Monday, November 7, 2011

Old collectible books are jewels

I was reading my one-hundred-and-twenty-five old book that I have in my collection of old out-of-print books.

The book is called Higher Lessons in English, a work on English grammar and composition. It was published in 1877, and the copy I have was published in 1885. It appears to be a textbook for higher grades like colleges. There are 165 chapters and the last chapter is “How to write a theme”. I gently hold it in my hand and look at the name written on the inside cover … or names. The names are W.M. Adair, Antonito Cola, May 15 – 1894.

This is one of my treasures. I looked through it this morning and had a great time remembering when I loved school and anticipated the time when we would have grammar - as it was called in Kasper School, the little country school I attended for 9 years. I went to Poth High School for three years and graduated there - a little high school with 52 students total in Poth, Texas!

As I read through the book today, it got me to thinking. I wonder why people do not use good grammar these days. I notice that so much. The high school kids these days do not know good grammar, and don’t speak good English. Is it because they don’t teach it any more? It has been so long since my children and grandchildren were in high school, I don’t remember. I think my children were taught good English and grammar. All four of them like to read and are all good writers. The four of them could write a book, I am sure. But my grandchildren, I don’t know. A few of them like to read books. But do they like to write? I hope so.

I have several pet peeves. I imagine lots of people have their pet peeves. One of mine is that people do not like to read or write or know how to write with good grammar. Why is that?

And the young people that talk on cell phones, or by texting or even on Facebook, do not use good grammar or English. They shorten words by abbreviating them, so they look gibberish. I guess it is a sort of shorthand. Good Lord, we are becoming an illiterate people here in America! And no one writes letters any more. Even my e-mail letters from people are getting few and far between. I loved it in the old days when we so looked forward to the mailman to see if we got a letter! It is so personal to read a letter that the

mailman has delivered to your mailbox.

Maybe it is because I loved books and reading. English was my favorite subject in school. Both literature in high school and grammar in grade school were my favorites.

Do they still teach kids how diagram sentences? I loved to diagram sentences. Does anyone still remember the difference between a subject and predicate?

Do you remember what is the meaning of a noun and a pronoun? Noun is the name of anything. Pronoun is a word used for a noun.

A verb denotes action, being or the state of being. Words like walk, dance, talk, and work are action verbs. Adverb is a word used to modify a verb. Or describe the verb. It is so interesting to me. I guess I am strange that way. Probably people think it is boring. But I don’t care. I love it.

I think I will go diagram a sentence now. Hope I remember what a prepositional phrase is or a dangling participle! But I do know how to conjugate a verb! And diagram a sentence! But that may be a mystery to some people.

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