Return to Conjunction Junction

Grammar isn’t taught with much specificity here in England. Maybe it’s the same in the US these days. Sure, kids learn to write and work hard at developing their literacy skills, but there is not much emphasis placed on the terminology of language or how these grammatical building blocks construct sentences. When I was in school we learned to identify adverbs from adjectives, predicates from subjects, proper nouns from pronouns. And to diagram whole sentences (which was probably overkill).

Anyway, the other day it arose that Isobel was unfamiliar with the term “conjunction” as it applies to the parts of speech. Preparing to provide an answer I found myself humming a familiar tune. If you grew up in America in the 70s you probably know what it was. Schoolhouse Rock! An absolutely glorious public service television project that taught a generation of kids the Preamble to the Constitution, as well as grammar.

Through the magic of YouTube all the old favorites are waiting to be rediscovered (or enjoyed for the first time). Isobel and I loved watching many of them, including “Interjection!” and “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here” and “No More Kings” – a very ‘patriotic’ take on the American Revolution.

Why don’t you start with “Conjunction Junction, What’s Your Function?”

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7 thoughts on “Return to Conjunction Junction

  1. I loved these! There was a big discussion not long ago among those of who remembered the weird ones featuring the squashy little guy pushing fresh fruit and vegetables, along with the use of less salad dressing and more dairy calcium. “When my 10 gallon hat feels 10 gallons flat…I hanker for a hunk of cheese!” And as for Schoolhouse Rock, don’t forget “Sufferin’ ‘Till Suffrage!”

      • I always looked upon it as a mental puzzle. The longer the sentence, the more fun it turned out to be.

    • Oh my goodness, hello McG! [interjection] Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of being in one of your English classes. I cannot recall who introduced me to the joys of parsing sentences, but whoever it was, s/he was a stickler; rulers were essential.

      • Ah yes….rulers make them neat and organized! From reading a bunch of your entries, it looks like you’ve having a wonderful life in England. So happy for you! Hopefully next time you’re in Harvard, you can look me up and we can catch up. I retired two years ago and am directing shows all over the place and loving it. All the best. McG

  2. I just happened upon an article published in yesterday’s New York Times about this very subject! How freaky (or maybe we’ve unknowingly hit on a hot topic…). Read “Taming Sentences” – http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/taming-sentences/?ref=opinion. It’s good.
    And so glad to hear you are still directing, McG! I’ve stayed away from Facebook so far, but my eccentric avoidance of social media may be crumbling now that we’ve started this project. We’ll be back very briefly this summer; it would be lovely to catch up.

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