By Ruth Beechick
Children use mostly correct grammar as they
copy the speech of people around them.
Grammar? How much? Which? When? Some answers are easy. Otherstake more thought.
Homeschoolers would probably be
100% for grammar. And many of them
would try to start too soon. This stems
from a belief that grammar is the route to
good speaking and good writing, but the
reverse path is more natural. Children
first learn to speak by listening to their
parents. And if the parents use proper
grammar, the children do too.
nominative or objective—I or me. Here
is a list of common pronouns.
Tots learn to name “doll” or “ball”
long before they know that we call these
nouns. Children say run or sneeze long
before they hear the word verb.
•;A;verb names an action. It has forms
for past, present, and future. Past usually adds the d sound, as in played, or
the t sound, as in slept. But often the
word form changes. Examples: eat and
ate, see and saw.
One aspect of grammar seems easy
and is always taught: the parts of speech.
Here is a list of those:
•;An;adjective describes the things: blue,
soft, lovely. It also points out which
item, as her dog and his shirt.
•;A;noun usually names a person, place
or thing. It can be singular or plural.
Plurals are usually made by adding an
s. Sometimes they end with i, as
alum-ni for alumnus.
•;An;adverb describes an action: fast,
easily. Occasionally one modifies a noun,
as the room above, or the down stroke.
•;A;preposition shows relations: in my
room, on the roof.
•;A;pronoun stands for a noun. It does
not name Dick or Bob but just refers
to the boy by he or him. Pronouns
have what we call persons—first per-
son, second person, and third person.
First person is I or me. Second person
is you, and third person stands for
someone else. It can be masculine or
feminine—he or she. It can be singu-
lar or plural—he or they, and it can be
•;A;conjunction joins. And is the most
common one: candy and gum, pen and
ink. Another common conjunction is
or. Choose either pie or cake. Nor is the
negative form of or. Example: We will
have neither pie nor cake tonight.
• Interjections are words like ouch, oops,
Those are the parts of speech found in
grammar books: nouns and pronouns,
verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions,
prepositions and interjections.
Dr. Ruth Beechick is a longtime teacher
and curriculum developer. She has written
a number of books for homeschoolers.