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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Friday, October 7

ES3 - The 1-o

Forgive me for writing so much about sentence structure. My system is just too useful to let it disappear forever. If anyone out there knows an English teacher or two, please have them check in with me. Maybe they’ll be attracted to it and use it in their classrooms. The whole thing is available at as an e-book for $2.99.

How about a quickie explanation of the 1-o.

What I’m calling a 1 is grammatically a preposition (pre-position, a word that comes in front of a noun). These are those tiny words we use over and over again in our language, use more than nearly any other language, about sixty total. Some of them consist of more than one word working together (“because of,” “instead of,” “out of”); seven of them make up about 90% of the ones we use: of, for, in, to, at, on, with. They’re used as adjectives and adverbs. As an adjective, they always (or should always) come right after the noun they describe; as an adverb, they can float around in the sentence, telling why, when, where, how, or under what conditions something happens, pointing to v’s and verbals (2’s, 3’s, and 4's). When I say “float,” I mean that with a main V, the 1-o can be near that V or it can begin the sentence or end it. For example, “Charlie had indigestion after breakfast.” “After breakfast, Charlie had indigestion.” “Charlie, after breakfast, had indigestion.” You can even force it in between the V and the O, but that’s the least promising location for it. “Charlie had, after breakfast, indigestion.” Poor Charlie. The 1 can have more than one o. “Charlie had a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage, grits, biscuits, and gravy.” Poor, dumb Charlie. Quite often, 1-o’s will work in tandem, one tumbling after another, each one describing the o of the one in front. “I just met the new manager of the bank on the corner of Fifth and Jackson.” See, three 1-o’s in a row. The pattern would look like this:

The 1-o can also work with 2’s, 3’s, and 4,’s. For example, 1. “Charlie bought a chicken to cook on his patio.” 2. “A man standing beside him also bought one.” 3. “Charlie, lost in thought, forget his change.” Here are the three patterns:

That’s enough for now. Hope I haven’t put anyone to sleep. Hope Charlie doesn’t gain too much weight.

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