New York with her husband, Ron Savage.

Table of Contents

Contents
 
1              ENTER THE DOG

 

17            TIMES CHANGE

 

35            GENERAL RULES

 

61            POETRY & GRAMMAR

 

103          YOUSE AINT GOT NO CLASS

 

125          DIAGRAMMING REDUX

 

147          Afterword

 

151          acknowledgments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780156034432
Author:
Florey, Kitty Burns
Publisher:
Harvest Books
Subject:
Grammar
Subject:
Linguistics
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Grammar & Punctuation
Subject:
English language -- Sentences.
Subject:
English language -- Grammar.
Subject:
Reference-Grammar and Style
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20071131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
8.5 x 7.13 in 0.61 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Reference » Featured Titles
Reference » Grammar and Style
Reference » Grammar and Usage

Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156034432 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A SLATE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

 

A PEOPLE PICK FOR WORD LOVERS

 

“This gem from copyeditor Florey is a bracing ode to grammar.”—People

 

In its heyday, sentence diagramming was wildly popular in grammar schools across the country. Kitty Burns Florey learned the method in sixth grade from Sister Bernadette: "It was a bit like art, a bit like mathematics. It was a picture of language. I was hooked.”

Now, in Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog, an offbeat history that any language lover will adore, Florey explores the sentence-diagramming phenomenon and what diagrams of famous writers' sentences reveal about them.

Along the way, she offers up her own commonsense approach to learning and using good grammar. And she answers some of literature's most pressing questions: Was Mark Twain or James Fenimore Cooper a better grammarian? Can knowing how to diagram a sentence make your life better? And what's Gertrude Stein got to do with any of it?

 

“A pleasantly discursive and affectionate tribute to an antiquated art.”—The Wall Street Journal

 

“You don't have to be over age 50 or a Catholic school graduate to enjoy Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog . . . Florey's keen memories of being schooled in this art and her humorous affection for it are contagious . . . Try it, youll like it."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

"Florey writes with verve about the nuns who taught her to render the English language as a mess of slanted lines, explains how diagrams work, and traces the bizarre history of the men who invented this odd pedagogical tool . . . Its a great read."--Slate

 

KITTY BURNS FLOREY, a veteran copyeditor, is the author of nine novels and many short stories and essays. A longtime Brooklyn resident, she now divides her time between central Connecticut and upstate New York with her husband, Ron Savage.

"Synopsis" by ,
In its heyday, sentence diagramming was wildly popular in grammar schools across the country. Kitty Burns Florey learned the method in sixth grade from Sister Bernadette: "It was a bit like art, a bit like mathematics. It was a picture of language. I was hooked." Now, in this offbeat history, Florey explores the sentence-diagramming phenomenon, including its humble roots at the Brooklyn Polytechnic, its "balloon diagram" predecessor, and what diagrams of famous writers sentences reveal about them. Along the way Florey offers up her own commonsense approach to learning and using good grammar. Charming, fun, and instructive, Sister Bernadettes Barking Dog will be treasured by all kinds of readers, from grumpy grammarians and crossword-puzzle aficionados to students of literature and lovers of language.
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