Tag Archives: things

Grammar: The Holy Grail of Simpletons.

30 Dec

The first thing you learn about grammar in school teaches you how to construct a credible simple sentence, but is a total mind destroyer. It kills creativity and it totally destroys any natural inclination the student has toward understanding reality as it is.

You are taught the basis of grammar is the simple sentence, Subject, Verb, Object.

You are taught to believe that Verbs describe Actions and that Nouns are names of Persons, Places, Things, or Ideas.

By the time you are done you believe these things.

Why not?

It sounds credible. Especially when the emphasis is on learning what you are taught, fitting in, not being different, and not asking questions that are in any way disturbing.

After all, when you ask a teacher, or any other authority, a question about something they believe they have already explained you have attacked them; you have challenged them; you have had the temerity to imply that their explanation was in some way not perfect. Their identity, their position of authority, their perfection is now on the line. They must either admit they have somehow failed in their attempt to communicate with you or they must assume you are an idiot who cannot understand their instructions.

Unfortunately for the child, and employees, those in authority all too often choose to save face than accept their own limitations.

This, as I have often told, was brought home to me as a young child in a classroom of students when a teacher chose to answer my question with the announcement, “Oscar Wilde once said a fool can ask more questions in five minutes than a wise man can answer in a lifetime.”

So you are taught to write a simple sentence.

Perhaps you are taught to diagram it.

Subject (noun), Verb (Which is of course a Verb), Object (noun).

Jack kissed Jill.

Now eventually, if you are lucky, possibly in college, but not of necessity, someone expands on what you were taught. Unfortunately by then you have just added to the list and have not examined what you were taught.

Let us look at it:

A noun is a word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance, or quality.

Now look at the sentence:

Jack kissed Jill.

A noun is basically a name. Jack’s name is Jack. Jill’s name is Jill. The event is a kiss. We name this event Kiss. We name the action Kiss.

In this sentence there is nothing but names.

Jack’s name: Jack.

Jill’s name: Jill.

The name of the event/action: Kiss.

Every word in that sentence is a noun. Every word in that sentence is a name.

When I asked in school why we used the word “noun” instead of the word “name” to describe this part of speech I was informed by the teacher that “It should be obvious even to you that while the name Philadelphia is the name of a particular city the word city is not a name. It is a noun that means any city at all. Therefore a noun is not a name. Only Proper Nouns are names.”

From now on in the rest of my writing all words in the English Language will be treated as Names. We have proper names: Mrs Smith. We have group names: Planets. We have concrete names: Chair. We have abstract names: Freedom. We have action names: Fight. We have event names: 911.

Every word in the English Language names something.

I get a lot of flack for this concept. From all levels of intelligence and education.

Words are not their meanings. Words are not their definitions. Words are not the parts of speech they play in their different grammatical roles. Words are the sounds we make to give names to objects, ideas, concepts.

Signs, in a signed language, such as American Sign Language, serve exactly the same function words serve.

Words and Signs refer to concrete things, abstract things, imaginary things, events, ideas, and concepts. When a word or sign has been given to one of these it has been named.

Yet the really important thing is not the name:

The Really important thing is what we do with the name.

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