Slike strani



"Conspicuous by his absence."

I. Introduction

EVERYBODY has to write letters. Some people have occasion to write nothing else. The first task of the beginner in composition, therefore, should be to learn how to write a good letter. Letters are of two kinds, business and social. Business letters are formal; social letters are informal. We shall begin with some simple business letters, shall vary these with a few social letters, and shall then compose some more difficult business letters.

II. Exercise

Write an excuse for absence from school. Use the form of a business letter. Address it to the proper school official.

III. Model


Washington High School,

Adams, Maine.

October 1, 1914.


My absence September 28, 29, and 30 was due to illness. I therefore ask that I be allowed to reënter my classes.

Yours truly,


[ocr errors]

IV. Practical Application

Absence from school or business is in itself an unmixed evil. Sickness is the only valid excuse for absence. In the eyes of business men even sickness does not constitute a valid excuse. An employee who is often absent does not hold a job long. To teach the value of regularity of attendance is therefore one of the first duties of a school. One of the objects of this chapter is to extract from the evil of absence a grain of good by making it the occasion for a useful exercise in letterwriting.1

V. Notes and Queries

1. Observe that the heading tells where and when the letter is written. Usually the where is printed on business letter heads.

2. Observe that in Line 3 there is a comma after "October 1" and a period after "1914." The comma indicates that the word "in" is omitted. Commas are often used thus to indicate that words are omitted. Find some examples.

3. Observe that in Lines 4, 5, and 6 we have a copy of the address as it appears on the outside of the envelope.

4. Why are there periods after "Mr.," "1914,"

1 TO TEACHERS. In some schools the pupil who has been absent or tardy, in addition to being required to bring a note from parent or guardian, is required to write a letter such as is here presented, not being readmitted to any class until he produces a document neat, legible, and perfect in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, form, and all of the other essentials of good usage. This letter is countersigned by each of his teachers when the writer presents himself for recitation, and at the close of the day is filed in the school archives. If resolutely adhered to, this plan produces admirable results.

and "Maine"? Commas after "Mulcaster" and "Adams"?

5. Nota bene: "Mr.," "Dear," and "I" begin on the same vertical line.

6. Why is the colon used after "Sir"?

7. Observe that Sentence 1 tells when and why the absence occurred, while Sentence 2 asks that it be excused. The body of an excuse should always contain these three elements.

8. What word joins Sentence 2 to Sentence 1? 9. What is the grammatical construction of "yours"? Of "truly"? Of "Erasmus Darwin"?

10. What are the "Four W's"? Should any of them be omitted from any composition? Answer: The "Four W's" are Who, What, When, and Where. These must stand at the beginning of every composition, oral or written. That is to say, no composition makes a situation clear to a reader unless it explains four things: (1) Who is concerned; (2) What is in question; (3) When it happened; (4) Where it happened. When the situation has been established by means of these four pillars, we are ready for the fifth "W," or Why. But more of this anon.

VI. Method of Presentation

A note for teachers

1. On Monday and Tuesday dictate to the class the form of excuse customarily used in the school. Have one pupil write it on the board. Let pupils exchange papers while the teacher corrects the copy on the board. The outcome of this work must be that each pupil has a perfect copy in his

notebook. This should be accomplished not later

than Wednesday morning.

2. Let the "Notes and Queries" be studied for


3. Friday

Public Speaking, or Oral Composition. 4. Fill in spare time, if there is any, with oral composition based on the work being done by pupils in other classes.

VII. Subjects for Oral Composition

1. Why is absence bad for a pupil?

2. Why is absence bad for a class?

VIII. Memorize

3. Why is absence bad for a school?

4. There are two hundred school days in a year. A school cannot do efficient work unless its attendance record averages 97.5 per cent. If a pupil is absent ten days in four weeks or twenty days, how many times at the same rate will he be absent in a year? How many pupils with perfect records will be required to offset the damage done by this one delinquent?

5. Are there any sufficient excuses for absence except illness? If so, what are they? Why are they sufficient?

THE BUILDERS (continued from Page 7)

In the elder days of Art,

Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part,

For the gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;

Make the house, where gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
(Continued on Page 16.)

« PrejšnjaNaprej »