The English Sentence

To the Teacher

  Best results will be obtained from the use of this book if the pupil is started at the beginning and taken straight through the work as it is planned. The studies are so arranged that the pupil can take successfully the second step because he has taken the first, the third step because he has taken the first two - and so on to the end. A clear understanding of the structure of the sentence is not likely to be acquired by any hop-skip method.

  A casual observation of the book may lead one to think that there are not enough sentences for drill; but a careful study of the cumulative review, which is deliberately built into each sentence list, will show that there is abundant material for thorough drill if the instructions preceding each list are observed. The too-common practice of studying a list of sentences for the nouns only, another for the adjectives only and another for the adverbs only, etc., etc., is a waste of time and space.

  The teacher will find that the cumulative review provides not only abundant drill but a definite check at any time upon what the pupil has retained from his previous study. For example, a study of the twenty-five sentences of the direct object complement will, in addition to acquainting the pupil with this new construction, review and check him upon the simple predicate, the simple subject, the complete predicate, the complete subject, the adjective, the adverb, the verb, the possessive case of the noun, and the common and the proper noun. It is urgent that the cumulative review be scrupulously kept up, even though it means continuous repetition - a teaching device which the teacher must respect rather than fear.

  Since the complement is one of the four major elements in the construction of the sentence (the others are the simple predicate, the simple subject and the modifier) it is given somewhat pronounced emphasis. You will note that the direct object, the predicate noun and pronoun, the predicate adjective and the objective complement (sometimes called predicate objective) are all presented as complements; for each in its individual way complements the verb of incomplete predication. These constructions are understood much better when they are taught, not as totally different constructions, but as types of constructions which serve a common, major purpose.
 - Benjamin Null


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