Teaching Sentences as Grammar VS. Teaching Sentences as Writing

Do you teach “grammar” when you teach children about sentences… or do you teach “writing” when you teach children about sentences? Let’s take a quiz. Read this sentence:

Do you still eat pizza every day?

Which of these four kinds of sentences is this?

• Declarative Sentence – Makes a statement.
• Interrogative Sentence – Asks a question.
• Exclamatory Sentence – Expresses strong feeling.
• Imperative Sentence – Gives a command.

The answer depends on if you are teaching “grammar” or if you are teaching students “writing.”

If you are teaching grammar… the answer is simple. It is an “Interrogative Sentence” because it does ask a question.

However, in a sense it is really two sentences. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Do you still eat pizza every day?

Notice the word “still.” “Still” adds to the question in a way that it makes it a presupposition (pre-suppose.) Now the sentence really has two parts.

1. A statement: You used to eat pizza every day.
2. A question: Do you still?

Have you ever heard of the “Secret A, B, C Sentence?”

It’s one of the patterns in “Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay.” It’s a powerful sentence pattern that brings mastery to topic sentences and essay introductions without the teacher explaining a thing.

Without “explaining”… it teaches children that while it is true that a sentence communicates an idea, it also implies many other ideas. Isn’t this really what a topic sentence does? Doesn’t a creative introduction really imply what the rest of the essay will be about… without giving all the details away?

We often think of a sentence as just one idea but there are really many hidden ideas within that sentence. Wait though… don’t try and “explain” this to kids. When you teach them to WRITE using “Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay” they will just… get it!

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