Teaching Passives with QWERTY

Here's another pair of paragraphs that can be used to illustrate a particular structure of English grammar: the passive voice. The level is a little advanced, but textbooks do tend to put off passives for a while, so that might be fine. As with my post on Bigfoot, I've marked the subject and verb of each sentence, but this time I've also enclosed embedded clauses in curly braces so that they can be marked as well.

The first paragraph below uses no passive constructions, and the second keeps approximately the same content but introduces several passives. Just by perusing the sentential subjects of these paragraphs (appearing in bold), it's easy to see that the passive voice can be used to shift attention from one part of the sentence to another.

Q-W-E-R-T-Y... Why does nearly every keyboard use this particular arrangement of keys? People could certainly memorize an alphabetical layout more easily. You might imagine {that skilled engineers designed the QWERTY layout to help people type faster}, but it's actually quite inefficient. In addition to common letters like A and S, the home row also includes some very infrequent letters such as J and K. This row even includes the semicolon, {which people hardly ever use}! QWERTY's creator actually based the keyboard we know today on an alphabetical layout but then made several adjustments to slow down typists {so that their machines wouldn't jam}. Today, this wouldn't be a problem, but we still keep teaching and using this silly QWERTY arrangement anyway.
Q-W-E-R-T-Y... Why is this particular arrangement of keys used by nearly every keyboard? An alphabetical layout could certainly be memorized more easily. You might imagine {that the QWERTY layout was designed to help people type faster}, but it's actually quite inefficient. In addition to common letters like A and S, some very infrequent letters such as J and K are also included in the home row. Even the semicolon is included, and it's hardly ever used! The QWERTY keyboard we know today was actually based on an alphabetical layout, but then several adjustments were made to slow down typists {so that their machines wouldn't jam}. Today, this wouldn't be a problem, but this silly QWERTY arrangement keeps being taught and used anyway.
  1. "does nearly every keyboard use" /
    "is this particular arrangement of keys used"
  2. "People could certainly memorize" /
    "An alphabetical layout could certainly be memorized"
  3. "skilled engineers designed" /
    "the QWERTY layout was designed"
  4. "the home row also includes" /
    "some very infrequent letters such as J and K are also included"
  5. "people hardly ever use" /
    "it's hardly ever used"
  6. "QWERTY's creator actually based" /
    "The QWERTY keyboard we know today was actually based"
  7. "QWERTY's creator ... then made" /
    "several adjustments were made"
  8. "we still keep teaching and using" /
    "this silly QWERTY arrangement keeps being taught and used"

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1 Comments:

At November 4, 2009 9:06 AM , Blogger Kraxpelax said...
SONNET XXXIX FOR KATIE

I went downtown, saw Katie in the nude
on Common Avenue, detracted soltitude
as it were, like a dream-state rosely hued,
like no one else could see her; DAMN! I phewed;

was reciprokelly then, thank heaven, viewed,
bestowed unique hard-on! but NOT eschewed,
contrair-ee-lee, she took a somewhat rude
'n readidy attude of Sex Prelude; it BREWED!

And for a start, i hiccuped "Hi!", imbued
with Moooood! She toodledooed: "How queued
your awe-full specie-ally-tee, Sir Lewd,
to prove (alas!), to have me finely screwed,

and hopef'lly afterwards beloved, wooed,
alive, huh? Don't you even DO it, Duu-uuude!"

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tu escudriñas nuevamente.

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