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The Snooks, 5 and 6

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 02, 2012

A five-part (ten-verse) series dedicated to Keepa’ninny Mark B.

The Snooks

By Olive W. Burt

5.

Oh, it will be a happy day
When all Snooks learn they shouldn’t say,
“Mary, she can sure do it,”
Or “Harry, he,” or “Snooks, they rue it!”

Why can’t Snooks learn that the real case is
The pronoun’s extra in these places!

6.

It really makes some people smile
to hear such phrases all the while
As (oh, “Snooks say them!” ) “hadn’t ought,”
“This here book,” and “I have got.”

Of course ‘tis simpler far to say,
“Oughtn’t,” “this book,” “I have a way.”

(The Instructor, 1938)



11 Comments »

  1. Aw, shucks, Ardis! What did I do to deserve this!?

    Comment by Mark B. — May 2, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  2. You didn’t jump on me for my affect/effect error. And I had to do SOMEthing to get a comment today.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 2, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  3. Oh, how sweet is that! Personalized historical Mormon poetry for Keepa’s grammarian.

    (I had to go back to see verses 3 and 4, since I somehow missed those.)

    (And that’s comment 3. : )

    Comment by Amy T — May 2, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  4. According to my English as a second language textbook, “I have got” is proper. As in, “Have you got a book?” “Yes, I have got an old one.”

    My cousin, he takes and says that all the time.

    Comment by Carol — May 2, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

  5. He hadn’t ought to do that, Carol. This here is good advice.

    (I have a nagging memory from somewhere that “have” vs. “have got” is English vs. American, that Americans have preserved an archaic verbal form acceptable in the 17th century but since passed out of use in standard English English. If that memory is right, and I’m not absolutely certain it is, it would account for the difference of advice between grammarians, and puts Sister Burt in the old-style camp of those who defer to the Queen’s English as somehow being the standard for, well, the Queen’s English.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 3, 2012 @ 4:20 am

  6. That textbook was published in England. In the student dialogues, they made fun of American accents. The next line was “Is that the only book you have got?” So, I thought that “have got” was British English. Anyone know how they teach it there now?

    Comment by Carol — May 3, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  7. I work in a college that teaches ESOL courses, so I’ll check when I’m back at work next week (it is that great British tradition this weekend, the Bank Holiday).

    Comment by Alison — May 3, 2012 @ 9:00 am

  8. Can I just say that I really enjoyed “case is” rhymed with “places”?

    (And it kind of reminds me of Steve Miller…)

    Comment by lindberg — May 3, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  9. For anybody still interested, the double form “have got” is listed in “Practical English usage” as a correct expression e.g. “Have you got a headache?” (which I had got by the time I’d combed the relevant section of the library…

    Comment by Alison — May 8, 2012 @ 10:01 am

  10. My hypothesis: Olive Burt had an overly-nice grammar teacher in the seventh grade.

    Or else the King of Siam was right: “‘Tis a puzzlement.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 8, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  11. Sorry about having gotten you a headache, Alison. But that’s a big one solved now. (Hmmm, spell check doesn’t mind “gotten”.)

    Comment by Carol — May 8, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

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