We hope you’ve been enjoying our Dr Grammar series on #SaturdaySchool. Write to us and let us know if you are. Today we’re going to share how Dr Grammar finds a solution.
Dr Grammar Finds A Solution
The door opened and the next patient walked in. It was a capital S dragging in a small s. Dr. Grammar recognised them from the village of the Simple Present Tense of SPT as it was called.
The small s had obviously been crying.
“What’s the matter?” asked Dr. G.
Capital S replied, “Something is wrong with small s. She has not been eating for the last few days and doesn’t even want to go out to play. I am really worried.”
“Hmm”. Dr. G examined small s and said, “There doesn’t seem to be anything physically wrong with her. But I think she is upset about something.”
Gently he asked small s, “What has happened to make you so sad?”
Small s burst out crying, “No one wants me. Both the verbs and the nouns say that they don’t need me.”
“Oh dear!” Now Dr. G was upset. “That is bad! And it goes against all the rules of the Land of Language!”
He thought for a moment and then patted small s on the head reassuringly, “Don’t you worry. I will see what I can do. Now go home and have something to eat.”
A trip to Simple Present Tense
The next day, Dr. G took a trip to the SPT village. He met the head man of the village and told him about the situation. They decided that it was time to talk to the nouns and verbs that lived in the village.
They spoke to the headmistress of the village school and she agreed to have a session in the school on the importance of small s, especially in Simple Present Tense.
That day after lunch, all the nouns and verbs were asked to go into the auditorium for a special session. They wondered what it was all about. But when they saw Dr. G on the platform, they relaxed. They all loved him.
The headmistress started speaking and the buzz in the room died down. “Good afternoon, everyone. Today we have Dr. G and the village headman who want to speak to all of you. I hope you will listen carefully to what they say and implement it well.”
Dr. G stood up. “How would you feel if you were left alone and no one liked you or wanted to play with you?”
The nouns and verbs looked at each other, “Bad” they said, “and sad”.
“Exactly”, went on Dr. G. “and that is what small s felt when you told her that she could not play with you. She felt hurt and sad.”
“But she is just a letter. We are words. We want other words to play with. Not letters.”
“Oh I see” said the head man. “And did you know that you were breaking Grammar rules by refusing to let s play with you?”
“What?” Once again there was a buzz in the auditorium.
“ Yes”, said Dr. G. “The rules of Grammar clearly state that in the Simple Present Tense, s has to be either part of the noun or the verb.”
Where will s go?
The nouns and verbs looked confused, so Dr. G said, “Look at this sentence:
The boy play the piano. There is something wrong about that sentence because neither the noun nor the verb has s.
So how do I make it right? I can put an s to the noun like this: The boys play the piano
I can put an s to the verb : The boy plays the piano.
To make it simple, if the noun is singular, i.e. only one, then the noun does not take an s but the verb does
My dog plays with me every day after school.
The sun rises in the east
The baby sleeps a lot.
My mother reads the newspaper every morning.
The old lady feeds the birds every day.
However if the noun is plural, then the noun takes the s and the verb doesn’t
The dogs play on the street
My parents travel a lot.
The birds drink water from the trough.
The boys play cricket every afternoon
The stars shine at night.
What about pronouns?
“And nouns”, said the headman sternly again, “I know that you sometimes turn into pronouns, But the same rule applies. If the pronoun is in the singular, then the verb takes the s; if the pronoun is in the plural, the verb does not need the s because the s is implied in the pronoun.”
When Dr. G saw the audience looking confused again he said, “It’s like this:
Look at these two sentences
The boy plays cricket. He plays cricket.
In the second sentence he = boy which is singular, so the verb takes the s just as it did in the first sentence.
The boys play cricket. They play cricket.
They = boys which already has an s, so the verb does not take an s.
You and I are special
However the pronouns I and you act like plurals so the verb will not take an s
e.g. I play cricket. Though I is only one person, you do not have a noun that you can use correctly in its place and still keep to the same person.
If I say, “I help people in the Land of Language”, you know that I am referring to myself. But if I say, “Dr. Grammar helps the people in the Land of Language”, it sounds as if I am talking about somebody else.
In the same way if I you are talking to me and say “Dr. Grammar always helps us.” It sounds as if you are talking about another person. When you say, “You always help us”, I know you are talking about me.
So the pronouns I and you are special and they have the permission to be used as if they were in the plural.”
“So”, asked the headman. “Will you promise to include s?”
The rebels refuse
The nouns and verbs all nodded and the headman was satisfied. But Dr. Grammar knew that there would still be some nouns that would not take s when they were in the plural, though the verbs would behave themselves.
And he was right, but those were the words that lived in the rebel part of the village and so everyone had got used to them doing something different from others.
Can you guess what the plural forms of these rebel words are?