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Verbs. And stuff.

June 18, 2011

I’ve been worrying a lot lately about the GRE.  I worry because I not only have no math skills, I may actually have negative math skills.  I have no math skills, I hate antonyms, and I have forgotten everything I ever learned about grammar.  (I may not do well on the GRE.)   I will be cleaning the toilets at Walmart when I’m 70, if I even get that lucky.

So I didn’t retch too much when I heard that our Journalism class was going to be a review of grammar.  I just felt embarrassed-in-advance for how abysmally stupid I was going to feel when I couldn’t remember a single thing about it.  Hey, seriously, it’s been 40 years since I diagrammed a sentence.  I even bought a book on Grammar from our BBC Bookstore and read a whole 5 pages before my eyes glazed over and I passed out unconscious.

“What’s a gerund?”  The professor paused, expecting some kind of response from the class, and I watched his eyes running back and forth across the rows, looking for some signs of life, some faint glimmer of recognition of what he was fishing for.

Nada.  Zip. Zilch.  Zero.  OK, maybe there were a couple of half-hearted responses, the exact same response the students gave in my grammar classes 40 years ago.  But as the class went on, I began to remember more and more.   “It’s a verb!”  I said.  “That– uh, is, uh– a noun!  Or something!”   Richards stared at me.

“What part of speech is this?”  He was gamely trying again.    “Is it a predicate nominative?”

“It’s a gerund phrase!”  I shouted out.  “Or something like a gerund phrase.  Or …not.”  A couple of students woke up long enough to stare at me.

“Stop it,” said Richards.

But I couldn’t stop.  I was unstoppable.  I was mighty.  I could remember rules of grammar and maybe, JUST MAYBE, I can force myself to study a whole bunch of antonyms and guess really well on the math parts and PASS THE GRE.  Hey, it could happen.

Remembering grammar is a great thing.  Remembering is a gerund.

God, I’m just  giddy with power.  Bring it on, world.

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