What’s wrong with this sentence? She are going to the library to check out a book.
Pretty obvious. You probably know why it’s wrong even if you forget your elementary school grammar lessons. The subject and the verb don’t agree. They aren’t in harmony, so to speak.
Here’s another one.
Since I started traveling to different planets, Martians who wear purple polka dot pants gives me joy!
Remember this stuff? The subject — Martians — and the verb — gives. You can hear they don’t agree.
Change the verb to give. Voila. Harmony.
I’m pretty much a grammar nerd, so I don’t usually make obvious grammatical mistakes. But sometimes when I’m rushing, I get it wrong. The result? Something’s off, not right. Jarring. Disharmonious.
That’s true on paper and in my life. Ouch.
And it’s usually when I am in a hurry.
- I get lazy with my words and my actions.
- I don’t see the verb-ing.
- Maybe I don’t want to see the verb-ing.
- I don’t know the subject.
- Maybe I don’t want to know the subject.
- Maybe I don’t know how to find the harmony.
What if I apply these elementary grammar rules to the disharmony around me?
I’m working on it, taking time to see, really see, the subject. A sad friend. An anxious neighbor. The angry cashier at the grocery store.
Then pausing to find the verb-ing. What’s really going on here? Why is my neighbor so anxious? Why is the cashier so frustrated? And then figuring out what I can do. Maybe there won’t always be agreement. But what if I shift my own verb-ing, my own be-ing ever so slightly?
A smile. Five minutes to listen. A note of encouragement. I can do a little verb-ing.
Perhaps then here will be harmony, music, beauty.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” Colossians 3:14 (ESV).
This post is linked up at Five Minute Friday where writers encourage each other and share their free-writing weekly.