One Hundred Words A Day
Thursday, November 5, 2009

  The English Grammar

To me, the English grammar is kilograms of nightmare, especially when I am faced with verb tenses.  I was born where the same word was used to express an action made in the past, present, or future.  I needed only to add already to express a done-deal act, or will for the future actions.  Where I grew up in South-East Asia, all deeds well done are praised for generations. There, a misdeed once committed was judged as if it was committed anew each day, by the father, then the son, then the grandson. The fateful action in the past continues to shadow a person’s path towards his future. 

In my culture, the present blends with the past and merges into the future.  We were made to suffer the wrongs of our forefathers and bathe in the glory of our children.  We were taught to save our happiness for the next life and pay for our past sins.  We marry for our parents and keep our silence to secure our children’s future.  We sow in the present to reap only in the future and arrive to the end of our life cycle a tumbleweed of regrets.  So I embrace this new culture where nothing would be of consequence, where old mistakes could be easily forgotten, and new beginning awaits at each life’s corner, until I walked into my first obstacle in this new land: the English tenses.  Here, the weight of the past deforms each action-word, sometimes involving Ed, sometimes not; and the burdens of the future acts are not always lifted with will, but sometimes relieved by would.  Wood?  Beats me!

An ESL teacher once explained to me about the interwoven relationship between the English past and Ed in regular actions.  I often ask myself, “Is it fair that Ed was condemned to a life haunted by his past? or should he be judged and condemned then but exonerated now?” Can anybody explain to me without confusing me further what action is regular and what is not, and why should Ed discriminate the irregular folks?

My teacher further advised me to forget about Ed when dealing with the irregulars.  She completely confused me when she added, as if she has found a solution to my problem.  “If I were you, I would only dwell in the present.  It’s easier for non-English major.  Try to keep everything in the present.”

Why my present has anything to do with an English Major is out of my grasp. Why an English officer needs to familiarize himself with the irregulars, I never knew. For my sake, she advised that I memorize the irregular actions the same way I learned the multiplication table. "Do you ever try to analyze why two times two is four when you learn the table? Of course not. You recite it until you know it by heart. Same with the irregular folks. Just imprint them in your heart and you'll be fine." She gave me a long list of lie, lay, lain; lay, laid, laid; do, did, done, etc. and I was forever lost in the kilograms of nightmare she handed me.  I missed my Ed by the second recitation of this list.

I still am, thirty years later.

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Mother, Engineer, writer, manager, and more. I am a bit of everything, a creature of God. I am passionate with life. I fear death and its many forms. I love my mind, cherish my body. I express through WORDS.

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