Cheat Sheets in Class?

Mary L B Pendergraft pender at
Tue Jan 12 09:42:54 EST 1999

At 09:07 AM 1/12/99 EST, AgapeLove9 at wrote concerning
categorizations of case usage
......I can probably do okay with lots of
>categories and category organizations if I had a "cheat sheet" (xerox of the
>categories) in front of me while translating. Will this slow my progress or
>help it? My first impression is that it would slow my progress since I am not
>forcing myself to think about what the text itself is doing.
>Do the benefits outweight the negatives with cheat sheets? Are students of
>Greek allowed to use cheat sheets in the classroom?
>Mark Johnson

My answer will be different for different situations:  When you are working
slowly and carefully through a specific text, it may be helpful to have at
hand a quick reference list (a much better name than "cheat sheet"!).  But
I would not encourage my students to use such a tool when reading a
prepared passage in class; I don't want them to read from their translation
or their notes, either.  The goal of preparing at home is to be able to
read from the Greek (with very few peeks at vocabulary lists or other
reference tools).  

And I think you shouldn't worry too much about the length of lists of uses
of the accusative, for example.  If you stop and think, most accusatives
you meet will be direct objects of transitive verbs or objects of
prepositions.  It's only when those categories don't work that you need to
consider more widely. And even then your good sense will help you out:
Duration of time or extent of space, for example, will have no preposition,
but the meaning of the nouns (10 stadia; 10 years) will point you in the
right direction.

In summary, be confident!  After all, the goal of all these names is to
help you understand what you read--and if you can read with understanding,
it doesn't really matter what name you give the grammatical structure.


Mary Pendergraft
Associate Professor of Classical Languages
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem  NC  27109-7343
336-758-5331 (NOTE:  this is a new number)	 pender at

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