Grammar in Caesar Pappers


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these slides deal with some of the grammatical and stylistic issues that my students faced in writing timed (22 minute) essays on Julius Caesar for practice in class this week. Each pair of slides consists of a student sentence, followed by a slide showing an expanded or clarified version of the same idea.

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  • Grammar in Caesar Pappers

    1. 1. Improving Caesar Papers 5 November 2009
    2. 2. Past Tense: “the Senate kills him.”
    3. 3. Past Tense: “The Senate killed Caesar in 44 BC.”
    4. 4. Clarify Causes “In political way, Caesar called a senate to the meeting and they attended.”
    5. 5. Clarify Causes “In politics, Caesar called the senate to a meeting and they attended — because Caesar had hundreds of troops to escort the senators to the meeting.”
    6. 6. Contrast “Caesar wanted more power and the Senate rejected him, so he began a revolution more than a civil war.”
    7. 7. Contrast “Caesar wanted more power but the Senate rejected him. So he began a revolution more than a civil war. He didn’t destroy his country, but only its government.”
    8. 8. Broaden Vocabulary “...and used his powers in a bad way.”
    9. 9. Broaden Vocabulary “...and used his official powers to intimidate civilians, corrupt military officers, and bribe public officials.”
    10. 10. Clarify motivations “The senators knew Caesar was right, but they were afraid of Pompey.”
    11. 11. Clarify motivations “Some senators supported Caesar’s efforts to reform the government. Yet they feared Pompey would make trouble for them if they spoke in Caesar’s favor. Other senators saw Caesar as a threat to their own political careers.”
    12. 12. Take Yourself Out “I think that if anyone is a traitor it would have to be Brutus, the Caesar’s murderer.”
    13. 13. Take Yourself Out “The real traitor in this tale is Brutus, Caesar’s former friend and murderer.”
    14. 14. “My conclusion’s that...” “My conclusion is that Caesar is a traitor because he did many bad things for Rome and he took very bad decisions.”
    15. 15. “My conclusion’s that...” “Caesar is a traitor because he fought Rome and he overthrew his own elected government.”
    16. 16. Simplify “The senators were afraid to work in Caesar’s administration because they thought that if they didn’t do what Caesar asked they would get tortured and killed.”
    17. 17. Simplify “Senators refused official jobs in Caesar’s administration because they believed Caesar would torture and kill them for disobedience.”
    18. 18. Rename “Senators refused official jobs in Caesar’s administration because they believed the dictator tortured and killed disloyal subordinates.”
    19. 19. Word Choices “Speaking of money, Julius Caesar had a plentiful pocket of cash, not to mention an army, and he was smart.”
    20. 20. Word Choices “Julius Caesar was one of Rome’s wealthiest citizens, and he was an intellectually gifted leader. Now he also had command of an army.”
    21. 21. Nonsense “Over all Caesar struggled a lot in his years of dictatorship. I think that he just wasn’t prepared for what he was facing. He should have asked people for assistance.” (agreed, caesar was a traitor).
    22. 22. Nonsense “Caesar overthrew his government for power, but his four-year-long dictator- ship was challenging. There were few he could trust to share his power. ”
    23. 23. Motive “I don’t think that he really knew what he was doing when he became dictator.” (agreed, Caesar was a traitor.)
    24. 24. Motive “Caesar worked to overthrow the government, but had no clear plans for after he became dictator.” (agreed, Caesar was a traitor.)
    25. 25. Repetition “He didn’t want to attack because he was planning. He was carefully planning how he was going to get into power.” (disagreed, Caesar was not a traitor.)
    26. 26. Repetition “Caesar wanted to win power through election, not through overthrow of his government. Pompey and his faction illegally prevented Caesar’s lawful ambitions.” (disagreed, Caesar was not a traitor.)