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

Elizabeth, Eliza, Betsy, and Bess

Elizabeth, Eliza, Betsy, and Bess,

     All [#1] went together to seek a bird's nest [#2]. |

They found a bird's nest (DO) {with five eggs} {in it}. |

     They all took one (DO), and left four (DO) {in it}. |

1. At this KISS Level, the easiest way to explain "All" is simply as an adjective to the four preceding names. It can also be explained as an appositive to those names, but there is no reason to distract students at this level with discussions of appositives.
2. "Nest" is the direct object of the infinitive "to seek." The infinitive functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "went."
Notes on Punctuation
     The periods, of course, end sentences. The first three commas in the first line separate items in a series. The comma after "Bess" is optional, but in the poem it effectively ends the line and separates the specific names from the generalizing "all." The comma after "one" in the last line is optional, and I would expect many students not to insert it. Note that it does have a function in terms of maintaining the metrical rhythm -- It ensures a mid-line break in the middle of the last line, comparable to the breaks in the preceding two lines. The apostrophe in "bird's," of course, indicates possession.

This illustration and poem are from Mother Goose Gems (McLoughlin Bros., 1904).