My ninth grade English teacher, Miss Hall, seemed to me to be about a hundred years old. She wore old lady dresses and old lady shoes and had old lady hair. It was years later I realized she couldn’t have been much older than in her mid-sixties, which gets younger every day. Whatever age she was, Miss Hall was definitely old school. She’d made it her crusade to teach serious, hardcore grammar, spelling and – believe it or not – penmanship. I come from a family that’s probably already too attached to grammar. The other day I almost bought one of my siblings a t-shirt that says, “I’m silently correcting your grammar.” But Miss Hall taught me things I did not know. The conditional tense. The use of the possessive with gerunds. I know; I’ve already lost most of you.
Miss Hall had us memorize grammar and spelling rules, and carefully write them in our best penmanship. We also had to memorize and write lists of words, the longest being the list of prepositions. For those of you who haven’t thought about the parts of speech for a couple of decades, in simplest terms, a preposition is a locater word. It tells you where something is in space or time. The alphabetical list of prepositions began with “aboard, about, above, across, after, against …” and ended with “…up, upon, with, within, without.”
I hadn’t thought about this list of prepositions for a long time, until, in response to our inviting people to bring us their faith questions, a church member asked, “Where is the Holy Spirit?” Read more →