Grammar: It Ain’t Don’t Get No Better Than This

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What do word nerds do in their free time? Sometimes they tell jokes (or cut and paste witty witticisms into their posts). As per one shiny example:

Klaussz: Did you hear about the constipated mathematician?

Scooter: He must have had bad dandruff!

Klaussz: What the **** is wrong with you, man? No! He worked it out with a pencil.

Actually, word nerds, grammarians and overall spaznuts like yours truly like going though dictionaries, reading interesting blogs on linguistics,, and dissecting languages as a whole and how they reflect on cultures, etcetera, and so on, ad nauseam.

Earlier, while looking up something on predicates, I stumbled upon a post on some random site from an old friend of mine who is a walking dictionary in both English and Korean.

Growing up, my teachers told me that a sentence only required a subject (pronoun or noun) and a verb (action word). But as I got older, things seemed to get dicier with the official explanation. Now it was all about a subject and a predicate.

To me, predicates just seemed like snooty verbs, a pack of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. Or, you know, something like that.

Anyway, my pal Gary Rector had this to say about the topic at hand, and I thought I’d share it with all the other hosebags out there who share my fascination with words.

The predicate of a sentence is the verb and its objects, complements, and modifiers (if any). Look at these example sentences:

John is sleeping. [The verb and predicate are identical: is sleeping.]

Mary likes coffee. [The verb is likes. The predicate is likes coffee.]

Sally takes her coffee with cream and sugar. [The verb is takes. The predicate is takes her coffee with cream and sugar.]



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