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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 26

I. The Radical Idea of a Simple Sentence—Its Duality—The Noun, and Verb, and Pronoun

I. The Radical Idea of a Simple Sentence—Its Duality—The Noun, and Verb, and Pronoun.

I. The first thing to do is to give them the radical idea of what constitutes a simple sentence—its necessary duality—its two parts of subject and predicate, of noun and verb. This can be easily done; materials are abundant all about. Take the pencil in your hand; say something about it; make them say something. Point out the two necessary parts—the thing to speak of, and what is said about it. Take other subjects—the window, the desk, Johnny, Mary, &c. &c.

This root conception of the necessary duality of a sentence should be illustrated by numberless examples till it is apprehended fully. This should of course be done orally.

Next use the Board. Let one of the sentences be written down, and let its two parts be clearly separated to the eye. Let this be written on the slates with like separation. Let several be written on the board in the same way and transferred to the slates. Let others be written on the slate at once, and the two parts clearly marked. Let this radical duality be otherwise exercised on by the teacher, in ways he knows best for his own pupils, as by sending them to their seats to write short sentences, clearly separated, on subjects written on the board; by exercising them on the reading lesson of the day in separating the simpler sentences there; and so on. Let the same duality be exhibited in sentences of different page 26 length. Let both slate and mouth be constantly used. It may extend over many lessons, and should not be left till they have a thorough grasp of this radical idea.

2. Application of this Duality to Grammar.—We thus gain the true idea of the noun and the verb—the noun, the name of everything we can speak of; the verb, the word that can tell or assert something. These words should be given and used, and their definitions and uses learnt. Subject and predicate may be used if the children are old enough.

3. Introduce next the need for the pronoun by making two or more sentences about the same thing. Give its definition and use, and frame sentences with this new element.