English Rules!

I had a brilliant Christmas Day with my family! I spent the day at my ex-wife’s with our children and stuffed myself silly with ham and turkey. Yes, I do have a happy divorce from my ex-wife which is why we are like brother and sister today 😉

One of my son’s presents was “i before e (except after c)” by Judy Parkinson and is a throw back to “old-school ways to remember stuff” – I just loved reading it, not least for the nostalgia and also to give me something to post about and “Yes, yes, yes!” – I’m scraping the barrel but give me a break, it is Christmas!

One of the verses used to educate the little darlings of 1855 was written by David Tower and Benjamin Tweed and it goes like this:

“Three little words you often see
Are articles: a,an and the.

A noun’s the name of anything,
As: school or garden, toy or swing.

Adjectives tell the kind of noun,
As: great,small, pretty, white or brown.

Verbs tell of something being done,
To read, write, count, sing, jump or run.

How things are done, the adverbs tell,
As: slowly, quickly, badly, well.

Conjunctions join the words together,
As: men and women, wind or weather.

The preposition stands before
A noun as: in or through a door.

The interjection shows surprise
As: Oh, how pretty! or Ah! How wise!

The whole are called the parts of speech,
Which reading, writing, speaking teach.”

The book then went on to deal with punctuation in poetic fashion; Cecil Hartley wrote “Principles of Punctuation” in 1818:

“The stops point out, with truth, the time of pause
A sentence doth require at ev’ry clause.
At ev’ry comma, stop while one you count;
At semicolon, two is the amount;
A colon doth require the time of three;
The period four, as learned men agree.”

Now I think learning English was made a lot more fun in the olden days than it certainly was for me, but then again back in 1818 I’d probably be a chimney sweep covered in soot, a powder monkey getting blown up in a battleship or dying of malnutrition in a cotton mill at the age of 6.

Halcyon Days!