Fun with Grammar
"Mom, Mom look I wrote a story for the Neopian Times!" shouted
my youngest pet Patrick as he ran into the living room.
I sighed as the rainbow Gelert handed me a crumpled
sheet of paper.
"Did you check the spelling?" I asked.
"Uh-huh," Patrick said, nodding so hard he fell.
"Did you check that it has 1,200 words?"
"Did you check the grammar?"
"Never mind," I said as I glanced down at the
I knew it would be a disaster after reading
the first sentence. The gelert was running fast because the skeith were chasing
him and dr sloth was chasing him and the evil Myncis was eating my pajamas and
that weren't good because i like my pajamas and i can't have them if the myncis
"Do you like it?" asked Patrick innocently.
"Do you want to know the truth, Pat?" I asked,
staring at my shoes.
"Of course, you always said the truth is best."
I winced. That was what I said.
"OK, well since you asked. Pat, this wouldn't
get into the Neopian Times if Adam was editor."
I waited for tears, a pained look, anything,
from my pet, but he just stared into space for a second. I didn't want to hurt
him more so I stayed quiet.
"So what can I do to get it in?" Patrick asked
after a minute.
"What special thing do I need to do to get it
I stared at that first sentence for a few seconds.
"Grammar, that's the only thing wrong with this.
Grammar," I whispered.
Suddenly it came to me. I ran around the living
room, throwing things off the shelves, and piling books on our table.
"Mom, are you OK?" asked Patrick, concerned.
"We are going to have a grammar school, Pat,
and when we are done you won't be able to write a wrong sentence!"
"Kara, get that Slorg out of here, he's getting
slime on the paper... George, sit down and give me the pogo stick... and UJ,
put the book away and get up here; you said you would help me!" I shouted.
It was about an hour later and with a chalkboard,
some books, and a pair of fake glasses for me our living room was grammar school.
I had gathered all four of my pets so Patrick wouldn't be alone in school, but
so far this seemed like a bad idea.
"George, for the last time sit down!" I screamed.
George, who had drank too much coffee like usual,
was hopping around the living room. The blue Usul paid no attention to me. Kara
the red Kougra came back from putting her Slorg somewhere. UJ was looking at
something in the grammar textbook. I couldn't take George hopping anymore, so
I ran up to her, and pushed her into the chair. I then got some string and tied
"Grammar school is now in session," I said putting
on my glasses.
I looked at Patrick's story. The first thing
I noticed was there were no commas.
"Lesson 1 is going to be commas," I said while
writing Lesson 1: Commas on the chalkboard with a picture of one, "Can anyone
tell me what commas are."
George waved her arm frantically while making
ooh ooh noises.
"Yes, George," I sighed.
"There little things that are shaped like little
things that look like…"
"Let me guess, things?" retorted Kara.
"No like stuff."
"UJ, can you tell us the definition?" I asked.
"A comma is a punctuation mark that makes sentences
easier to understand by signaling a pause or separation between parts of sentences,"
UJ read from her textbook.
"Very good, UJ, now, who can tell me where the
comma would go in this sentence?"
I pointed to The Lupe mother watched her cubs
and the Lupe father hunted. George's hand waved frantically again. I watched
Kara and Patrick, praying one of their hands would go up.
"How about you give it a shot, Pat," I commanded.
Patrick's eyes moved across the whole sentence
in milliseconds at a time. I could see sweat start to pop out on his forehead.
"I…I…don't know," he stuttered.
"How about you, Kara?"
"It goes after twenty."
"There isn't a twenty in that sentence!"
"I know, but twenty is such a pretty number."
"Fine, George," I said banging my head on the
"In between bomma and domma," said George with
"It's in alphabetical order see bomma, comma,
"At least you know you're alphabet, I guess,
UJ please show them," I said while handing UJ the chalk.
UJ promptly put a comma between cubs and and.
"Very good, UJ, now I'm going to write three
sentences on the board. When I call you I would like you to come up and put
a comma where you think it goes."
I wrote The Gelert ate an omelette and the Skeith
ate two., and called on Kara.
She came up, stared at the sentence for a minute,
and then erased the period and put a 20 in its place. She then put a comma between
Skeith and 20.
"What did you do that for?!" I screamed.
"Twenty is such a prettyful number," she sighed.
I resisted the urge to pull my hair out, and
wrote I like to swim and Susie likes to dance.
"George, please come up and do this one."
"I'm tied to the chair."
"I'll push you up here!"
I got behind George's chair, and pushed her
up while she went wheeeeeeeeeee. I gave George the chalk, and she immediately
started a putting in commas. When she was done the sentence looked like, I,
like, to, swim, and, Susie, likes, to, dance.
"Yay I got it right!" she shouted.
"What do you mean you put a comma between every
word?!" I bellowed.
"Yeah, so I had to do one of them right."
With a sigh, I pushed George back to her spot.
I wrote on the board George is annoying Mom and it makes her mad.
"It's your turn, Patrick," I said giving him
He scratched his head, and started moving towards
the wrong spot, but quickly moved his paw back. The next time he moved his paw,
it was to put the comma between Mom and and.
"Very good, Patrick! Since Patrick is the one
who this school if for, we will move onto our next lesson," I glanced at the
I erased the sentences and wrote Lesson 2: Capitalization
on the board.
"UJ, can you tell us what capitalization is?"
I asked, not wanting to make the mistake of asking George, Kara, and Patrick
"Capitalization, or capital letters, appears
at the beginning of every sentence, and is used for the first letter of a person
or specie's name," recited UJ.
"Thank you, UJ," I said while writing a sentence
on the board, "Now, UJ, will you please circle all the letters that need to
be capitalized in this sentence?"
UJ went up to the board and read my sentence,
the Gelert's name is Patrick, and circled the t in the, the g in Gelert's, and
the p in Patrick.
"Very good, UJ, now will one of you volunteer
to do that too?" I asked the other three.
"How about Patrick since this is his grammar
school," I said.
Patrick came up, and stared at my friend Billy
is a Techo. After about five minutes of just staring, he finally circled the
m in my, b in Billy, and the t in Techo.
"Great job, Patrick!" I gushed. "I guess we
will move onto…"
"Uh, Mom, its past midnight and I would really
like to go to bed," put in Kara.
"Wow time flies when you're doing grammar right,"
Kara nodded sleepily, and George, who had fallen
asleep in her chair, snored. Kara and UJ walked to their room. Patrick, on the
other hand, walked up to me.
"Can I start on my story right now, Mom, please?"
"Go to bed now, Pat, and you can start in the
morning," I said.
And so we walked to bed after a fun-filled day