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Grammar and Beauty

Cozy Grammar Welcome

Just as it may seem strange at first to talk about grammar and gratitude, it may also seem strange to talk about grammar and beauty.

But as Marie explains in Lesson 14 of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, beauty and grammar go together.

How? Take a peek at our first free excerpt in which Marie explains phrasal comparisons with 3-syllable adjectives such as beautiful and shows how they connect with beauty. Then I'll expand on the connection and also share a few exciting announcements.

By the way, if you missed our previous free excerpts on comparisons with adjectives, feel free to watch them in our newsletters on The Three Degrees of Comparison and Gratitude and Grammar.

An Ear for Language

I love how Marie explains why we use phrasal comparisons with words like beautiful. This usage really does feel better in our mouths and sound better in our ears.

In fact, I thought it was important enough to add a supplementary video to the Study Notes for Lesson 14. Take a peek at our second free excerpt below.

A Most Beautiful Bird

Perhaps the place where the connection between grammar and beauty can be seen most easily is in poetry.

So I wanted to a share poem from my friend Wendell Berry that explores both beauty and comparison. It's his Sabbath Poem VI for 2003, which is published in his book Given.

Take a look, or better yet, read it out loud, enjoying the sounds and rhythms of the words:

The yellow-throated warbler, the highest remotest voice
of this place, sings in the tops of the tallest sycamores,
but one day he came twice to the railing of my porch
where I sat at work above the river. He was too close
to see with binoculars. Only the naked eye could take him in,
a bird more beautiful than every picture of himself,
more beautiful than himself killed and preserved
by the most skilled taxidermist, more beautiful
than any human mind, so small and inexact,
could hope ever to remember. My mind became
beautiful by the sight of him. He had the beauty only
of himself alive in the only moment of his life.
He had upon him like a light the whole
beauty of the living world that never dies.

More and More Beauty

Did you happen to notice how many comparisons Mr. Berry used in his poem?

By my count, he used a total of 7 comparisons, including 4 phrasal comparisons. Can you find them all?

Click here to see all the comparisons in Mr. Berry's poem.
I’ve put the comparisons IN BOLD.

The yellow-throated warbler, the HIGHEST REMOTEST voice
of this place, sings in the tops of the TALLEST sycamores,
but one day he came twice to the railing of my porch
where I sat at work above the river. He was too close
to see with binoculars. Only the naked eye could take him in,
a bird MORE BEAUTIFUL than every picture of himself,
MORE BEAUTIFUL than himself killed and preserved
by the MOST SKILLED taxidermist, MORE BEAUTIFUL
than any human mind, so small and inexact,
could hope ever to remember. My mind became
beautiful by the sight of him. He had the beauty only
of himself alive in the only moment of his life.
He had upon him like a light the whole
beauty of the living world that never dies.

The real reason to read this poem, however, is to allow it to help us find more beauty in the world.

Here's a creative writing activity I encourage you to try to explore your own sense of beauty.

Think of something in nature that you find beautiful, then try writing a poem about it.

Maybe you'll find yourself using comparisons, or maybe not. Let your ear guide you to your own unique form of expression.

If you need inspiration, feel free to take another look at Mr. Berry's poem.

And if you happen to write a poem that you're proud of, contact us and send us a copy. We might just publish it in an upcoming newsletter!

Some Upcoming Opportunities

For our friends in the Pacific Northwest, we're delighted to announce that there are two opportunities this spring and summer to meet me and Cozy Grammar's producer and director David Mielke in person.

On Saturday, April 13, at 1:00pm we'll be speaking at the Vashon Literary Conference on "Grammar and Love: The Story of Marie Rackham and the Technique of Language."

Here's a brief description from the conference program:

David Mielke, producer and director of Cozy Grammar, tells the story of how Marie Rackham came to create her Basic Cozy Grammar, Punctuation, and Essay-Writing Courses and enacted her belief that studying grammar, rather than stifling creativity, should enhance it. He’ll also screen clips from the award-winning online video series, and Cozy Grammar’s Language Consultant, Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, will offer five simple and practical ways that the teaching of grammar can be used to help foster a love of language and literature.

Also, we will both be appearing at the Washington Homeschool Organization Conference in June. You can read more about the 2019 WHO Conference on their website.

If you're in the neighborhood, we'd be delighted to meet you!

Thank you for joining us this month. We hope it's the most beautiful month for you yet.

See you again soon!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

Warmly,

Thomas

Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses