Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Helping Verb is a Very Fine Man

If you've ever been privileged enough to have Mrs. Casdorph as a teacher, you will easily finish out the rest of one of many grammar chants ingrained so permanently in your memory that they might as well be stamped upon your very soul.

A helping verb is a very fine man;
He gives a verb a helping hand.
Like: am, is, are, was, were,
Be and been,
Have, has, had,
Do, did, does,
May, might, must,
Can, could,
Shall, should,
Will, would.

You might also recall that the first 7 on the list can also appear as linking verbs and the subsequent six, when appearing as the main verb in the sentence, may be action verbs.

And if you haven't ever been a student of Mrs. Casdorph, you will either find yourself relating to this line of thinking or you will write me off as totally crazy.  Fair enough.

The chant is honestly of little importance to the story except as a fun anecdote to introduce the topic of helping verbs in order to tell this story:

Monday morning as we were doing our daily scripture study, Adam questioned the accuracy of the following phrase found in Alma 53:11, "...had it not been for the pity and exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them."

"Had had?" he questioned.  "Mom, why does it say had twice?"

"Because the first one is a helping verb and the second is an action verb."  I was grateful to share this vocabulary in common with my sons so the fairly complex question could be answered in relatively few words.

And then I remembered this, which I had meant to post as soon as it aired.

And then I started to chant... "A helping verb is a very fine man..."