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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Subordinate Conjunctions and Clause Types (Grammar #8)

Hey guys, for this grammar post I thought it would be fun to cover something brand new today. While the last couple of posts have been related to other classes, I thought we’d settle down and learn another bit of English grammar. Today I thought it would be fun to learn about subordinate conjunctions.

Now, that may seem like a big fancy term, but subordinate conjunctions are really quite simple. They act as transition between ideas in a sentence. For example, you wouldn’t say I will walk the dog my mother gets home. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A subordinate conjunction acts as a bridge between those two thoughts. I will walk the dog when my mother gets home. That’s really the main purpose, but a second purpose is to establish which of the two ideas is more important. The more important idea is called the Main Clause, and the less important idea is called the Subordinate Clause. Before we go briefly introduce those two things, here’s a short list of some subordinate conjunctions:

After, Although, As
Once, Until, When
If, Than, That

A main clause must have a subject and a verb, and express a complete thought. An example of a main clause is I realized that I left my wallet at home. In that sentence, the main clause is I realized. The ‘that I left my wallet at home’ part is actually a subordinate clause because it starts with a subordinate conjunction, “that”. Essentially, every single sentence must have a main clause, or else it won’t be a complete thought but rather a fragment.

If you put a subordinate conjunction in front of a main clause, or start a sentence with one, then you have a subordinate clause. Here’s an example: When I realized that I left my wallet home… This is not a complete thought, and is a fragment. That is why subordinate clauses are also called dependent clauses, because they depend on the main clause to complete the sentence in order to express a full statement.

When you have a subordinate clause in front of the main clause, you add a comma to separate those two ideas. Here’s an example: Once finished with the test , Jerry walked out of the classroom. If you don’t add a comma, then it gets confusing for the reader to understand everything that is happening in the sentence. However, if you have a subordinate clause following the main clause, you don’t need to add a comma, and doing so would be redundant. Here’s an example of that: Jerry walked out of the classroom once finished with the test. No comma is needed as the sentence already flows well.

Anyway, I thought that I would delve into the topic of clauses, and get started on the subordinate and main clauses. Once you get the basics of how to use both clauses, it is really easy to understand where they are in a sentence and what function they play in the sentence. That’s it for this grammar post, and stay tuned for the next one!

  • Jack Goodenough

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Vocab. from chapter 1 in Silas Marner (Vocab. #8)

Hey guys, we’re at it again with another round of blog posts. Now, I haven’t done one since spring break, so it has been a while since a post, but we’ll jump back in with 5 new ones. So I decided to start off with a vocab post (as I also do) and go from there. Right now in English, we are reading Silas Marner, and it is an extremely good book. Now, there are quite a lot of challenging words in it, so I decided to look them up and define them in a list. Since there are so many new words, I thought it would be best to go through chapter by chapter. So here are the challenging or new words from chapter one of Silas Marner:

  1. Pallid: Pale, white, typically because of poor health (Adj)
  2. Dexterity: Skill in performing tasks (mainly with hands) (Noun)
  3. Chary: Cautiously or suspiciously reluctant to do something (Adj)
  4. Protuberant: Protruding, bulging (Adj)
  5. Benignity: Kindness or tolerance towards others (Noun)
  6. Victual: Food/Provisions (Noun)
  7. Phantasm: A figment of the imagination (Noun)
  8. Tithes: One tenth of annual produce or earnings (tax) (Noun)
  9. Rectory: A rector’s house (Noun)
  10. Averred: To state, or assert to be the case (Verb)
  11. Stile: A vertical piece in the frame of a paneled door/window (Noun)
  12. Repugnance: Intense disgust (Noun)
  13. Sect: A group of people with similar but different beliefs from a larger group (Noun)
  14. Ardent: Enthusiastic or passionate (Adj)
  15. Fervour: Intense and passionate feeling
  16. Efficacy: The ability to produce the desired or intended result (Noun)
  17. Piety: The quality of being religious or reverent (Noun)
  18. Colloquies: A conversation (noun, plural)
  19. Cataleptic: A physical condition usually associated with catatonic schizophrenia (Noun)
  20. Exhorted: Strongly encourage or urge someone to do something (Verb)
  21. Admonition: An act of action of authoritative counsel or warning (Noun)
  22. Deacon: An ordained minister below a priest (Noun)
  23. Vestry: A room or building attached to a church (Noun)
  24. Impetuously: Of, relating to, or characterized by sudden or rash action, emotion (Adj)
  25. Blasphemy: The act of offense of speaking sacrilegiously (Noun)
  26. Culpable: Deserving blame (Adj)

