Sin and Syntax

Resources for YOU!

I’ve recently turned a longtime dream into a reality: I’ve published a book of lesson plans for teachers who use Sin and Syntax in the classroom. This is something I have been working on since 2008. I kept adding to the lesson plans, teaching more workshops, expanding my dream, and imagining the day when I would stop tinkering, seriously edit them, find a copy editor, and put the materials into some more credible form than a Word document. This material is now an e-book.

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Calling all writing teachers!

Today I’m excited to announce that I’ve just turned a longtime dream into a reality: I’ve published a book of lesson plans for teachers who use Sin and Syntax in the classroom. Its 372 pages come with ideas for discussions, in-class exercises, homework assignments, handouts, answer keys, and even a big grammar test. There are readings galore, of my heterodox favorite passages (from Charlotte Brontë to Muhammad Ali!).

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Emily Brandt’s warm-ups and morphemes game

I recommend Sin and Syntax to my seniors and freshman honors English classes. And we used it in class to demonstrate the contrast between flat, dull writing and writing that makes use of a full range of techniques.

I have used the exercises in “Constance Hale’s Lesson Plans for Teachers” as daily warm-ups. There’s one additional exercise I’ve developed that I’d like to share: I teach my students to identify Greek and Latin morphemes in English words throughout the year.

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The elasticity of English

Being bilingual is a cornerstone of my writing life. My multi-culti take on vocabulary and grammar has given me insight into Hawaiian culture, guided my perspectives on syntax, and shaped my ideas of adventurous prose. And being bilingual has developed my ear for language and given me a true appreciation not just for vocabulary, but also for the sound of words and the rhythm of sentences.

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Making merry

So, you’re looking for the perfect gift for the language lover in your life? Look no further than the book jackets above and to the right. LOL. Seriously, though, I’ve been thinking about a gift I could give my readers, and came up with something novel. Purchase a copy of Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch along […]

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Comma Love

A big thank you for your support for Sin and Syntax, and especially the e-book. The recent promotion on Penguin Random and BookBub spread the subversive word, and I appreciated readers who shared links on social media and sent me messages. One of those messages involved a funny story reported by the AP.

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15 years & a gazillion readers

I’m thrilled to announce that Sin & Syntax has now sold—well, not exactly a gazillion copies, but well over 100,000. This is a huge milestone for me, and I’m in the mood to celebrate. I thought I’d tell you a little of the back story, as well as offering you a way to get a very very very affordable copy. (If you’ve read the book, you know I discourage the use of that adverb “very”—unless repeated three times. LOL.)

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Holiday Jollies!

I love reaching new readers, so I’ve come up with a special offer on my books through December. Buy a copy of Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch or Sin & Syntax from me, and I’ll send a bonus copy of either one to you.

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What I learned about writing at Hale’iwa Elementary

In two weeks, I leave for Hawai‘i, where I will lead a writers retreat on the beach I grew up on. I’m super excited. The retreat is sold out, and we have a couple of pretty amazing sessions at night that invite Native Hawaiians to share their artistic culture. In the first, visual artists who created a mural at the camp share thoughts on how to make art that reflects the ocean, the mountains, the spirit of place. In the second a scientist with The Nature Conservancy who also happens to be an esteemed chanter will tell us about the ecology of Mokulē‘ia, as well as the lore and legends about the place. His name is Sam ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon, and he will sing and chant, too.

In homage to all this, and sort of randomly, I thought I’d share one of my favorite passages from the new Sin and Syntax, on “finding the right pitch”…

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What a scene!

Place looms large in all the work I do—whether in travel writing (when I’m trying to capture the essence of another country or culture), or in narrative journalism (when I often begin with a scene to draw my reader into the story), or even in Facebook status updates (when I try to sketch a place with a few poetic images). Want some tips on writing scenes?

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