I was “Napping With  the Stars“ the other night, about half asleep, when my reverie was interrupted by the arrival of my younger grandson.

“Hi-Pops! What’s shakin’?” His usual formal greeting, another example of the sagging of our culture.

After a brief exchange of greetings, he got to the point of his visit.

He went on, “Pops, let me lay one on you.”

Replying in the vernacular of the times, I answered, “Lay it on me, man!”

“Pops, is there much money to be made in diagramming sentences?”

Taken aback, I asked for a repeat, but the question was the same.

“What in the world brought that up?” ask I.

He went on to explain, there must be good money in such an activity, as they have spent a whole week, in class, on the subject. In his mind, anything taking that much time from other things, must have something important to offer later in life. I thought that to be a reasonable assumption.

Thinking back, I seem to remember those boring classes, where we would be given a sentence, asked to take each word, hang it on a stick tree, and make something out of it, although I never knew exactly what. I recall thinking at the time, “Good Lord, what madness is THIS!”

I don’t remember much about those classes, except nouns represent people, places. and things. Verbs are action thingy-dos, adjectives have another function, along with predicates, the purpose of which escapes me for the moment. I do seem to recall something about despondent verbs, what ever their purpose, and a point was always being made about not dangling your participles. I have never understood just what a participle was, but what ever it is, I know that is never, ever, supposed to dangle!

I can imagine a person, working as rewrite editor for a newspaper, in an office, way off in the corner, huddled under a desk lamp, spending his work days, diagramming sentences and undangling participles. He is the kind of guy, that when some one says good day to him, replies “Ssstuffit!”

Yes, there is no money to be made diagramming sentences, as such,

however, anyone with the knowledge, and know-how, in the construction of sentences, paragraphs, etc, can make a reasonable living as a result of surviving that extremely boring classroom experience.

I wish I had that ability, -my lack of which is quite plain to any reader.

I just try to tell it, your choice, like I see it, as I see it, or how,I see it.





WORD TREES — 1 Comment

  1. Nary a dangling participle did I find in your writing Ray. You must have been paying attention to the teacher that day 🙂 This post brings back to me also the memories of sentence structuring and word breakdown that our English teacher Mrs Armstrong tried so hard to teach us, God rest her soul She tried so hard to make us all literate.

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