Mud swam to the blue island and rose through the splashing waves. Mud was all wet. He saw blue trees and blue ferns. “I have to ﬁnd a sentence,” thought Mud.
Mud hurried. He went to the ﬁrst tree; “My name is Mud,” said Mud. “Can you tell me a sentence?” “Rolled over there,” it moaned. “Dug a hole and jumped.” “Huh?” thought Mud. The tree groaned in the surfy wind, and Mud went to his left.
Suddenly, a ﬂock of ostriches raced by. “Tell me a sentence!” Mud called. “A squirrel!...some seagulls!...that pine tree!” they cried. “Huh?” thought Mud. 22
Somehow, Mud knew those weren’t sentences either. “A seagull?” he wondered, “What about it?” 23
Mud put his chin on his ﬁn and looked out over a blue bay, where a loon was swimming toward him. It had been eavesdropping. “Psst! You! It...is two!” whispered the loon. “Huh?” thought Mud, perplexed. “The sentence!” cried the loon, “it...is made of two sides, like this,” and then the loon called... “True loons.....croon soon!” Mud noticed that the loon paused strangely in the middle of his statements. 24
“Hi,” said Mud. “My name is Mud.” “My name...is Cow,” said the loon, “Cow Loon.” The loon waddled up onto the beach, and using his beak, drew in the sand. First, he drew a straight, vertical line:
“Look,” said the loon, “a sentence...is an idea. It...is something about something. Two sides, see?” And he wrote in the sand with his beak:
Mud pondered this idea... two sides—something about something— Loons croon— Then he saw the two sides! This sentence, “Loons croon,” is about loons! What about them? They croon! Croon is about loons!
“Do another one,” said Mud, thinking that maybe this wasn’t so loony after all. The loon looked at Mud, and said, “I...will.” “Go ahead,” said Mud. “I...will,” said the loon. “No,” said Mud, “make a sentence.” “I...will,” said the loon. “Do it!” said Mud, getting annoyed. “I...will,” said the loon. “Make a sentence!” pleaded Mud. “I...will,” said the loon. 29
This was too much, but just as Mud was about to jump out of his scales, the loon laughed and said, “Mud, I...will is a sentence!” Mud’s inner light began to glow...
Cow Loon could see Mud was perplexed. “Sentences...are made of words, Mud,” he said, “Do you...know how many kinds of words there are?” “Of course I—no,” Mud admitted. “Two main kinds,” the loon said, “and six others. Like this,” and he drew in the sand again, “They...are called the eight parts of speech!”
“When we...write a sentence,” the loon explained, “the words...make a predicate about a subject. The subject...is what the sentence is about, and the predicate...is about it.”
â€œThe subject of a sentence... is always a noun or pronoun, and a verb...is always the main word of the predicate.â€?
“We...don’t use all eight parts of speech in every sentence,” said the loon. “If we...write, Noisy loons crooned enthusiastically then we...are only using four parts of speech, a noun modiﬁed by an adjective, and a verb modiﬁed by an adverb: Noisy loons crooned enthusiastically adj.
Parts of Speech Abbreviations: n. pron.
adj. v. adv. prep. conj. interj.
adjective verb adverb preposition conjunction interjection 35