Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
I stare at them nightly. The seem to line up without my help.
“We are forming sentences for you.” They say.
“A sentence? What is a sentence?” I ask.
“A grammatical unit that is syntactically independent and has a subject that is expressed or, as in imperative sentences, understood and a predicate that has at least one finite verb.” They say.
“Oh, that. Sure I know exactly what that is.” I say. Having no idea what they are talking about.
The little bugs stare at me with their little eyes trying to figure me out. “When a person talks, a sentence begins. There is always a subject to what they say. This is what a sentence is.” The big one with the small top hat and skinny shoes tells me.
“So anytime I start talking it is the beginning of sentence?” I say.
A loud cheer erupts from them. “Yes, he understands.” They yell in unison.
“Some of us little bugs do different things in the sentence. One of us may be the object of the sentence, while another will be describing things about the object. -Like the object goes fast.- Fast is describing the object and what it does. Or in another one. – The brown house stood on an empty lot surrounded by dead grass.- ‘Brown describes the house’. We will leave it at that and you have to figure out the rest of it. ” They tell me.
“How can I learn more about this sentence thing, and I heard one of you whisper about a paragraph. What is a paragraph?” I ask.
“A distinct division of written or printed matter that begins on a new, usually indented line, consists of one or more sentences, and typically deals with a single thought or topic or quotes one speaker’s continuous words.” They say.
“Well that one is easier to understand than a sentence.” I say.
The little bugs laugh at me. “Yes, sentence structure is harder to learn and understand that almost anything else we little bugs can do.” They say.
I stand bewildered with what they told me. I knew I took a lot on when I began to write but this is a lot more than I anticipated.