Grammar Lesson 1

Oct 28, 2009
I don't know grammar well enough and I suffer for it, so I am going to make an effort to learn a bit of grammar every week and post what I can here for your reflection. First, a foundational thought: Grammar is where God, man, the soul, thinking, knowledge, and the cosmos all come together. Grammar is based on the link between something that exists and something that apllies to something that exists. God "exists." He called Himself, "I Am." He made us, putting us in the garden to steward it. As stewards, we need to know what we are stewarding, so he made us able to know the world we live in. The world around us exists as things that act or are acted on and have properties or qualities. In other words, the world is full of subjects with predicates. To know the world around us we must think it. When we think something, we always think something about it. In other words, the mind thinks subjects and predicates. Predicate comes from the Latin and means "to say about." All thought and all existence revolve around the relation between subjects and predicates (substances and properties if you like). Truth, when applied to statements, is the right relation between the subject and the predicate (and all the qualifiers of each - such as adjectives, adverbs, etc.). Falsehood exists in statements. Think about that. Falsehood exists in statements. It is a broken relationship between the subject and the predicate. I'm tempted to say that falsehood only exists in statements, but it can also exist in acts of the will, such as the basketball player who deceives the defender into thinking he is going right and then cuts left. But I do think falsehood can always be expressed in a statement. For example, the basketball player would be able to say, "I am going right," but then the relationship of subject and predicate would be revealed to be false when he went left. All of the parts of a false statement are true - they all exist, even if only in the mind of the speaker. But falsehood exists in the relationship between those parts. Truth and falsehood, in other words, are relations. They are relations contemplated in grammar. So as I improve my grammar over the coming months, all of my studies will take place in the light of these principles. To make them practical, I'll repeat the first practical fact of grammar: it revolves around subjects and predicates and their relations. If I remember, I'll try to add a witty/witless sentence each time, like this one from The Holt Handbook, 3rd Edition:
Venus de Milo is a statue created by a famous artist with no arms.
Andrew  Kern

Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern is the founder and president of The CiRCE Institute and the co-author of the book, Classical Education: the Movement Sweeping America

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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In the example of the basketball players actions (faking one direction and going the other) being one of falsehood and purposed deception would you consider the player to be morally wrong in such a falsehood? If it is wrong, how does a Christian continue to play basketball as this deceptive tactic is required to play the game? If it is not wrong, is it still a falsehood?

It's a falsehood that isn't wrong because everybody has already agreed that that is the way to play the game.

I don't think we can equate evil with falsehood or completely contain falsehood in the category of evil.

oops. basketball player's not players. Forgot my apostrophe. I must learn to more carefully edit.