Sept. 9, 2019
Everything on this site is free: there are no materials for sale.
Many of the documents on this site are now being made in MS Word. If
you do not have MS Word (or a program that can open these documents), go
to the Microsoft
site where you can get a free reader that will let you open and print
them, or you might want to find and try the free "OpenOffice" software
on the web.
KISS Is -- And What It Is Not
Most approaches to grammar cover individual
constructions (subjects and verbs, for example), give students a few simplistic
exercises, and then ignore subjects and verbs to move on to another construction.
They never put all these constructions together such that students can
understand how sentences work. KISS, however, is a group of carefully designed
of instructional materials and exercises in which students build on what
they have previously learned. Ultimately, the KISS sequences can enable
students to identify and discuss the function of almost every word in anything
that they read or write. Along the way, KISS enables students to understand
major questions of errors, style, and logic.
Originally, KISS materials were organized into
five "levels" that more or less follow the way in which these constructions
Level 1. The Basics: simple subjects, verbs, complements
(predicate noun, adjective, direct and indirect objects), adjectives and
adverbs, compounds, and prepositional phrases
As KISS was being developed from real, randomly selected texts, complications
were found that are not addressed in most textbooks. As a simple example,
"to" can function as a preposition ("to the house"), or it can function
as the sign of an infinitive ("to go"). This confuses students, so KISS
devotes exercises to such complications, exercises that you will not find
in most textbooks. Over the years, these complications became sub-levels
in the original five.
Level 2. Expanding the Basics: The complexities of S/V/C patterns
and of prepositional phrases. (These are generally either ignored or glossed
over in most textbooks. The result of that is that students cannot apply
what they have learned to their own writing and reading.)
Level 3. Clauses (Subordinate and Main): An understanding of
clauses is one of the most important things that students should master.
Level 4. Verbals: Verbals are verbs that function as nouns, adjectives,
or adverbs, as in Swimming is good exercise. In Level 2,
students are taught how to distinguish finite verbs (that make clauses)
from verbals. In this level, they learn more about verbals per se.
Level 5. Eight additional Constructions: Three of these (Nouns
Used as Adverbs, Simple Interjections, and Direct Address) are easy to
understand, but they are not required for students to understand the constructions
in Levels one to four. The other five are most easily learned after students
have mastered KISS Level 4. They are appositives, post-positioned adjectives,
delayed subjects and sentences, passive voice, and noun absolutes.
* Although I am somewhat embarrassed
to note it, you may find grammatical and spelling errors on this site.
I do my best, but I teach five sections of Freshman composition/Introduction
to Literature every semester. As a result, I often have to rush to get
something onto this section of the site, or I have to drop it before I
would like to, so that I can prepare for my classes. That is not a good
excuse, but it is, I hope, justification for a plea for help. Someone once
sent me an e-mail to tell me that she found several spelling errors "on
the site." The "site," however, consists of several hundred documents,
and if I take the time to reread/edit all of them, I will have even less
time to respond to questions, etc. If you find an error, please
the page to me . It will be even more helpful if you tell me what
and where the errors are. Thank you.