A Completed 8th Grade Final Exam
Salina, Kansas, 1895
Here is a completed 8th Grade Final Exam -- Subject: Grammar
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
- Capitalize the first word in a sentence.
- Capitalize the pronoun I and the interjection O.
- Capitalize the first word in a quotation.
- Capitalize the first word in a direct question falling within a sentence.
- Capitalize all nouns referring to the deity and to the Bible and other sacred books.
- Use a capital letter for President and Presidency when these refer to the office of President of the United States.
- Use a capital letter for official titles before the names of officials.
- Capitalize proper nouns and adjectives formed from proper nouns.
- Capitalize every word, except conjunctions, articles, and short prepositions in the titles of works of literature, music, art, books, etc. The first word of a title is always capitalized.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
- Article Articles, interjections, conjunctions, and prepositions have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza, and Paragraph.
- Verse - A sequence of words arranged metrically according to some system of design; a single line of poetry.
- Stanza - A group of lines of verse forming one of the divisions of a poem or song. It is typically made of four or more lines of verse and typically has a regular pattern in the number of lines and the arrangement of meter and rhyme.
- Paragraph - A distinct section or subdivision of a chapter, letter, etc. usually dealing with a particular point. It is begun on a new line, often indented.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
For verb forms regarded as regular and not normally indicated include:
- Present tenses formed by adding -s to the infinitive (or -es after o, s, x, z, ch, and sh) as waits, searches;
- Past tenses and past participles formed by simply adding -ed to the infinitive with no other changes in the verb form, as waited, searched;
- Present participles formed by simply adding -ing to the infinitive with no other changes in the verb form, as waiting, searching;
These are all irregular verbs.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
- a.) In English syntax the term "case" refers to the subjective (or nominative), objective, and possessive forms of pronouns and the possessive form of nouns.
- I is the subjective (or nominative) case of the personal pronoun, me is the objective case, and my or mine are the possessive case.
- Example: Mary's is the possessive case of Mary showing ownership by Mary herself.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
- Punctuation - the act, practice or system of using standardized marks in writing and printing in separate sentences or sentence elements, or to make the meaning clearer.
- The Period [.] - use a period at the end of declarative sentences, indirect questions and most imperative sentences, after most abbreviations. Do no use a period at the end of a title of a book, article, poem, etc.; In a typed manuscript, abbreviations and the initials of names do not have spacing after the periods, i.e., U.S.A., T.S.Eliot, e.g.
- The Question Mark [?] - use a question mark at the end of a direct question, after each query in a series if you wish to emphasize each element. Use a question mark enclosed in parentheses to express doubt about a word, fact or number. Do not use a question mark at the end of an indirect question.
- The Exclamation Mark [!} - use the exclamation mark after a particularly forceful interjection or imperative sentence.
- The Semicolon [;] - Use a semicolon between two independent clauses when they are not joined by a coordinating conjunction; to separate clauses joined only by conjunctive adverbs.
- The Colon [:] - Use a colon before a long formal quotation, formal statement, or a list of items. Use a colon after a main clause when the succeeding clause or clauses explain the first clause.
- The Dash [-] - Use a dash to indicate an abrupt break in the structure of the sentence or an unfinished statement. Use a dash to set off a summary or a long appositive.
- Parentheses [()] - Use parentheses to enclose material that is explanatory, supplementary, or exemplifying. Use parentheses to enclose cross-references.
- Quotation Marks [" "] - Use quotation marks to enclose all direct quotations. Use single quotation marks [' '] to enclose a quotation within another quotation. Use quotation marks to enclose words spoken of as words, words used in special senses, or words emphasized.
- The Apostrophe ['] - Use the apostrophe to indicate the possessive case of the noun or pronoun. Use the apostrophe to indicate the omission of letters or figures. Use the apostrophe to indicate the plurals of figures, letters, and words referred to as such, i.e., Watch your p's and q's. There are too many "and's" in your sentence.
- The Hyphen [-] - Use the hyphen to divide a word at the end of a line. Use a hyphen between parts of a compound modifier preceding a noun.
7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Language can be thought of as articulate mind, as the means of becoming human, as the record of wit at play, as the right hand of thought, or as a great reservoir of symbol, but as a working tool it results from the use mankind has made of it.
Literally, no one can discover how a language is being employed, since language is always changing, and the shifts and appearances only become apparent later. Practically, however, we have devices for discovering what a language has been, what it is now, and even what it is becoming.
Not always has man improved his language. As more widespread communication between peoples comes to pass, most languages are losing their "purity", becoming a polyglot of the many. This is not all bad. Each people and language have something to give, something to share, and something to take, to enrich the lives of all mankind.
--- end of 1895 8th Grade Final Exam and Answers in Grammar.
Time to take this exam: 1 hour
First, after reading these questions and answers, I realized how much was expected of children in the past. Second, while I've been able to determine that the test is real and from 1895, I have not been able to find out who wrote these answers. And yes, my friends, I had to look them up to make sure they are correct -- and they are.
As for the questions that we all must have regarding how well we would do taking this 1895 8th Grade Final Exam? Well, I would have failed. And do I think a 4-year college student today can pass this exam? Or do I think teachers today would pass this exam? Frankly, I don't know if they would be able to pass this test.
The reason that many would fail this test today has to do with our focus in regards to priorities in education today versus years ago. We used to say the basics were vital. Today, the notion of what constitutes "the basics" has changed. It's doesn't seem as though reading, writing, and arithmetic are the focus. Instead, the focus today has to do more with what the government believes children should be taught in the way of social changes.
Lastly, I have to wonder why 8th Grade children in 1895 were able to pass this test versus 8th Graders today? Have we allowed things to change for the worst? Is it because the government had no input in the education system in 1895 versus their control over what children are learning today?
Just some things to think about.
More to come!