We were on our 7th day. My 5th grader, fresh from her “punishment”, is the most attentive student I ever had. We are tackling verb phrases on sentences such as like this:
Then the Venus flytrap will quickly clamp down and digest the fly.
She will need to underline the verb phrase which are will clamp and digest. She is aghast to know that verb phrases can be separated by words! She is more frustrated to learn that state of being verbs (am, is, are, was, etc) becomes a helping verbs at some point. Okay, I won’t elaborate on this one.
While she is still deciphering all that, I will need to introduce to her that verbs can come in different forms: present (eat) , present participle (eating), past (ate), and past participle (have eaten). Now, she will have to remember those forms, especially for the irregular verbs such as eat.
At one point in our class, she simply blurted, “Who created verbs, anyway?” Like as if we can even trace who. I had to remind her though that God created language. Then, I followed with this story when I was learning verbs more up close and personal.
High School Days
When I was in high school, I had an English teacher who diligently taught us about different part of speech particularly verbs, pronouns, and verb-subject agreement. Everyday, we get an infinitive (e.g., to learn) and we are asked to conjugate it.
Infinitive: to learn
I learn || You learn || He learn, She learn, It learn
We learn || You learn || They learn
I learned || You learned || He learned, She learned, It learned
We learned || You learned || They learned
It didn’t stop here. It went to using Present Participle and Past Participles.
During that time I remember just having a blast conjugating the verbs. Probably got bored at some point but I remember clearly how I always want my conjugations to be perfect.
Four year later, I decided to enroll in a Spanish Language class to learn my 5th language. To my surprise and delight, we spent 3/4 part of the semester conjugating verbs in Spanish using the patten o-as-a-amos-ais-ein for verbs in present form. Since, I did it in English for 10 months, doing it in another language is like a breeze. All I need is to know the pattern, and I’m off to learning Spanish very quickly.
All I really need to remember is the infinitive form of the verb in Spanish, and conjugate on the fly.
Her excitement grew as I tell her the story on how I learned Spanish very quickly because I paid attention when we were conjugating verbs. So that she should not treat verbs as her enemy. She should learn to be more up close and personal with it. Once she gets the pattern, learning a new language would be a breeze.