Notice how most of the words have to deal with religion, because in chapter one in Silas Marner, Silas gets exiled from a very religious community. Anyway, I hope that by looking at all these words that some will stick with you and you’ll remember them in the future. That is always a fun part for me. I will make a list like this, and then later on I will see one of the words from this list, and I’ll have a short flashback to when I defined it here. I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but I always start seeing words that I have defined as vocab. more often after I define them. Anyway, I think it’s a neat thing, and I’ll leave you guys with that as this concludes our 8th vocab. post. Stay tuned for the next one!

  • Jack Goodenough   

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Another Personal Essay (Anything #7)

         Hey guys, I decided to share with you another one of my personal essays, just so you can read another one, and because I just finished one. Anyway, I know this is 2 essays back to back, but I promise that next week will bring something totally new. Anyway, enjoy, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Jack Goodenough
Mrs. Berkeley
English (C)

My Experiences with Hair, and Why I Like the Buzz Cut

If you could only wear one hair style for the rest of your life, what would you decide on? Would this be a simple choice, or a very difficult one? Most people would find this choice to be very hard, because you can never really settle on just one hair cut. What you used to like when you were six might be something that you hate when you’re 56. There isn't a way to look into the future and tell what type of haircut you’d like, and because of that it makes this choice very hard. But why is it hard? What's so complicated about hair that makes people indecisive when choosing a permanent style?

            That's what I don't get. To me, hair is nothing more than something that grows on my head. Who you are as a person does not depend on what your hairstyle is, and because of that I don’t pay much attention to it. So picking one permanent hair cut is an easy thing for me. I also believe that you shouldn’t spend too much time on your hair, and that if you are, then there is something wrong happening.Throughout my early life, I have experimented with different kinds of hairstyles, from being bald, having a Mohawk, and getting a buzz cut. From these hairstyles I have gained lots of experiences, both good and bad, and from these experiences I have come to the conclusion that a buzzcut is just simply the best haircut to have (sorry girls, I have no experience in that department).  

 When I was very young, in first grade, I had this ambitious goal for my hair: I wanted to be completely bald. Now, one might say that I was jumping the gun, and that I’ll be bald eventually, but not right now. I disagreed with that. In my mind, being bald was cool. So one day, I asked my mom if she could make me bald, and (after quadruple checking that there was no going back) she agreed to do so. So I sat down on a stool, and she started giving me a haircut. At first, she gave me a really close buzz cut, and after she finished she asked me if I truly wanted to be bald (she really did try her best to deter me). After I said yes, she then told me to stay really still. She proceeded to apply shaving cream on my head, and carefully shaved my head. The feeling of the cold, foamy shaving cream spooked me, but I decided to tough it out. When she was finally done, and the last piece of what once was my hair fell to the floor, she slowly turned me around to look in the mirror. What I saw truly shocked me: I was completely bald. 

             The first few days of being bald were great. I found out that there were a couple of perks of being bald. At the end of the day of school and during pick-up time, a man all dressed up in his military outfit came over to personally say that he liked my haircut, and picked up his hat to reveal that he was bald as well. I thought that was totally awesome. Also, I found out that I didn't need to wash my hair while taking a bath, which was good too. (When I was young I used to hate washing my hair, or having my mom wash it). But even though there were some good things about being bald, there were some things that I didn't like- to the point where I wished I had hair again. 

