Sociology and English literature styles

  1. What is a gerund and how does it differ from a present participle or from a present progressive? How do the functions of subject and predicate affect the way these forms are classified?
    2. Examine a “variety” of English and discuss some of its specific grammatical features. For instance, you might consider academic discourse and the differences in style between sociology and English literature. Is one superior? Are they equally sophisticated? Also, what is the difference in the way grammar is used in coding in contrast to traditional written English? Is there a reason for these forms to have diverged?
    3. What advantages are there in breaking grammatical “rules”? Why, for instance, do advertisers use colloquial or incorrect grammar? What effect does this break have upon our knowledge of grammar? You might also want to consider a novelist, poet, or musician in this topic. (Choose only one genre and artist!)
    4. For years, you have been taught grammar, and your instructors have marked errors on your papers. However, others believe that knowledge of grammar does little to make writing better. What is the value of grammar in writing? Check academic journals devoted to writing, and try to interview a high-school teacher.
    5. When you read novels or poems in translation, often you will find odd constructions, grammatical constructions that natives would not use. Why do direct translations of one language to another fail? Be sure to include specific examples from a novel or poem.
    6. Select a newspaper or magazine article to critique for its grammar and syntax. Would you accept the article based on its use of grammar and syntax? If not, why?
    7. How is language, including grammar, a political or social issue? Consider several well-known examples. For instance, many town boards have fought bitterly over the renaming of “manhole covers.” Also, traditional grammar requires the use of a third-person masculine pronoun to substitute for a noun (i.e., “the bank officer made his decision”). Consider also pronouns used in gender identification. In addition, there are many words that are considered offensive. To what extent is this political or social? Make sure you provide specific examples in this paper.

    8. The way we analyze sentences has changed drastically in the past century. Through research, look at both prescriptive and transformational grammar. How does each approach grammar and analysis? What are the differences between these two approaches? Which do you find more effective? Please talk to me prior to starting this assignment.
    9. How does your use of English (grammar and syntax) change when you use different social media, including blogging? Start this discussion by looking at David Crystal’s Internet Linguistics (2011) and his website at How and when do we change our language usage? Are there “rules” of grammar on social media? How does the use of social media impact writing in an academic setting?
    10. Every few years, Congress considers making English the official language of the United States. (In fact, recently, a Maryland town declared English its official language; the requirement lasted less than a week.) What is an official language? Why would such a move be helpful or harmful in the United States? Consider those states that have a large immigrant population. Does it cost states not to have an official language? You must choose a side and present this topic as an argument.