A Collection of Nursery Rhymes
The KISS Grammar Workbooks Back to April Menu
(Code and Color Key)

The Clever Hen

Note: If the students are already very comfortable with the analysis of passages such as this one, I would skip the analysis and simply have the students rewrite the text in the present and then in the future tense.

I had a little hen (DO), the prettiest ever seen [#1], |

She washed me (IO) the dishes (DO) and kept the house clean [#2]; |

She went {to the mill} to fetch me some flour [#3], |

She brought it (DO) home [NuA] {in less} {than an hour}; |

She baked me (IO) my bread (DO), | she brewed me (IO) my ale (DO), |

She sat {by the fire} and told many a fine tale (DO). |



Present Tense:
I have a little hen, the prettiest ever seen,
She washes me the dishes and keeps the house clean;
She goes to the mill to fetch me some flour,
She brings it home in less than an hour;
She bakes me my bread, she brews me my ale,
She sits by the fire and tells many a fine tale.
Future Tense:
I will have a little hen, the prettiest ever seen,
She will wash me the dishes and keep the house clean;
She will go to the mill to fetch me some flour,
She will bring it home in less than an hour;
She will bake me my bread, she will brew me my ale,
She will sit by the fire and tell many a fine tale.

Notes
1. "The prettiest" is an appositive to "hen," in effect, a reduction of the subordinate clause "who was the prettiest." "Seen" is a post-positioned adjective to "the prettiest." In effect it is also reduction of a subordinate clause -- "who was ever seen."
2. Expect students to be confused. The KISS explanation of this is that "house" is the subject, and "clean" is a predicate adjective, to an ellipsed infinitive "to be."
3. "Me" in the indirect, and "flour" is the direct object of the infinitive (of purpose) "to fetch." The infinitive is adverbial to "went."

This illustration and poem are from The Real Mother Goose.
Illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1916.