          It was near the end of the school year when I was bald, and it was the start of the summer months. One day I made the mistake of staying outside without a hat on, and by the end of the day I had a nasty sunburn on the top of my head. It was my first true sunburn, and it hurt and stung badly. On top of that, whenever I went outside I had to put sunscreen on my head. Once I started sweating, the sunscreen would start sliding down my forehead, stinging my eyes and and running down my nose. It was truly awful. What once was a great idea was now acting more like a burden. So I decided that being bald was just not for me, (at least not yet) and I couldn't wait until my hair grew back to what it was like pre-baldness. But of course my adventures didn't stop at being bald. I would soon have a mohawk. 

I have an Uncle named Jason, who is distantly connected to our family and who is a bit of a daredevil. He would do all sorts of fun things (maybe dangerous) things with us, and we would always look forward to his latest ‘experiments’. Well, one day I was hanging out with Uncle Jason and out of the blue he asked me if I wanted a mohawk. Well, I guess being bald hadn’t tamed my excitement for trying new hairstyles and so I said yes. He then told me to sit really still, and proceeded to give me a mohawk. Now, while all these things were happening, my mother wasn't home. So when I turned around and looked in the mirror at my newly created mohawk, my shock wasn't nearly as great as my mother’s. 

           She wasn't really that mad at me, because I was still very young at the time, and didn't know any better. However, Uncle Jason received the full brute force of my mother’s anger. I didn't really see him much after that. But maybe I was too preoccupied with my new mohawk to really notice him. There were several unintended benefits of my mohawk. One thing was that having a mohawk made my brother very jealous- and I know this sounds mean, but I liked to rub it in his face that he didn't have a mohawk. Also, the mohawk just looked cool. My classmates would come up to me and say “Jack, that mohawk looks really cool”, which was great. But these benefits were short lived, and I soon learned that a mohawk was just not really a good choice. 

             Besides mom being mad at me, the mohawk just wasn't very practical. Earlier, I said that hair was just something that grows on my head, and it is. Well, wearing a mohawk is not quite that simple. Every day, I would have to wet and gel it to make it stand up. Otherwise, my impressive ‘mohawk spike’ would be a not so impressive ‘mohawk flop’. So the amount of time spent maintaining my mohawk soon became unbearable. I’m just not that type of person who spends a lot of time on my hair, and that's the truth. Also, I couldn't wear a hat while I sported my mohawk, which is another bummer. But I think the real downside was the attention it brought me. Earlier I said my classmates were complimenting my mohawk, but that went both ways. People would stare at me in public, which made me totally uncomfortable-to the point where I was afraid of being in public. I didn't like this attention, and because of this I decided that mohawks were just not for me. 

After my bald and mohawk adventures, my excitement for trying new hairstyles quieted down. My mom would just cut my hair on the weekends, and it would be the same: a simple buzzcut. She would ask me what level I wanted (Each level effects the length of the hair. 1 is the shortest possible, and 4 is the longest.) and I would always choose a 4. In fact, I still do the 
same thing today: a ‘4’ buzzcut. So this brings up a rather important question: why? Why have I stayed with the same haircut for countless years? All of my siblings have changed their hairstyles countless times in the same period when I haven't changed at all. Well, part of the answer lies within the benefits of the buzzcut. 

           Unlike being bald or having a mohawk, a buzz cut is quite versatile. It pairs well with any occasion, and there isn't a time when the buzzcut stands out and looks weird. Also, the buzzcut doesn't require any maintenance at all. While I had the mohawk, I would have to tediously wet and gel it everyday. With a buzzcut, I don't have to do anything at all, except wake up and walk out the door. And so overtime, I just stuck with a buzzcut because I didn't need to do anything to it. In a way, the buzzcut doesn't help me, but it doesn't harm me either, whereas being bald and wearing a mohawk did hurt me. I got sunburned from being bald, stared at with a mohawk, but I have no negative experiences when it comes to the buzzcut. This is why I think buzz cuts are the best hairstyle for me, and that’s why I haven't changed my hairstyle in a long time.

