First Grammar Lessons: About Words

First Grammar Lessons: About Words

About Words

and what they have to do with one another

A great difference between people and all other living creatures is, that people speak to one another with words. Other creatures use many signs and sounds, but they have not words with which to tell their meaning to each other.

All human beings, however savage they may be, speak with words.

Savage people have not many words, for they have so few things to think about that they cannot have a great deal to say. There are many things that a savage could not talk about at all, because he would know no suitable words.

There are so many, and such suitable, English words, that it is possible to talk about anything in English. It would take whole days to count all these words, and every day new ones are added to the stock.

If we had these words written on different slips of card to be counted, we might divide these cards into eight groups, because they are of eight sorts.

That is, they are all words, as all fruit is fruit; and they are made of different letters and have different meanings as all the apples on a tree have different shapes: but besides this, there are eight different kinds of words, just as apples, pears and plums are different kinds of fruit.

When we talk, we take words out of any one of the groups, just as we want them to make sense.