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Question for participants

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Question for participants

Postby glorybee » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:39 am

Next week's lesson will cover the need to write with a variety of sentence structures. I have two versions; one version uses a fair number of grammatical terms and the other avoids grammatical terms almost entirely.

Which one would you prefer?

I'd love responses from many of you, even if you've just been a 'lurker' in this forum. Thanks!
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Re: Question for participants

Postby lish1936 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:04 pm

Jan, I prefer the use of grammatical terms along with the lesson. For me, it would enhance the learning experience. If I'm stumped, I can always holler for help. :-)

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Re: Question for participants

Postby Mike Newman » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:39 pm

I second Lilian's response. I would rather be forced to do a little learning to discover what something means than have it omitted.

Thanks Jan.


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Re: Question for participants

Postby Shann » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:46 pm

I like the idea of the terms too. It helps cement it in my head when I think of things like squinting modifiers. It helps me remember them better.
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Re: Question for participants

Postby glorybee » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:58 pm

What's a squinting modifier?
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Re: Question for participants

Postby Come forth » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:25 pm

I also vote for the terms to be included.

A squinting modifier is a photo of me trying to place a ; :lol:

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Re: Question for participants

Postby Shann » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:13 am

A squinting modifier is a phrase where It's unclear which part of the sentence it is modifying. Examples: What you hear often you believe. I told Piper when the game was over Grandma would hug her.

It's called a squinting modifier because it appears to be looking at two places at once. :roll: (I'M too tired to look up a squinting Smiley, but I bet there is one. )
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Re: Question for participants

Postby glorybee » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:27 am

Shann wrote:A squinting modifier is a phrase where It's unclear which part of the sentence it is modifying. Examples: What you hear often you believe. I told Piper when the game was over Grandma would hug her.

It's called a squinting modifier because it appears to be looking at two places at once. :roll: (I'M too tired to look up a squinting Smiley, but I bet there is one. )


Hmmm. Maybe it's the late hour, but I'm totally not getting it. What phrase is the squinting modifier in your example? What part(s) of the sentence is it modifying?

A few weeks ago, Steve used the phrase 'expletive constructions,' and now I've been introduced to 'squinting modifiers.' The more I learn, the less I know, it seems. (But I'm still not getting this one).

Maybe you could give me another example?
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Re: Question for participants

Postby Shann » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:37 am

Shann wrote:A squinting modifier is a phrase where It's unclear which part of the sentence it is modifying. Examples: What you hear often you believe. I told Piper when the game was over Grandma would hug her.

It's called a squinting modifier because it appears to be looking at two places at once. :roll: (I'M too tired to look up a squinting Smiley, but I bet there is one. )

I put the squinters in italics. Often could modify what you hear or what you believe.
In the next did I tell Piper after the game or were you going to hug her after the game? Does that make sense? I should be sleeping, but headache is keeping me awake, so I'm not sure if I'm making sense.

I think there is another term for it, but that one sticks with me.
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Re: Question for participants

Postby Come forth » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:11 am

The other term is 'misplaced modifier'. The one I know of anyway.

It's where a word could refer to what comes before it or what comes after it. "John said later he would go to the shop." Later being the misplaced modifier. Did John say it later or did he mean that, later he would go to the shop. The word 'later' squints in that it could be seen to be looking both ways.

Probably a poor example because most of us wouldn't write a sentence like this; but it shows the point.

Hope this helps. Graham.
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Re: Question for participants

Postby swfdoc1 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:42 am

At least in the States, misplaced modifiers and squinting modifiers are slightly different. Squinting modifiers are as Shann explained—they could modify one of two things that they are placed between. Misplaced modifiers only modify one thing, but it is the wrong thing. Probably the most famous American example is “Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.” Finally there are dangling modifiers, which (most frequently) modify words that aren’t even in the sentence. For example: “Vacuuming the living room, Jan’s cats ran out of the room.”
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Re: Question for participants

Postby glorybee » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:38 pm

Got it. I'm very aware of misplaced and dangling modifiers; squinting ones are new to me.

If I had the time and the money, I'd go back and get a degree in English. I love this stuff. I'd really like to learn how to diagram a sentence--they never taught that in my high school. I suppose I could teach myself, but I don't trust myself to get it right.
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Re: Question for participants

Postby Shann » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:05 pm

Oh, I remember diagramming a sentence! We did it in 7th grade English. At the time, I enjoyed it and did quite well, but my friends grumbled that it was stupid and hard and we would never use it. I remember going along with the crowd because I didn't want to feel left out. The teacher used to use my homework as examples, and I was quickly dubbed teacher's pet.

I wanted to fit in because back then 7th grade was junior high and it was essential to be cool. My sister told Mom I had to wear Levi jeans and part my hair in the middle to avoid being an outcast. I'd never cared about clothes and would have preferred to browse a bookstore rather than a clothes store. I succumbed not just to peer pressure but to sibling pressure too. (I think she didn't want me to hurt her reputation in my no name pants)

My English grade dropped about 20 points in one semester. I remember the teacher talking to me about not following the crowd. As an adult, I've joked that when I grow up I want to be a librarian. I've also muttered about why no one ever suggested that option to me when I was in school searching for the right major that fit me. I think I know why now, though--because I succumbed to the crowd and pretended that English stuff was stupid.

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but really wanted to share this because, Jan, not only are you helping with writing skills for many people. You really helped me reconcile a bit with my past. I have tears in my eyes and finally am letting go of some bitterness that I wasn't even fully aware of until just now.

It's also a cool example of how God can and does use us to help others in ways that we might not have intended, but are just as important, maybe more than the goals we set for ourselves. I also joke that I'm a bit hard-headed and while God may need to nudge others to obey him, he throws bricks at me until I give in and agree to do what he is asking me.

Also I never really understood what dangling modifiers where, I thought it was when the preposition like of or for was at the end of a sentence. Wow, I've learned a lot in the past five minutes or so. I wish you could see my face and feel the lightness of my heart right now. You gave me a beautiful gift by being obedient to God and pouring tons of work into a lesson. It may not have been the outcome you planned, but I have no doubt that God's fingerprints are all over this.

I think with some review, I might be able to help you with the sentence diagraming if you really want to tackle it. My kids never learned it. They barely touched on nouns and verbs. They may have done a bit of subject and predicates, but not a lot.

Also, even though you are busy and finances tight, I think you should take that English class. It's important to do something for you because then you will have the energy to do more for God and others. Have you ever looked into auditing an English class at a nearby college? I wanted to do that, but they only offer it for free for "senior citizens" at my local college. I did suggest it to my father-in-law though, and he took two writing classes for free and loved them. The rules are different for each school, but it might be worth looking into...

Again thank you. You really made a difference. It may not seem like much, but just a tiny seed of bitterness can grow into a weed that strangles the heart. I'm able to let go of it now. Who knows without that weed maybe my health will improve enough and I could go back and get my degree in Library Science! :coolsign
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Re: Question for participants

Postby lish1936 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:24 pm

Warning: I was never good at jokes. :sofa

Shann wrote:A squinting modifier is a phrase where It's unclear which part of the sentence it is modifying. .

It's called a squinting modifier because it appears to be looking at two places at once. :roll:


From one nurse to the other, Shann, and in keeping with the ophthalmological definition, I think the squinting modifier is best described as being cross-eyed.

Lillian :love2
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: Question for participants

Postby judi » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:08 pm

:superhappy [ Having graduated from High school in 1961 on my eighteenth birthday - I need all the help you can give. I dangle participles and split infinitives!
Last edited by judi on Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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