A Thanksgiving Grammar Lesson

I enjoy grammar. There, I said it. In case you thought I was somewhat normal, now you know the truth. I had the world’s most amazing English teacher who made the understanding of grammar second nature. Basic grammar, of course. Passive voice has never been quite understood by me. (See what I mean?)

Anyway, as I was reading various Psalms about thanksgiving in preparation for today’s holiday, I came across Psalm 103. It begins with an imperative:

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

The Psalm then goes on to list many reasons to thank the Lord. Since I love putting things in boxes so I can understand them better, I put the reasons into lists by grammatical function. (Yeah, I know. I really am weird. But just hang with me for a few minutes!)

Verb – the action word in a sentence

That was my own definition. If you lost me earlier, this dictionary.com definition may have overwhelmed you a bit:

verb

noun

any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicates, that typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood,and to show agreement with their subject or object.

I am still stuck back on verb as a noun. But back to Psalm 103:

5 Verbs That Describe the Lord’s Benefits (verses 3 – 5)

  • Forgiveth
  • Healeth
  • Redeemeth
  • Crowneth
  • Satisfieth

If you have received the action from these verses, this is certainly a reason to “bless the Lord”. Has He forgiven your sins? Has he healed your diseases? Has He redeemed your life from destruction? Has He crowned you with loving-kindness and mercy? Does He satisfy you with good things?

Adjective – the describing word in a sentence

If that’s too elementary for you, dictionary.com can help:

ad·jec·tive

noun

any member of a class of words that modify nouns and pronouns, primarily by describing a particular quality of the word they are modifying, as wise  in a wise grandmother,  or perfect  in a perfect score,  or handsome  in He is extremely handsome.  Other terms, as numbers ( one cup; twelve months), certain demonstrative pronouns ( this magazine; those questions ), and terms that impose limits ( each person; no mercy  ) can also function adjectivally, as can some nouns that are found chiefly in fixed phrases where they immediately precede the noun they modify, as bottle  in bottle cap and bus  in bus station. Synonyms: modifier, qualifier, identifier, describer, describing word.

Apparently, an adjective is a noun, too. In case you worried that I am just making up my definitions, look at the last two words of that rather lengthy definition. See, I made it simpler for you.

4 Adjectives That Describe the Lord’s Character (verse 8)

  • Merciful
  • Gracious
  • Slow to anger
  • Abounding in Loving-Kindness

Have you experienced His mercy and His grace? Mercy that doesn’t give us what we deserve and Grace that showers us with all that we don’t deserve? Aren’t you glad that He is slow to anger and abounding in love and kindness toward us?

Simile – a comparison using like or as

Again, my definition. I still get simile confused with metaphor because they are similar. The English language is a deep well whose depths have yet to be plunged by me. That last sentence is an example of my trouble with passive voice and a metaphor. I’m also not sure if whose is the proper word to use since a well is not a person. I’ll have to check with my English teacher.

Anyway, here is the official dictionary definition:

simile 

A common figure of speech that explicitly compares two things usually considered different. Most similes are introduced by like  or as : “The realization hit me like a bucket of cold water.”

3 Similes That Describe The Greatness of the Lord’s Attributes (verses 11 -13)

  • The Greatness of His Mercy – “As the heaven is high”
  • The Greatness of His Removal of Our Sins – “As far as the east is from the west”
  • The Greatness of His Compassion – “As a father pitieth his children”

The bell is about to ring. Grammar class is finally over. Realize that it has been almost 15 years since I sat in my English class. Don’t hold any mistakes in this lesson against my teacher. If grammar doesn’t excite you as it does me, just remember this key point on this Thanksgiving Day:

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Now that is not something to be passive about!