Sunday, February 21, 2010

Potential Mood

from English Grammar in Familiar Lectures by Samuel Kirkham (1835)

When I was a boy, the town I lived in would have a big Fourth of July celebration, beginning with the mail arrival by Pony Express in the morning, progressing to softball games, followed by a parade, a community picnic, and fireworks at the football stadium. Before the fireworks, while we waited for the July evening to get dark, we would all go to the free movie, sponsored by the local college. One time it was the 1959 film, "The Jayhawkers." In one scene, Fess Parker tries to help a young boy with his grammar lesson:
Parker: I ain't a-fixin' to; you ain't a-fixin' to; he, she, or it ain't a-fixin' to.
Boy: Ain't nobody a-fixin' to?

In that spirit, given the grammar lesson above, I would venture that (grammatically speaking) everybody may, can, or must love.

Any questions? Do I see a hand in the back?


  1. very nice Uncle D!

  2. I stumbled here via Julie Zickefoose's Facebook thread. Thou mayst call me friend.

  3. Witty, David. I love the philosophy (?) lesson embedded in that book, don't you?

  4. Richard,
    That's why I love these old books. They resonate with those sorts of "lessons."

  5. Okay, time to bestir yourself, sir. The world needs some mo' of your wit.