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5.9 Embedded Thoughts: Fun With Grammar

from Accordion Crimes (Scribner, 1996)
—by E. Annie Proulx

It was as though some great spatula had scraped through Italy and deposited this crust of humans on the edge of the oily harbor, the squirming crowd a thousand times greater than at the train station. Everywhere were people standing and bending, a man wrapped in a dirty blanket and dozing on the stones, with his head on a suitcase and a knife in his lax hand, crying children, women folding dark coats, anxiously retying cords around scarred cases, men seated on baskets of possessions and gnawing heels of bread, old women in black, scarves knotted under their bristly chins, and running boys, clothes flapping, insane with excitement. He did not join them, only watched.

Here is the next paragraph from Accordian Crimes, by E. Annie Proulx. Read it aloud, emphasizing any verbals that you find. Many of these end in -ed.

Hour after hour the noisy, dragging mass shuffled up the gangplank onto the ship lugging bundles and portmanteaus, parcels and canvas telescope bags. The line of people hitched along the deck to a table where a pockmarked official counted off groups of eight, families sundered, strangers joined, all the same to him, gave the tallest man in each group a numbered ticket that signified their place at mess call. These eight, familiar or unknown to one another, were bound together by this meal ticket over thousands of miles of water. In the accordion maker's group was a disagreeable old woman with a face like a half-moon, and her two jabbering nephews.

If you like what you've read so far, look up the book in your library and read the whole thing.

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