Archive for the 'parts of speech' Category

GRAMMAR BARRY

October 21 2009 | General and mondegreen and parts of speech and some word! and textual healing | Comments Off

THAT’S THAT

That is frustrating.

  • What is frustrating?

Not what. That.

  • That is what’s frustrating?

Yeah.

Here are some examples of the way that functions in a sentence.

That = demonstrative adjective.  
I’m reading that new Casey Jones mystery.

That = demonstrative pronoun.
We’ll see about that.

 

That = relative pronoun
He found the chips that you hid under the sofa.
I feel sorry for the team that plays against UNC.

That = subordinating conjunction
I think that the boss is inebriated.

*Thanks to Mr. Adams for explaining that.

March 23 2009 | parts of speech | 2 Comments »

ADVERB REVERB

Faithfully. The most powerful adverb in the free world?

Rarely does a part of speech become headline news, but on Jan. 20, 2009, an adverb became a historic footnote in the inauguration of our 44st president, Barack Obama. Here is the wording of the oath of office, as prescribed by the Constitution in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8:

‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’”

First, President Obama stepped on Chief Justice John Roberts’ line. Then the Chief Justice misplaced the adverb in the official oath. Then there was a flub, a pause, a course correction, and …

Here’s the transcript sourced from UPI.

ROBERTS: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?
OBAMA: I am.
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama…
OBAMA: I, Barack…
ROBERTS: … do solemnly swear…
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear…
ROBERTS: … that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully…
OBAMA: … that I will execute…
ROBERTS: … faithfully the office of president of the United States…
OBAMA: … the office of president of the United States faithfully…
ROBERTS: … and will to the best of my ability…
OBAMA: … and will to the best of my ability…
ROBERTS: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: … So help me God.

Many pundits have searched for a reason for the constitutional cha-cha. Was it subconscious? (Sen. Obama voted against Roberts’ confirmation as Chief Justice in 2005.) Maybe. But I much prefer Stephen Pinker’s opinion on “split-infinitive brainwashing” as written here.

January 27 2009 | parts of speech | Comments Off

SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT

photo by Bob Adelman

… You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.
You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.

You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve.
You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve.
You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.
You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love …

— excerpt from a speech delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, February 4, 1968. Listen to more of this powerful speech here.

January 15 2009 | parts of speech | No Comments »