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1912 Grammar Test for 8th Graders

Would you pass this grammar test that 8th graders were given in 1912? Take the test and check your answers here!

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1912 Grammar Test
    1. How many parts of speech are there? Define each.

    2. Define proper noun; common noun. Name the properties of a noun.

    3. What is a personal pronoun? Decline I.

    4. What properties have verbs?

    5. "William struck James." Change the voice of the verb.

    6. Adjectives have how many degrees of comparison? Compare good; wise; beautiful.

    7. Diagram: The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.

    8. Parse all the words in the following sentences: John ran over the bridge. Helen's parents love her.

This grammar section is just one of the subjects that 8th graders were tested on. You can see the rest of the test here


Check Your Answers Here

I don't have an official copy of the answers for this test, but I do know grammar, so here are my unofficial answers! 

1. How many parts of speech are there? Define each.


There are eight parts of speech.
    1. Nouns name people, places, things, or ideas.

    2. Pronouns take the place of nouns.

    3. Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns.

    4. Verbs name actions or states of being.

    5. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

    6. Prepositions show the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and some other word in the rest of the sentence.

    7. Conjunctions join two or more words, phrases, or clauses.

    8. Interjections show excitement or emotion. They are not grammatically related to the rest of the sentence.

Learn more about the eight parts of speech here.

2. Define proper noun; common noun. Name the properties of a noun.


Proper nouns name specific people, places, things, or ideas.

Sam, Paris, Nike, Rex

Common nouns name non-specific people, places, things, or ideas.

person, city, company, dog

Properties is referring to what characteristics or attributes nouns have. 


Properties of a Noun
  • Case (subject, object, possessive)

  • Gender (masculine, feminine, neuter)

  • Number (singular, plural)

  • Person (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person)

Learn more about common nouns and proper nouns here.


3. What is a personal pronoun? Decline I.


Personal pronouns take the place of common and proper nouns.

Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives have different forms depending on the number, case, and gender of the word. Decline means to state these different forms.

Personal pronouns have three modified forms based on the purpose that the pronoun has in the sentence.

I've added an example sentence for you after each declension. (Isn't that a fancy word?!) 


I (subject)
I ate pancakes for breakfast.

me (object)
My mom hugged me.

mine (possessive)
The brown dog is mine.

4. What properties have verbs?

Isn't this question worded in an interesting way? 

Properties here is referring to what characteristics or attributes verbs have. 


Verbs have five properties.
    1. Person (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person)

    2. Number (singular or plural)

    3. Tense (indicates time)

    4. Voice (active, passive)

    5. Mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative)

Learn more about verb tenses here.


5. "William struck James."
Change the voice of the verb.

This sentence is written in the active voice. This means that the subject is performing the action.

Changing the voice means changing this sentence into the passive voice. After we do that, the subject will be acted upon.


William struck James.

That sentence is in the active voice.

James was struck by William.

That sentence is in the passive voice.

Learn more about active voice and passive voice here.


6. Adjectives have how many degrees of comparison?
Compare good; wise; beautiful.

Adjectives (and adverbs) can have different degrees. That means that things can have more or less of an adjective's quality. 


Adjectives (and adverbs) have three forms, but only two of them show comparison.

The two forms used to show comparison are superlative and comparative. (The third form is positive.)

The positive form of an adjective is the one we use when we are not comparing things.

The weather is hot.

We use comparative forms when we are comparing two things. 

The weather in Tahiti is hotter than the weather in California. 

We use superlative forms when we are comparing three or more things.

The Sahara Desert's weather is the hottest.

Positive Comparative Superlative
good better best
wise wiser wisest
beautiful more beautiful most beautiful

Learn more about comparative & superlative adjectives here.


7. Diagram:
The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.

Sentence diagrams show you how the words in a sentence are related to each other. They are pretty cool.

Learn more about diagramming sentences here.


8. Parse all the words in the following sentences: John ran over the bridge. Helen's parents love her.

Parsing means analyzing a sentence word by word.

This used to be the main way to test a student's knowledge of grammar. When sentence diagramming was introduced, teachers saw it as a major time-saver!

John ran over the bridge.

John is a proper noun. It is the subject of the sentence.

Ran is an intransitive verb.

Over the bridge is a prepositional phrase modifying the verb. It answers the question, "Where did John run?"

Over is a preposition; bridge is the object of the preposition, and the is an adjective telling us which bridge.

Helen's parents love her.

Parents is a common noun. It is the subject of the sentence.

Helen's is a possessive noun functioning as an adjective modifying parents.

Love is a transitive verb.

Her is an objective pronoun. It is the direct object of the verb love.

How did it go? I hope you had fun taking a peek into the past!


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