Upcoming Seminars
and a Short Course

Simple and Compound Subjects
Tuesday, November 3
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Every sentence we write addresses a subject we want to say something about, and it’s not uncommon for our sentences to involve two or more subjects at the same time. Simple sentences make a statement about only one thing; compound sentences say something about more than one subject, and the way we construct those more complicated statements will determine how easily our readers comprehend what we’re saying. This one-hour seminar will explain the parts of the subject phrase of a sentence, demonstrate how we can open a sentence effectively with an adverbial phrase, and illustrate how best to punctuate longer subject phrases. Participants will receive a handout that summarizes the presentation, including exercises and answers for private study. You may now enroll through this registration link. Tuition is $25.

Teaching Grammar
Saturday, October 31
10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Writing Smartly’s first seminar, Teaching Grammar, will be offered again on Saturday morning, October 31, from 10:00 to 11:00. I am hoping this new time will prove convenient for a number of people who have expressed an interest in this and other seminars but have been unable to attend the regular Tuesday evening section. Tuition is $25, and you may enroll now through this registration link. A description is below.

Teaching Grammar

Our dramatic change of circumstances over the last few months has suddenly pressed many into the role of teacher, either to supplement the online education that is taking the place of traditional school, or to assume the position of teacher in a homeschooling program. And if that role happens to be as an English teacher, the newfound responsibility might prove to be a difficult moment.

To help meet that challenge, Writing Smartly will be offering a one-hour online tutorial called Teaching Grammar. English grammar can be a complex affair, but when the subject is framed properly—when a basic approach is lined out and some essential terms defined—what appeared at first to be an impossible confusion can be sufficiently understood to present clearly. Participants will receive a handout that explains the basic concepts and illustrates the order in which they are best introduced to a student. Included as well are exercises and answers to reinforce the ideas.

Independent and Subordinate Clauses
Tuesday, November 10
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

There are really only two ways to present a number of thoughts in one sentence: we can either lay them side by side, showing how one is just as important as another; or we can tag one particular thought to show how it depends on another for its complete meaning. We do this easily when we speak, but when it comes to writing, that natural skill in organizing our thoughts often seems to disappear. This one-hour seminar will explain the difference between independent and subordinate clauses, show how conjunctions function in building each, and point out some rules of punctuation that can tighten and economize our sentences, making it easier for the reader to comprehend just what we’re saying. Participants will receive a handout that summarizes the presentation, along with exercises and answers for private study. You may now enroll through this registration link. Tuition is $25.

Reading Closely to Write
Wednesdays, November 11 & 18 and December 2 & 9
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

It’s an open secret that we learn to write by reading. On Wednesday, November 11, I will begin a course of four one-hour sessions called Reading Closely to Write, each of which will examine the sentence structure and design of a well-written story by an acclaimed writer. Discussions will focus on the language of a short work of fiction (averaging only eight pages). We will analyze the grammar and composition of certain significant sentences, and consider how other designs the author could have chosen would have produced a different effect. Our emphasis will be on the language of the reading, so that we can begin to develop an eye and ear for our own natural written voice. Selections will be from 100 Great Short Stories, edited by James Daley (Dover, 2015), readily available at Amazon and elsewhere. Please use this registration link to enroll. Tuition for this four-session online course is $100.

Private Instruction Online

In addition to these weekly seminars, I offer private instruction online. If you would like to examine more closely a grammatical concept or particular document you are struggling with, or if you wish to discuss a work of literature or nonfiction you are currently reading, please email me directly at ultimo@writingsmartly.com to arrange a meeting. We can often get past stubborn hurdles when we explain to someone else the difficulties we are having. I have worked for many years with students and professionals to help them think more critically and write more clearly. Both onetime and ongoing arrangements are possible.


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