cover of book

Toward a Grammar of Passages
by Richard M. Coe
Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Paper: 978-0-8093-1420-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-9077-9
Library of Congress Classification PE1404.C57 1988
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.04207


Richard M. Coe has developed such a “grammar,” one which uses a simple graphic instrument to analyze the meaningful relationships between sentences in a passage and to clarify the function of structure in discourse. Working in the tradition of Christensen’s generative rhetoric, Coe presents a two-dimensional graphic matrix that effectively analyzes the logical relations between statements by mapping coordinate, subordinate, and superordinate relationships.

Coe demonstrates the power of his discourse matrix by applying it to a variety of significant problems, such as how to demonstrate discourse differences between cultures (especially between Chinese and English), how to explain precisely what is “bad” about the structure of passages that do not work, and how best to teach structure. This new view of the structure of passages helps to articulate crucial questions about the relations between form and function, language, thought and culture, cognitive and social processes.

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