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Do they really need to know what a predicate is?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I had no idea what nouns and verbs were until I was in college. I'd never even heard of predicates and what ever else dd's language arts stuff is teaching but yet I still scored into the 100th percentile (yeah 100th as in top score, the lady who never passed a single English class in 13 years of school) nationally on my college entrance English exam thing I had to take to get into eng 101. I learned everything by reading tons of books and studying authors writing styles I liked when I started doing my own writing. I still don't know what an adverb or a predicate is but I can write "A" papers without much thought.

So, must know or not?
post #2 of 47
GET BACK TO WORK FOR YOUR FINALS

(Your sig told me to say that)
post #3 of 47
Knowing the parts of speech and the grammatical structures of language is helpful when learning a foreign language. It's also helpful when students are learning formal academic writing. If they know what they're doing at the sentence level (a sentence has to have a subject and a predicate, it shouldn't "run on" and the nouns, verbs, and adverbs have to "match") they can focus on producing good paragraphs and essays. I think there are some people with a great natural command of language who can get by without breaking down the pieces. However, as a high school history teacher, I see that students who don't have the basics of grammar down cold have a hard time producing coherent essays.

So I would say, yes, children should learn the parts of speech and sentence structure.

ETA: Your method of reading a lot of good writing is a great way to learn how to write well - the best way, really - but very demanding for most students in the high school years.

And good luck on your finals!
post #4 of 47
What about dangling participles? How important are those?

If you want to add some fun to your grammar learning (if that is even possible) try some Mad Libs. We have fun with those.
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
.. but yet I still scored into the 100th percentile (yeah 100th as in top score, the lady who never passed a single English class in 13 years of school) nationally on my college entrance English exam thing I had to take to get into eng 101.
The top score on those exams is the 99th percentile. 100th percentile is a statistical impossibility.

Sorry, I can't stop myself from picking at those things.
post #6 of 47
To be frank, I don't think those things are that important. Anyone who is interested in languages or writing, or who pursues a field involving composition, will likely come upon those things in their studies. I don't see any value to learning the parts of speech when you're ten years old, if you aren't interested. I'll bet anything that if I went into the other room and asked my son's 16yo (schooled) friend what a predicate is, he won't be able to tell me. Heck, my husband probably wouldn't be able to tell me. I'm sure they've both "learned" it at some point.

The parts of speech could probably be learned in an hour when the child is interested. That might not be until adulthood, but they'll learn it before then if they deem it necessary.

edited to add: Yeah, the kid is in tenth grade, is very smart, and "predicate" was a totally foreign word to him. My husband knew it was a grammatical term, but couldn't define it.
post #7 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
Knowing the parts of speech and the grammatical structures of language is helpful when learning a foreign language. It's also helpful when students are learning formal academic writing. If they know what they're doing at the sentence level (a sentence has to have a subject and a predicate, it shouldn't "run on" and the nouns, verbs, and adverbs have to "match") they can focus on producing good paragraphs and essays. I think there are some people with a great natural command of language who can get by without breaking down the pieces. However, as a high school history teacher, I see that students who don't have the basics of grammar down cold have a hard time producing coherent essays.

So I would say, yes, children should learn the parts of speech and sentence structure.

ETA: Your method of reading a lot of good writing is a great way to learn how to write well - the best way, really - but very demanding for most students in the high school years.

And good luck on your finals!
I was the quiet kid who hid in the corner and read books all day. Didn't tend to cause trouble unless you wanted me to work, by the time I got to high school they were happy if we showed up. fwiw, I did 4 years of HS in 18 months with 9 of those months just sitting and reading novels casue I didn't feel like doing school work and its not like they could fail me or kick me out (self paced program and I would turn in months worth of work at once when watch as my numbers dropped then once I got to the danger zone I did a bunch more, I did like a year of science in 2 days once, still remember the teachers face when I turned it in Anyway, it does come naturally to me, reading & writing at 3 and went from there. dd... it doesn't seem to come so naturally for her.
post #8 of 47
when I was in highschool I was struggling with geometry. My parents got me a tutor. I asked her why I even needed to learn this stuff...What use would it be to me!
I loved her answer, "It's another way for your brain to think. It's like exercise for your brain"
So maybe learning the parts of speech could be looked at the same way.
post #9 of 47
Is someone trying to make her learn what a predicate is?
post #10 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
Is someone trying to make her learn what a predicate is?
The assignment is to identify the subject and the predicate. I think its taught in grade 1 on K12 becasue it didn't teach her what it was before asking her to identify it (she's 2nd grade) and I can't teach her what I don't know. I mean I looked it up on google since I didn't know but it seems kinda pointless to me.
post #11 of 47
GET BACK TO YOUR FINALS SO YOU CAN PASS THIS SEMESTER!!!

Good luck...see you NEXT WEEK!

*grin*
Bellevuemama
post #12 of 47
I'm learning Arabic right now, so that colors my opinions a bit... but I do think knowing the correct grammatical terminology is useful when you're discussing grammar... and I think some discussion of grammar is necessary to help most people became competent writers.

