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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 26

Analysis of Sentences

Analysis of Sentences.

The analysis of sentences should be taught with the same practical aim, of not only seeing that the child understands the subject, but of giving him the power of putting it into practice, in sentences made by himself. Every new name, every new sentence or clause, should not only be taught and known, but should be exemplified by sentences drawn from the pupil; so that he not only knows a compound or complex sentence, but can make it—not only can point a clause of concession or reason or degree, but can construct one, a noun, adjective, infinitive, or participial phrase, but there it is from himself at command.

Thus we combine with Analysis of sentences, which is only one half of a subject, its converse and complement, Synthesis of sentences, with which it should always be accompanied. We should not only be able to take to pieces and parcel out sentences made by others, but should have a facility in constructing, from materials given, sentences of like structure. Attention has been too exclusively given to the analysis of sentences, and too little to its more important correlative, the synthesis; but our later books on composition give exercises on the latter, though not so fully as they should. Every lesson in analysis should therefore be accompanied by the synthesis of similar sentences. This synthesis is the more important, because it is the putting to practical effect in the use of our language the merely theoretical principles of the subject; and it is the carrying out of the principle that should pervade all our teaching of this and other subjects, not only the giving of knowledge, but, what is more important, the communicating, or rather the educing, of practical power.