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"Part memoir, part literary gossip, but mostly a guide to the lost art of sentence diagramming, the book, penned by copy editor Kitty Burns Florey, hilariously examines the history of grammar....The book, in other words, does everything [Lynne] Truss's [EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES] does, and then some." -- Sara Nelson, editor, Publishers Weekly Chicago Tribune Editor's Pick! "Diagramming sentences may have gone the way of the slide ruler, but this charming little book makes deconstruction of language fun. In this illustrated personal history, the author, a long-time copy editor, explores the birth and death of language mapping. In this handsome book, subjects, predicates, articles, gerunds and participles dance across the page, bringing delight to those who venture into the party." -- Elizabeth Taylor, literary editor, Chicago Tribune "Kitty Burns Florey seems to write from a great wellspring of inner calm that derives from a gleeful appreciation of life's smallest details."-Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls Once wildly popular and used by grammar teachers across America, sentence diagramming is now a lost art to most people. But from the moment she encountered it in the sixth-grade classroom of Sister Bernadette, Kitty Burns Florey was fascinated by the bizarre method of mapping the words in a sentence. Now a novelist and veteran copyeditor, Florey studies the practice in a charming and funny look back at its odd history, its elegant method, and its rich, ongoing possibilities. From a discussion of its birth at the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, to a consideration of how it works, to a revealing look at some of literature's most famous sentences in diagram, it is a charming and often inspiring tale. Along the way, Florey explores the importance of good grammar and answers language lovers' most pressing questions: Was Mark Twain or James Fenimore Cooper a better grammarian? Can knowing how to diagram a sentence make your life better? And what's Gertrude Stein got to do with any of it?