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Stephen Downes

Odd diagrams - you must have learned from a different source than I did.

Diagrams are useful, as they show the relationship between major parts of a sentence. If you are unable to offer some diagram of a sentence, you probably do not know what the sentence means.

The converse is not true, however. Merely being able to diagram a sentence does not in itself confer understanding. But as they say, it helps.

Grammar changes, words change. But no matter how it is expressed, some things will remain needing to be expressed: conjunctions, conditionals, entailment, explanation.

These are not matters of 'whose standards' - by anyone's standards, some measure of clarity about these relations will be important.

Suzanne Kart

I have been a writer my whole life and I have never been able to diagram a sentence. Was this ever relevant?

On a side note. I taught a business communications course at a community college last summer. My "mentor" (the professor in charge of supervisoring me) was concerned that I did not give grammar tests. I told her I didn't need to, because I had them doing 3-page papers and their grammar was fine. She told me they may not be ready to write 3-page papers (even though I told her that they had been doing it all semester). They could all write well, so we studied cultural communications issues and wrote about them. Then I was told that I was focusing too much on cultural communications. Let's just say I haven't been asked to teach that class again (even though my student evaluations were the best I ever received.)

Richard Widdicombe

I have sent many copies of the book NINE SHIFT: Work, life and education in the 21st century to quite a few people. William Draves and Julie Coates of http://www.lern.org have set out some interesting insights into the future. They point out that just as the United States changed rapidly with the adoption of the automobile from 1900-1920, that a similar change is occurring now with the widespread adoption of the internet (and high speed communication). Cities will grow again as places to live, work will become more distributed. More people will work from home or from the corner internet shop or library. Colleagues will be around the world, people will cut down their commutes. Automobiles will become less central to our society (and consequently to the structure of our communities).

So, that is why we have moved to Utica NY. It is on the main train line, it is on the Thruway, it is on the Erie Canal. It is already home to banks and other high tech networked businesses. It is also near our country house at Big Moose Lake.

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