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The Parts of Speech

by David P. Tower and Benjamin F. Tweed

as reported by Barbara Wallraff author of the book Word Court and senior editor and words columnist for the Atlantic Monthly.

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."
AVKO Note:  Abstract nouns are things we can talk about but never see such as justice, nationality, intelligence.
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."
AVKO Note:  Or just to "be" as in: am, are,  is, was, were, be, or will be"
How things are done the adverbs tell,
As: "slowly," "quickly," "badly," "well."
 

When I learned this rhyme as a child, we used the word "king" instead of "swing" as the word swing can also be a verb as in "You should swing at any ball that is in the strike zone."

If you ever have questions about grammar or words, you can't do better than to ask Barbara Wallraff.

Don McCabe.

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