WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 8: “HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY”…

Paul Mcsomething or other has taken our challenge and has sent in the following rewrite of the famous Beatles’ tune titled ‘8 Days a Week’. Let’s have a REALLY BIG SHOUT-OUT to Paul (who claims he’s a knight and the co-author of “8 Days..”). Yeah! Yeah! Yeah, right! What some folks won’t do to get on this site…Go ahead Sir Paul, let’s hear what you’ve got! Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Paul Mcsomething or other with his new hit…

8 PARTS OF SPEECH

It’s time to parse a sentence,

Maybe even two,

Hope you’ll do it right now,

Just like frog’s shown you.

Go, oh, oh…

B. S., oh yes,

B. P., I see

Ain’t got nothin’ but words yeah

8 Part of Speech…

Nice one Paul (Sir Paul if we really believed you). That should get all the folks in Grammarville (a suburb of Grammarland) stoked. If you’d like to stick around, we’ll do a quickie review of the 8 Parts of Speech. Bring on our acronym!

PAPA VINC

P is for pronouns. To avoid the overuse of nouns, we replace them with pronouns. ‘He’ or ‘him’ could be used in place of ‘Sir Paul’, ‘they’ or them’ could replace ‘Beatles’ (but nobody could ever replace the Fab 4), ‘it’ could be a sub for ‘bloggingfrog’, and on and on. We’ve really only scratched the surface in our study of pronouns. As Randy Bachman (I don’t believe he’s been knighted) put it, “B-b-baby you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” (we’ll excuse his egregious grammar this time).

A is for adjectives. They describe or modify nouns. Good writers always keep a Thesaurus handy so they can choose the most effective adjectives. Why say ‘beautiful’ when you can substitute it for ‘pulchritudinous’? Just ask Steven Tyler. His new book titled ‘Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?’ is filled with a lecherous litany of profundity (you figure it out!).

P is for prepositions. Like Ed Sullivan, prepositions like to introduce acts…in their case, they introduce or start groups of words called phrases. ‘To’, ‘Of’ and ‘In’ are tops in their field…actually they’re among the Top 10 most used words in English. Prepositional phrases (adjective & adverb) do not contain a verb (as you will soon learn, groups of words which modify AND contain a verb are called subordinate clauses).

A is for adverbs. These darlings perform one of three important duties. #1: They modify verbs (indicate ‘how’, ‘where’, ‘when’ or ‘why’ something happened, happens or will happen and they usually end in ‘ly’). #2 They modify themselves (example: Sir Paul plays very beautifully. ‘beautifully’ is an adverb, telling us ‘how’ Sir Paul plays. ‘very‘ indicates a new level of just ‘how’ beautifully he plays) #3 Finally, adverbs can describe adjectives (example: Sir Paul is extremely talented. ‘talented’ is an adjective used as the subjective completion and ‘extremely’ indicates just ‘how’ talented he is).

V for verbs. Very important words! They indicate the time (tense), the action or they simply connect or link the bare subject with a subjective completion. V = versatile! Go verbs!

I are Interjections (a little grammar humour). Wow! Yikes! Bah! Phooey! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! (Thanks Paulie)…Spice up your life with these emotional blasters! Hockinsmock! (Was that you Mr. Bachman? You’ll never get a knighthood speaking that way.)

N is for nouns. You need a name for something or somebody? You’ve got yourself a noun! They identify people, places and things. Sir Paul, from Liverpool, is a Beatle (No, not a car!.)

C for conjunctions. Coordinate, Subordinate and Correlative if you must know. Simply put, they join words, phrases or clauses. Sir Paul has requested a demonstration for each type and since he did write that lovely song for us, I think it’s only fair.

Example 1: Sir Paul and Randy are terrific musicians. (coordinate conjunction). In this case, there are two bare subjects (Sir Paul & Randy). ‘and’ coordinates or brings the two together.

Example 2: Sir Paul must leave after he finishes this sentence. (subordinate conjunction) Here is your first (but not last) look at a subordinate clause…’after he finishes this sentence’. It’s almost like a complete sentence; it does have its own bare subject (‘he’) and bare predicate ‘finishes’. It cannot, however, stand by itself as a complete thought but try telling that to a Grade 2 student!

Example 3: Neither Paul nor Randy has failed to make it big in the industry. (correlative conjunction)…pairs that go together…other famous correlative conjunctions include either/or, both/and, not only/but also) *****Wow! A 5 star point of information. ‘neither/nor’ and ‘either/or’ can fool a lot of people into choosing the wrong verb (Quit playing with that guitar Paul and pay attention!). Here’s what we mean:

Neither Lily nor Bloggingfrog (is or are?) going to Randy’s concert. Notice that our correlative conjunction (‘neither/nor’) keeps the two singular bare subjects (Lily & Bfrog) apart. Since we are implying that neither is going, then we have but one choice and the correct one is ‘is’ (sorry about the repetition). By the way, the same thing goes when using ‘either/or’. Keep the verb singular UNLESS…one of the bare subjects is plural in which case you use the plural form of the verb. A few examples will help to clarify this important 5 star point…

Either he or she has the information. (‘he’/’she’ are both singular so choose ‘has’ not ‘have’ as your verb.)

Either Tom or his friends have the information. (‘Tom’ is singular; however, ‘friends’ is plural, so we choose the plural form of the verb ‘have’.)

