I’ve always loved to read, but I didn’t become a bibliophile until my first year of college. Now, I have a plethora of books filling my numerous bookshelves spilling over onto every horizonal surface of my home. One of these shelves holds my collection of grammar books. Hidden amongst my Winston Grammar, McGuffey readers, and other such gems is A Living Grammar, a little spiral-bound book which sold for 75c back in 1938.
Below is a September 1938 excerpt from a Time magazine article on A Living Grammar:
The authors, Winifred Watson, a St. Paul public-school teacher, and Julius M. Nolte of University of Minnesota, acted on the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson to “smuggle” into grammar teaching “a little contraband wit, fancy, imagination, thought.” Their defense for trying to teach grammar painlessly: modern children not only find grammar study dull but arrive in high school and college knowing wretchedly little about it.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,788821,00.html#ixzz0fj8rBQfc
To ensure my students didn’t incur the same fate as those in 1938, I pulled out my 1941 edition (pictured below) of the aforementioned book for I remembered within it’s pages the following poem:
The Parts of Speech
NOUNS are just the names of things,
As rice, and birds, and snow, and rings.
The ARTICLES are the, a, an;
They point out nouns: the boy, a man.
PRONOUNS take the place of nouns,
As she for woman, they for clowns.
ADJECTIVES describe the nouns,
As quacking ducks, and pretty gowns.
The VERB some action names, like stir;
Or state, like is, or was, or were.
Something is done: the ADVERBS then
Tell where and why and how and when.
A PREPOSITION precedes a noun:
By, at, from, to, or in the town.
And, or, and but join words and clauses,
CONJUNCTIONS – used insead of pauses.
Strong-feeling words are Ouch! and Oh!
They’re INTERJECTIONS: Ah! Bah! Lo!
I had long wanted to teach this poem to my children, but first I needed to see if there were any other “parts of speech poems” out there, perhaps better even; because good is never good enough when it comes to our children’s education!
As I suspected, there were other poems. Below is the result of said search:
The Parts of Speech Poem
Nouns are names of anything,
like pride, or joy, or town, or ring.
Pronouns take the place of nouns,
like he for boy and they for clowns.
Three little words with nouns we see
are the articles A, An, and The.
Adjectives describe a noun.
My hat is blue. My shirt is brown.
Verbs tell the action that nouns do.
He rang the bell. I lost my shoe.
Adverbs tell when, where, and how,
as loudly, soon, here, and now.
Prepositions start a phrase.
In the room before the blaze.
Conjunctions join or separate.
I lost the fish, but saved the bait!
Interjections show excitement or emotion!
Hurray! Wow! What a commotion
The Nine Parts of Speech
Three little words you often see,
Are articles a, an, and the.
A nouns the name of anything
As school, garden, hoop, or swing.
An adjective tells the kind of noun
Great, small, pretty, white, or brown.
Instead of nouns the pronouns stand
Her head, his face, your arm, my hand.
Verbs tell of something to be done,
To read, sing, jump, or run.
How things are done the adverbs tell,
As slowly, quickly, ill, or well.
Conjunctions join words together,
As men and women, wind or weather.
The prepositions stands before
A noun, as at or through the door.
The interjection shows surprise,
As ah! how pretty — Oh! how wise.
The whole are called nine parts of speech,
Which reading, writing, speaking teach.
PARTS OF SPEECH POEM
Every name is called a NOUN,
As field and fountain, street and town;
In place of noun the PRONOUN stands
As he and she can clap their hands;
The ADJECTIVE describes a thing,
As magic wand and bridal ring;
The VERB means action, something done-
To read, to write, to jump, to run;
How things are done, the ADVERBS tell,
As quickly, slowly, badly, well;
The PREPOSITION shows relation,
As in the street, or at the station;
CONJUNCTIONS join, in many ways,
Sentences, words, or phrase and phrase;
The INTERJECTION cries out, “Hark!
I need an exclamation mark!”
Through poetry, we learn how each
of these make up THE PARTS OF SPEECH.
Although my search for perfection did not come to fruition, my curiosity was satiated.
Which poem do you fancy?