          I’m not trying to say that the buzzcut is the best hairstyle for everybody, I’m just saying that the buzzcut bests suits me. Each person is not the same, and so their own experiences with hair will shape what hair cuts they do and don't like. For me, being bald and having a mohawk didn't work out, and that's why I settled on the buzzcut. Naturally, this differs from person to person. It's up to you to decide what you do and don't like. Let your past experiences help guide your future choices, just like I did with the buzzcut. 

Getting My Braces Off (Freewrite #7)

"Yesterday I finally got my braces off! I can't even remember the time when I didn't have braces- it's been that long. I was scheduled to get them off during Christmas break, but because of a broken bracket/wire it got delayed, and then delayed some more until I finally got them off in the middle of March. The feeling of moving your tongue across your teeth without feeling metal feels great. It's such a relief to have them off, it truly is. I don't know what/how this will affect my musical ability to play an instrument, but hopefully this is for the better. Anyway, this has been the Freewrite. Stay tuned for the next post!"

   - Jack Goodenough 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Discussion on Smoking (Response #7)

         For this response post, I thought I’d delve further into the topic of smoking and whose fault it is. I think that it is a complex topic and one with more questions than answers, but let's give it a try and see how it goes.

         First off, I was in the car with my mother again, and I asked her about this, and she had a couple of ideas and thoughts. Basically, the gist of one of her ideas was that since there are so many ways to help quit smoking, like nicotine patches and e-cigarettes, and so many groups willing to offer support- that it is the fault of the person who still continues to smoke. This is a valid point. If people want to smoke, then by all means let them smoke, but it is their fault if they contract some diseases later on.

        On the other hand, I asked her what about the people who did not mean to ever start smoking but now can't quit. This is another valid point. For some people, circumstances were beyond their control and they started smoking. Again, her stance was similar to her first response, that there's so many ways to help quit smoking that it is possible to quit, or at least put some effort into quitting. But she also sympathized with them. People do many different things when they’re nervous, or bored, such as cracking your knuckles, rubbing your head, and even smoking. To many people, smoking is a stress reliever, or something to pass the time. So it might not be entirely their fault because it’s just one of their bad habits.

Slightly switching topics, we began to talk about the effects of smoking. My mother, who is a contractor, told me a story about one of her masons. The mason was a heavy chain smoker, and one time he hurt his back badly. He ended up needing back surgery, and the surgery was successful. However, his doctor told him that the recovery time would be delayed by as much as 50% because he was a smoker. Smoking is just so bad for your body, she pointed out. All the tar gets into your lung systems and begins to coat your lungs. Many lung problems arise, such as Asthma, Lung Cancer, shortness of breath. People do know that they can get these diseases, but they still continue to smoke.

Part of human nature is the ability to reassure yourself that you're going to be fine. My mom said that a lot of teenagers think that they're immune, and that smoking won't harm them. In reality though, smoking while that young will set you up for a life dependent on nicotine, in the form of cigarettes. Teenagers don't understand that they will become addicted, and that the problem won't stop, but will intensify. I think that a big step in solving the smoking problem is to convey to teenagers that they aren't immune, and that they will be harmed by smoking. If they can understand that smoking will drastically effect your life in a negative way, then they might not be even tempted to start it.

Again, this topic is really complex, and I’ve only scratched the surface, but I hope this intrigued you and made you curious to learn more about the effects of smoking, and whose fault it is. Anyway, I’ll see you guys in the next post.

-Jack Goodenough

A Past Participle Lesson (Grammar #7)

         Hey guys, for this grammar post we’ll be covering past participle phrases, in order to get a better understanding of them, and how to identify them in a sentence.

          So, a past participle is a past tense verb functioning as an adjective. Well, that may sound confusing, but let's break it down. First, we have a past tense verb. In order to get that, let's think of a present tense verb. To brake. I brake. Now we change it to the past tense. I broke something. Something is broken. It is in a broken state. That last sentence had a past participle. The word broken describes what state it is in, so it functions as an adjective. So past participles are quite simple. It's just a past tense verb functioning as an adjective.