For example, if your daughter writes a story that includes the sentence "The little dogs." and asks you for help editing, how would you explain to her why that isn't a grammatically correct sentence in English? I'd use the word "predicate" to explain... you could use "verb" I suppose, since the predicate is the part of the sentence that includes a verb... but knowing some terminology would make it much easier to explain, IMO.

In my Arabic class, a lot of the students have no idea what a direct object or a preposition is, and it slows them down. There are certain nouns forms used after preporitions in formal Arabic, and others used for direct objects only. I mean, they can catch up, and most do, but it is necessary.

I dunno... it just seems to me that if a curriculum will be teaching grammar, it should include terminology.

dar
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
The assignment is to identify the subject and the predicate. I think its taught in grade 1 on K12 becasue it didn't teach her what it was before asking her to identify it (she's 2nd grade) and I can't teach her what I don't know. I mean I looked it up on google since I didn't know but it seems kinda pointless to me.
Oh got it. That makes sense. We follow up on all kinds of pointless things here. And my kid loves terminology so she'd just love to throw that one in the bag.

I think terminology like noun and verb, subject and predicate can be really helpful when you're trying to talk about writing.

I remember my first college roommate, who was woefully unprepared for college, sweating over the difference between an adjective and and adverb. She asked me to explain...and I realized while I was explaining it that she didn't really grasp nouns, verbs and sentence structure. It was kicking her butt.

I grew up in a nerdy family that thinks this stuff is interesting. I remember being all happy when I learned what a gerund was in high school.
post #14 of 47
Go study, Satori......

I still do not know what a predicate is - and I have a Bachelors!

I do find my writing skills a little weak though.....perhaps grammar is useful if you want to be a writer, but for the rest of us....nah.
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
I still don't know what an adverb or a predicate is but I can write "A" papers without much thought.

So, must know or not?
Obviously, one can get through life without knowing. We were all taught in school, though many either never grasped it or didn't retain it.

A predicate is the verb and its little helpers. For example, in the sentence:

The dog barked.

The predicate is "barked."

And in the sentence:

The dog barked loudly at the cat as it ran across the lawn.

The predicate is "barked loudly at the cat as it ran across the lawn." Basically, you just start at the verb and keep going.

There are many wonderful reasons to learn grammar. I like grammer. However, I don't think kids need to learn it in early elementary school. There really isn't all that much to grammar. It is a very finite subject. I think that by going it over and over and over, we mostly teach children to tune it out! I think waiting until they are older and then really studying it makes more sense.

The reason I've heard for teaching this sort of thing in first and second graders is so that when children write you can more easily tell them what is wrong with their writing. For example. If they fail to write in complete sentences, you can better explain to them why it isn't a complete sentence. If they don't know what a subject or predicate is, then is can be difficult to explain that they have failed to include one in their writing. You can tell them that their subjects and verbs don't agree, and all that sort of thing.

Personally, my kids didn't do a great deal of writing at that age, and I didn't want to discourage their efforts by telling them what was wrong with what they did, but it is the reason given to me by a former teacher with a Master's in Curriculum Development, so I thought I would pass it along.

BTW, adverbs, have two jobs. The can describe verbs. For example:

The dog barked loudly.

"Loudly" is an adverb.

The can also describe adjectives.
post #16 of 47
No, a young child does not need to know that. Some people (most?) may never need to know it but some want to anyway. I definitely wouldn't bore a child with parts of speech. Some kids will like it, but it will always be there later for those who aren't interested. Other have mentioned foreign language study, but it was by learning foreign languages that I understood English grammar better. I didn't need to understand it well before learning another language.

Chfriend, had your roommate been homeschooled?

Please any excuse mistakes--it's the jetlag!
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post

Chfriend, had your roommate been homeschooled?
Great goodness, no. She graduated in the top 10% of her public high school.
post #18 of 47
no, i don't think it's terribly important to be honest...that's why most adults don't remember half of that stuff. my dd's curriculum is currently reviewing the "naming part" and "action part" of sentences. we do review it & she understands it, but it's not terribly important to me - i'm just reviewing it because it's there.
post #19 of 47
I'm reading a ton of essays by 10th graders this week, and I can tell which ones know the rules of grammar and the parts of speech. With due regard to those who don't see the point, or who think children can easily pick it up when it becomes important to them, it is MUCH easier to teach good writing to students who know their way around sentence structure. At this point in the semester, the students who didn't know these things coming in are really starting to resent me and my specific, informative feedback on their work. These kids have studied earnestly all their lives, and are academically ambitious, and this is really hurting them.
post #20 of 47
I think it would be interesting to know why some people don't get it after having reviewed it in school several times. Is it that they got completely turned off by it or felt it was too hard due to how it was presented, or do some people's minds work differently and don't really grasp grammar all that easily? Or some other reason?

I wonder if the students in the writing class who aren't getting it aren't really all that into writing, but are taking the class to fulfill a requirement.

eta: I don't think anyone is saying it's completely pointless, but why force it on a child who couldn't care less?
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