Good morning! Today, I’m going to share with you an interesting mail from a reader Sudhanshu Bakshi. Sudhanshu writes very often and his mails are always nice and informative.
Here’s his mail (as it was sent):
Writing to you after a long time!
Recently I got a mail from one of my friends Asim Samanta which I am enclosing for you!
The Beauty and Complexity of the English Language
Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia is credited with inventing a sentence that can be made to have eight different meanings by placing ONE WORD in all possible positions in the sentence: “I hit him in the eye yesterday.”
The word is “ONLY”.
1. ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (No one else did)
2. I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (Did not slap him)
3. I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit others)
4. I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit outside the eye)
5. I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (Not other organs)
6. I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (He doesn’t have another eye)
7. I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (Not today)
8. I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (Did not wait for today)
This is the beauty and complexity of the English language.
Well, yes, Sudhanshu, this is the beauty of the English language. One word can be used in several ways and as different parts of speech— ‘only’ can be used as an adjective, adverb and conjunction.
Let’s see how the word ‘only’ changes its functions when used in these three different parts of speech:
‘Only’ as an adjective (exclusively): The only uncle, he was sought after by all his nieces and nephews.
‘Only’ as an adverb (recently, immediate past): I can’t believe she’s no more, I only just met her.
‘Only’ as a conjunction (however): The girl is very pretty, only she talks too much.
I don’t have to tell you what are parts of speech, now do I? It’s the first thing that you learn in the monotonous grammar classes. The soporific (sleep inducing) English grammar classes are filled with noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection. Hey, I did tell you what they are…ugh.
Anyway, since English is not our mother tongue and most of us learn it as a second language in schools; we’ve got to keep ourselves abreast with a bit of grammar, if not more. Parts of speech are important as most of the English grammar develops on them. And they’re pretty uncomplicated, you’ll learn them easily.
Since I’m at it, let me also explain the term ‘determiners’ which is frequently used in grammar classes. According to most books, “Determiners are used in front of nouns to indicate whether you are referring to something specific or something of a particular type. The definite and indefinite articles a/an/the are all determiners.”
As per this definition, even articles become a part of Parts of Speech. I’m sharing with you this explanation that I read somewhere “Though traditional grammars have commonly treated articles (the, a[n]) as a distinct part of speech, contemporary grammars more often include articles in the category of determiners.”
I wind up with a joke sent by Sudhanshu:
One spelling mistake can destroy your life!
A husband wrote a message to his wife on his official trip and forgot to add ‘e’ at the end of a word…
“I am having such a wonderful time!
Wish you were her..!”