Subjects, Predicates & Spooky Tales

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

As the leaves start to turn—at least in the northern hemisphere—our thoughts often turn to the coziness of a fire and the warmth of our homes. It's a great time for getting back to basics. In our video excerpts this month, we wanted to share how getting back to grammatical basics and understanding main subjects and main predicates can help us in our storytelling, especially as Halloween approaches.

Here's a clip from Lesson 3 of Marie's Basic Cozy Grammar Course in which she deepens our understanding of subjects and predicates by introducing the idea of main subjects and main predicates with a simple and clear example by the fire. (If you want a quick refresher on subjects and predicates, you can read our February newsletter and watch an excerpt from Lesson 2. That lesson leads directly into this one.)

As you can see, the main subject is the one word that describes what a sentence is about and the main predicate is the one word that tells us what the subject does.

But there's more. Main subjects and main predicates also take us to the heart of what a sentence is about, to the most basic and important elements of its meaning. And this, in turn, can serve us in our writing and our storytelling.

In my supplementary video to Lesson 3, I show how using the shortest form of a sentence—just a main subject and a main predicate—can sometimes be very effective, especially when following a much longer sentence. I also give an example in the form of a little story fit for the month of October. You'll see!

Knowledge of grammar can be very useful for creating suspense!

On the Subject of Spooky Tales . . .

Just for fun, here's another spooky tale for Halloween. This one is a poem by Walter de la Mare.

Say the poem out loud and enjoy how he uses simple repetition—another basic technique—to powerful dramatic effect:

Some One

Some one came knocking
At my wee, small door;
Some one came knocking,
I’m sure—sure—sure;
I listened, I opened,
I looked to left and right,
But nought there was a-stirring
In the still dark night;
Only the busy beetle
Tap-tapping on the wall,
Only from the forest
The screech-owl’s call,
Only the cricket whistling
While the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking,

At all, at all, at all.

Back to Basics

Before signing off, I wanted to give a quick reminder that we now offer unlimited subscriptions to our courses, precisely so that you can have a chance to return to the basics anytime you wish to do so.

Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you again next month!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma



Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses