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Language and Grammar

Bob and Jane Gooding wrote and told me about a poem that allowed Jane to remember the difference between nouns and verbs etc. However Jane can't remember all of it. I think what Bob and Jane have sent me is marvellous but they think there is more to it. Can anyone complete this poem mnemonic for us?

Every name is called a noun
As field and county, street & town.
How things are done the adverbs tell
as quickly slowly, badly, well.
An adjective describes a thing
as magic wand or golden ring.
A verb means action, something done
to read to write to jump to run.

Editor's Note: Thanks go to Lynn, Brian and Mimi who all sent in different versions of this poem. We think the original poem was probably as follows:


Every name is called a NOUN,
field and fountain, street and town;

In place of noun the
PRONOUN stands
he and she can clap their hands;

ADJECTIVE describes a thing,
magic wand and bridal ring;

VERB means action, something done -
read, to write, to jump, to run;

How things are done, the
quickly, slowly, badly, well;

PREPOSITION shows relation,
in the street, or at the station;

CONJUNCTIONS join, in many ways,
Sentences, words,
or phrase and phrase;

INTERJECTION cries out, 'Hark!
I need an exclamation mark

Through Poetry, we learn how each
of these make up

Our thanks to all visitors who wrote in about this unusual poem.

Update 3rd February 2006
Our thanks to Alison Wiggins (UK) for sending in another (fairly different!) version of this whole poem:


Three little words you often see
Are articles - a, an, and the.

A noun's the name of anything
As school or garden, hoop or swing.

Adjectives describe the 'kind of noun'
As great, small, pretty, white or brown.

Instead of nouns, the pronouns stand -
Her head, his face, your arm, my hand.

Verbs tell of something to be done -
To read, count, sing, to laugh or run.

How things are done the adverbs tell,
As slowly, quickly, ill or well.

Conjunctions join the words together,
As men and women, wind or weather.

The preposition stands before
A noun, as in or through a door.

The interjection shows surprise,
As Oh! How pretty! Oh! How wise!

The whole are called nine parts of speech,
Which reading, writing, speaking teach.

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