The Power of Pronouns

The Free Cozy Grammar Newsletter with Marie Rackham and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

Despite their humble appearance, pronouns are one of a writer's most useful tools and can even unleash great comedy.

To show you what I mean—and to prepare you for this month's fun activity with language—take a peek at our first free excerpt.

In Lesson 6 of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, Marie teaches about pronouns in the context of a joyful dinner party. As you'll see for yourself, she gracefully returns the exploration of grammar to the realm of home and everyday life. That's why for her students grammar remains such a vivid and vital subject, long after they've completed her courses.

Here's a short excerpt on 2 of the 7 kinds of pronouns: subjective pronouns and interrogative pronouns. By the way, there's a specific reason we chose these two kinds. Watch and keep reading to learn why!

As you can see, a key part of Marie's enduring legacy is her way of taking grammar out of the classroom and bringing it so fully to life.

As a former student recently posted to Marie on our YouTube Channel, "I used to watch your videos as a kid. I’m 18 now and would just like to tell you that you’re important."

Pronouns as a Writer's Tool

For this reason, I'm particularly grateful to contribute my own insights as a writer to Cozy Grammar's different courses. In Marie's Study Notes on pronouns, for instance, I share how pronouns can be one of a writer's most useful tools—as well as how their use can go humorously awry.

Take a peek at our second free excerpt. I think you'll find it interesting not only in itself, but also as a prelude to a fun and unusual activity I encourage you to try.

I should add that in Marie's Study Notes on pronouns, she includes her recipe for her famous non-alcoholic Children's Chi-Chis and a fun and related activity on the second kind of pronoun: objective pronouns.

Where else do you get to combine learning grammar with sipping simple and healthy delights?

Who's on First?

Which leads me to the activity I wanted to introduce to you today.

One of my favorite experiences in Cub Scouts as a kid was watching our Cubmaster and his son join forces to perform Abbott & Costello's classic comedy routine, "Who's on First?" Not only is the routine good clean fun, it's also a wonderful way to watch the power of pronouns in action, especially subjective and interrogative pronouns. Now you know why we shared those two kinds of pronouns from Marie's lesson!

If you've never seen this classic, or would like to see it again, enjoy it below! Then I'll explain the activity.

Isn't that wonderful!

A Way to Foster Delight in Words

Here's this month's activity:

I've found that learning this routine with a sibling, parent, or friend can be a wonderful way to explore the delights of language and to foster greater confidence in front of an audience.

If you'd like to give it a try, I suggest finding and printing out a copy. (Here's one of many places that has a complete transcript.) Find someone to do it with and then memorize it together. Don't skip this step! The memorizing, in fact, is key.

By memorizing the language and the rhythms of this routine, you will be deepening your instinctive knowledge of pronouns AND developing your capacity with words.

For the intrepid among you, you might even discover some hidden lines of iambic pentameter among the words. (If you're not sure what iambic pentameter is, that's the form of poetry that Shakespeare used in his plays. You can read more about Shakespeare, the history of English, and pronouns in our September Newsletter.)

Once you've learned and practiced the words, find a time and place to perform it for friends!

An Invitation

After you've had a chance to give your performance, drop us a note and let us know how it went.

You can do so through our website or simply reply to this newsletter. We'd love to hear your story!

Who knows? Maybe it will find its way into a future newsletter that you can also share with family and friends!

Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you again next month!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma



Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses