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Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentencesby Kitty Burns Florey
Synopses & Reviews
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 famous sentences 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?
"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
"A wistful, charming and funny ode to a nearly lost art. Those who remember will cheer. Those who don't will wonder what fun they missed and whether it will be preserved for future generations. All will agree Florey's passion is infectious and entertaining." June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies
"This book is not a primer; it's a prize." Robert Hartwell Fiske, author of The Dictionary of Disagreeable English
A veteran copyeditor studies the practice of diagraming sentences in a charming and funny look back at its odd history, its elegant method, and its rich, ongoing possibilities.
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.
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