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ENGL 270 A: The Uses of the English Language

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SAV 131
John Webster Washington
John Webster

Syllabus Description:

A Matter of Style:

The English Sentence Past and Present

This class will offer you an intensive introduction to the world of English Sentences. You will learn about their elements and their structures, you’ll learn to think about them as examples of a range of different styles and registers, and you will do this with sentences from literature as well as from ordinary life. You’ll write many sentences yourself, both as your own and as imitations of famous sentences from the past—even sentences from the morning newspaper. 

This will not be a grammar class (though we will do enough syntax to make you a better reader and maker of sentences), but you’ll nevertheless learn much about the many different ways English speakers put their thoughts into words. 

At the end of the course you’ll leave having memorized a few sentences, written more than a few others, read and spoken some of the most famous in the language, and heard many, many more. 


I want students leaving this class to be more confident and experienced with the reading and writing of English sentences and paragraphs.

I want students to leave with a strong initial understanding of some of the key elements of language—particularly in English, but also in some degree as those elements of English connect to other world languages.

I want students to leave having built their active reading and writing skills by having written in different ways about the interpretation of sentences and paragraphs throughout the quarter.

And finally, I want students leaving the class to have had fun with language and knowing better what other courses in English might be able to offer them.

(Read "The Goals of This Course" for a more complete explanation of our goals for active reading and for increased familiarity with the elements of language.)

Texts: All texts will be supplied throughout the quarter

Catalog Description: 
Surveys the assumptions, methodologies, and major issues of English in its cultural settings. Connects English language study with the study of literature, orality and literacy, education, ethnicity, gender, and public policy.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
April 13, 2021 - 7:52am