        One good trick when learning past participles is to think of food. Lots of food terms are actually past participles. Think of iced tea. What type of tea is it? It is iced tea. Some more examples are sautéed spinach, glazed donuts, baked potatoes, etc.. So if you're ever stuck, think of food to help you remember what a past participle is. Here are some example sentences:

  1. This is a closed shop on Sundays.
  2. The legalized community was very protected.
  3. The trodden path was very old.
  4. Horses’ clipped shoes make a distinct sound when prancing.
  5. The disused garbage truck lay in a state of disrepair.

   Hopefully by looking at the example sentences and by reading the lesson you now have a better understanding of past participles and past participle phrases. Anyway, I’ll see you guys in the next post!

  • Jack Goodenough

Monday, March 7, 2016

Some Science Terms (Vocab. #7)

       Alrighty, time for another vocab. post! Now last time I incorporated other classes vocab. words into the post and it turned out to be a great idea. Not only are we fulfilling our English blog, but now we’re boosting our leaning in other classes as well. If you remember last time, I did some music theory vocab., which wasn't very useful except for Steedman and I. Now this time I decided to broaden the audience and do a post on science vocabulary terms. In science, we are learning about atomic structure and the atom, and there are a whole slew of terms that are all similar to each other and can be confusing if you don't know them well. We are also learning about ground water, so there might be a couple terms for that as well. So let's get right into it!

Element: A chemical substance that is only made up of atoms with the same number of protons
Atom: The smallest unit of an element that still retains the properties of the element
Atomic Number: The  number of protons of an element (The signature of the element)
Mass Number: The number of neutrons plus the number of protons. It is the mass of a particular isotope, and it is the weight of the nucleus
Atomic Mass: (aka Atomic Weight) The weighted average of all the isotope masses for an element
Isotope: Variation of an element because it has a different number of neutrons, and therefore a slightly different mass
Ions: Atoms with charge (The protons don't equal the electrons)
Cation (Pronounced cat ion): An atom with a positive charge
Anion (Pronounced an ion): An atom with a negative charge
Valence Electrons: The number of electrons in the outermost shell
Groundwater: Water under the surface of the Earth
Aquifer: Groundwater in enough volume that humans can use it
Unsaturated Zone: The area where the pore space is filled with air and water
Saturated Zone: The area where the pore space is filled with just water
Water Table: The top of the saturated zone
Recharge: When water is added to the groundwater system (Makes water table rise)
Discharge: When water is removed from the groundwater system (Makes water table fall)

        That was a lot of terms! I think there were 17 in all. Similarly to the last post, let's incorporate some English into this post by writing sentences using these words in an infinitive phrase. An infinitive phrase is the word “to” plus a verb. A couple examples of infinitive phrases are ‘to swim’, ‘to cook’, ‘to walk’ etc.. After that mini grammar lesson, let's get on with the sentences.

  1. Scientists have to identify certain elements in chemical reactions.
  2. The concept of the atom was first invented by the Greeks, who were trying to cut objects down into the smallest possible size.
  3. Without scientific equipment, it is impossible to find the atomic number of an atom unless you memorize it.
  4. To measure the mass number, you add up an atom’s protons and neutrons.
  5. In order to calculate the atomic mass, you must know how common each isotope is of that atom.
  6. If scientists were to change the number of neutrons in an atom, they would be creating an isotope.
  7. It is relatively straightforward to find an ion’s charge- each proton and electron cancel out until you are left with just protons or electrons.
  8. Cation’s are always trying to be positive. (Sorry) :)
  9. Anions don't like to be associated with cations.
  10. Trying to draw a Bohr model is hard, but trying to find the valence electrons are easy.
  11. People build wells to draw from the groundwater reserves.
  12. Aquifers need to hold enough water in order to be used for practical uses.
  13. To get to the saturated zone, you must first go through the unsaturated zone.
  14. Scientists must analyze well’s water tables, in order to prepare for events such as droughts or floods.
  15. Precipitation helps to fill the water table; this is also known as recharge.
  16. Drilling wells is a way to drain the water table; this is also known is discharge.

Alrighty. Hopefully you guys have a better understanding of infinitive phrases now, and you also got to learn some science vocab. As always, stay tuned for the next post!

  • Jack Goodenough