To All Little Children
Who think grammar hard and dry,
this book is dedicated,
by one who loves to see
sunshine in schoolroom-shire.
The favourable reception that the former Editions of this little book have met with, calls for a word of acknowledgment. It seems that not only the little folks for whom it was intended, but children of a larger growth have read it with interest; and students, who spend days and nights “with weary eyesight poring over miserable books,” have condescended to turn over these pages, and laughingly admit that the imagination may sow even the dustiest of book-shelves with flowers.
Teachers of the younger classes in schools have found this little volume extremely useful; and it is suggested, that though children will often read it with pleasure by themselves, they will derive much more profit from it when it is made the text-book for a lesson. The simple exercises appended to each chapter will then be found both useful and entertaining.
Judge Grammar rules in every land.
What is Grammar-land? Where is Grammar-land? Have you ever been to Grammar-land? Wait a minute and you shall hear. You will not find Grammar-land marked on the globe, and I never saw a map of it; but then, who ever saw a map of Fairy-land? and yet you have all heard of that, and know a great deal about it, of course. Well, Grammar-land is a place every bit as real as Fairy-land, and much more important. The Fairy Queen is all very well, and a very great little queen in her way; but Judge Grammar! great, stern, old Judge Grammar, is far mightier than any Fairy Queen, for he rules over real kings and queens down here in Matter-of-fact-land. Our kings and queens, and emperors too, have all to obey Judge Grammar’s laws, or else they would talk what is called bad grammar; and then, even their own subjects would laugh at them, and would say: “Poor things! When they were children, and lived in Schoolroom-shire, they can never have been taken to Grammar-land! How shocking!” And Judge Grammar himself — well, I cannot say what he would do, as I suppose such a thing never really happened; for who could imagine a king or queen saying, “I is,” or “you was,” or “it wasn’t me.” No one speaks in that way except people who have never heard of Judge Grammar.
Ah! I wish you could see him — this great Judge — sitting on his throne in his court, and giving orders about his precious words, which are the riches of Grammar-land. For Judge Grammar says that all the words that you can say belong really to him, and he can do what he likes with them; he is, in fact, King as well as Judge over Grammar-land. Now, you know that when William the Conqueror conquered England he divided the land among his nobles, and they had it for their own so long as they obeyed the king and helped him in his wars. It was just the same with Judge Grammar when he took possession of Grammar-land; he gave all the words to his nine followers, to take for their very own as long as they obeyed him. These nine followers he called the nine Parts-of-Speech, and to one or other of them every word in Grammar-land was given.
They are funny fellows, these nine Parts-of-Speech. You will find out by-and-by which you like best amongst them all. There is rich Mr. Noun, and his useful friend Pronoun; little ragged Article, and talkative Adjective; busy Dr. Verb, and Adverb; perky Preposition, convenient Conjunction, and that tiresome Interjection, the oddest of them all.