Neither the police officers nor the convict were present. (‘officers’ is plural, ‘convict is singular’ so we say or write ‘were’ – not ‘was’). I repeat: if ‘neither/nor’ or ‘either/or’ connects two bare subjects, one of which is plural, USE THE PLURAL FORM OF THE VERB…

…and before we say ‘ta-ta’ (British for “Get me the heck out of here, old chap!”) remember this last bit of advice:

ALWAYS USE ‘NEITHER’ with ‘NOR and ‘EITHER’ with ‘OR’…It’s like the song of old:

“Love and marriage, love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage,

This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other…”

For the record, neither Sir Paul nor Randy is the author of this song. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote this classic in 1955. Now that was truly a Fab number! Frank Sinatra made it famous.

Enough for today…hope all the people who visit this site are learning as they go. We wouldn’t have it any other way…most of all, we wish that Mankind would learn to share the bounties of our planet…why can’t we all just sit down and enjoy a meal together (and of course discuss the merits of good grammar)…now, back to our ‘pad’…

Bloggingfrog & Lily

p.s. Goodnight knight!

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 6: GETTING PERSONAL WITH PRONOUNS…

Let’s make this part short and sweet (under 1000 words, we promise!).

We’ll assume you remember that Pronouns replace Nouns. 

1. Personal Pronouns replace the names of people and things. The complete list of personal pronouns is as follows:

                     I, ME, HE, HIM, SHE, HER, WE, US, THEY, THEM, YOU and IT.

2. Like mail, we must be able to sort them into one of three categories; namely number (singular vs. plural), person (first, second or third) and case (subjective or objective).

3. NUMBER: From the above list we can conclude that the following refer to singular people or things: I, ME, HE, HIM, SHE, HER, YOU & IT. Plural forms include WE, US, THEY, THEM & YOU. (Notice ‘YOU’ can refer to singular or plural)

4. PERSON: Think of a someone (person one or first person) entering a room alone. If this first person starts talking to him or herself, which words from the above list are available to him or her? I or ME is correct. Now suppose a second person enters. What is the only word that the first person can say to the second person (keep all nasty thoughts to yourself and choose from the above list)? YOU it is! Finally, if the two people start talking about some guy in the next room, what are the choices? HE or HIM…bingo! And, if it happens to be a girl? SHE or HER...now, we’re getting it! What if it’s a group of people? THEY or THEM…you bet! Suppose it’s a dog, or an alien or a any old thing? IT…yup! If we  listen in to the group of people talking among themselves in the third room, what words would they be using? WE or US...again correct. Finally, if we take a peek inside and talk to the group, which personal pronoun would suit the occasion. YOU…(as mentioned, the pronoun YOU can refer to a single person or group)

5. CASE: Personal pronouns can be used in one of two situations or cases (no, it’s not regular and diet) – we are talking about subject (subjective case) or object (objective case).

Let’s recap! The following chart (trust us, it’s meant to look like one) should help:

NUMBER          PERSON             SUBJECTIVE   OBJECTIVE CASE

SINGULAR           FIRST                            I                          ME

”                          SECOND                       YOU                   YOU

”                          THIRD                            HE                      HIM

”                             ”                                 SHE                    HER

”                         NEUTRAL                       IT                        IT

PLURAL             FIRST                             WE                     US

”                         SECOND                       YOU                    YOU

”                         THIRD                            THEY                   THEM

Let us try to simplify matters for you by giving you a few examples where the correct form of the pronoun is used. We’ll explain why after each. Since you know (or should know) what a bare subject is and that the last word of a prepositional phrase (adjective or adverb) is the object of the preposition, then we’re at least headed in the right direction.

We realize some of this is going to sound completely weird or even foreign to you. We understand. Some of you have been raised on colloquial (informal) English and have seldom heard things spoken or written as they were intended. Relax, take a deep breath, and get a load of the King’s English…

A. She is related to him.  (‘She’ is the bare subject so we use the subjective case; ‘him’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’ so we use the objective case).

B. Split the candy between him and her. (‘him’ and ‘her’ are both used as objects of the preposition ‘between’).

C. She is younger than he. (after a comparison using ‘than‘ or ‘as‘, always use the subjective form. Why? Well, if you were to put the word ‘is’ after ‘he’ it becomes apparent. You wouldn’t say, ‘She is younger than him is.” We’ll talk more about this later.

D. Are you as old as I? (just checking to see if you were paying attention)…again, there’s a comparison so you must choose the subjective form of the pronoun…you would not have said, “Are you as old as me is?”

E. It was they who sent the parcel to them. (‘they’, the subjective form, is correct because it follows the non-action verb or bare predicate ‘was’ and is considered to be a subjective completion. More on subjective completions later…’them’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’.

YOU DON’T MEAN TO SAY…

Me and her went out on a date. Why? (‘me’ and ‘her’ are the bare subjects of the sentence and so we must select from the subjective case…so you would say it this way: She and I went out on a date. (ladies first!)

Him and my dad went to the hockey game. (Yuk! ‘him’ is part of the bare subject, along with ‘dad’, so you must pick from the subjective case. Try it like this: He and my dad went…) Much better!

That’s enough for today…take some time to go over past blogs as many times as you need.   Effort and success go hand in hand. Them are really important. (oops!…We meant ‘they’…honest!)

A few people have asked about when to use ‘who’ or ‘whom’…Before we get there, we’ll need to learn a bit more about the mechanics of our language. Be patient…all in good time,

Cheers,

Bloggingfrog & Lily