Analysis is the process of identifying subjects, predicates, direct and indirect objects and the various types of clauses and phrases.
The student is taught to analyze by beginning with very simple sentences. A common mistake in American pedagogy is to teach too much too soon–especially where grammar is concerned. Grammar needs to be taught in baby steps so that the student can absorb one concept before being introduced to the next one.
Thought for the Day: Most elementary and secondary English textbooks contain TOO MUCH STUFF.
Begin instruction in Sentence Analysis with simple two word sentences. For example, Birds fly.
On a piece of notebook paper have the student write two headings separated by a neatly drawn line:
SUBJECT | PREDICATE
The line is to be drawn all the way down the page to leave space for plenty of examples. A straight line, mind. Use a ruler.
Examples of first sentences to analyze:
You get the idea.
Explain that the Subject is what you’re talking about and that the Predicate is what is said about the Subject. With each example hammer it home with questions:
Teacher: Who flies?
Teacher: So what is “birds”?
Teacher: What do the birds do?
Teacher: Right! That’s the Predicate because it’s what is said about the Subject.
Do the same thing with each sentence, ring all the changes on the questions that you can think of, getting across the concept that Subject is what is being spoken of and Predicate is what is being said about the Subject.
Once the learner has grasped the basic concept of Subject as topic and Predicate as what is said about the Subject, you can start adding words, but you continue to offer simple Subject/Predicate examples.
Examples of second-stage sentences to analyze:
The little birds sing.
A strange dog barked.
Two children sang.
It is at this point that you teach the other part of the process: Parsing.
That’s in the next post: How to Parse a Sentence