Stumped by a 10 year old in class

A few days back a student asked me what sort of words were ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’, ‘were’.

My mind went blank. Aren’t they English words?! I stared dumbly at the pair of twinkly, inquisitive eyes, and silently struggled for something wise to say.

But wise words did not come. Realization hit me instead – she was asking for their classification. Oh horror of horrors, I didn’t know it!

I told her I would get back to her and hurriedly went off to consult my good friend, Google.

Auxiliary verbs. That is what they are called. There are a bunch of others – Irregular verbs, past perfect tenses, possessive pronouns. Argh, grammar rules that I have long forgotten are back to haunt me!

I am so glad the kids are rather forgiving at this age. I made it through last week and this short week without further queries – by the skin on my teeth!

In the meantime, I need to review grammar rules.

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