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Principles of Grammar

The science that studies the methods of combining concepts — i.e., words — into sentences is grammar. Discover how the normally dry subject of grammar can be transformed into an engrossing, epistemological field of study. Learn why a mastery of the principles of grammar is essential for precision in thinking and writing. These tapes enable you to study at your own pace and convenience. An exercise booklet (with the answers given during the lectures) is included. This is grammar as it should be — but never is — taught.

1. Basic Grammatical Concepts
The philosophic foundation of the rules of grammar. The nature of a sentence. Subject, predicate and complement. Phrases and clauses. The parts of speech. How to parse a sentence.

2. & 3. Subordination and Coordination
Main vs. subordinate clauses; subordination as a matter of logic and a means of emphasis; other techniques of emphasis. Types of conjunctions. Parallelism: how to express equality of importance through structural sameness. Economy: how to avoid needless verbiage.

4. & 5. Verbs and Pronouns
Choosing the exact tense of a verb. Uses of the subjunctive. Employing a logical sequence of tenses, moods and voices. Verbals: the proper use of participles, gerunds and infinitives. Seven types of pronouns; common errors in their usage. Case and number of pronouns; pronouns without clear antecedents.

6. Punctuation
Punctuation and the “crow epistemology.” Uses of the comma. The comma as a tool of thought.

7. & 8. Choosing the Right Word: Colloquialisms, slang and formal English.
Connotation and denotation. How to choose among synonyms. Metaphors, alive and dead. Euphony.


All of Leonard Peikoff’s lectures may be ordered from the Ayn Rand Bookstore via their website, or by calling them at 1-800-729-6149 (U.S. or Canada), or 1-949-222-6557 (International).