Where Have All The Forwards Gone?

I have a folder on my computer titled “jokes”. They are my favorite forwards that I’ve received over the years. There’s only one problem…I haven’t updated it in years. My email inbox is no longer full of forwards! Where have all the forwards gone? (Cue the Paula Cole music)

It seems as though these forwards have gone on a diet, started dating some images, and moved out of their parents’ inboxes and are now a resurfacing as only a sentence or two as an overlay on a generic image and posted a social media site. They still are being passed around, but with a cool new “share” button rather than the “forward” or “reply all” button that lead to some of their youthful indiscretions.

Don’t you miss forwards like this?

Hello, and thank you for reading this letter. You see, there is a starving little boy in Baklaliviatatlaglooshen who has no arms, no legs, no parents, and no goats. This little boy’s life could be saved, because for every time you pass this on, a dollar will be donated to the Little Starving Legless Armless Goatless Boy from Baklaliviatatlaglooshen Fund. Remember, we have no way of counting letters sent and this is all bull. So go on, reach out. Send this to 5 people in the next 47 seconds. Oh, and a reminder – if you accidentally send this to 4 or 6 people, you will die instantly. Thanks again!!

How about another classic chain letter:

This is the funniest thing in the world! In exactly 87 seconds, you have to send this to 275 people, then if you press (space bar + tab + backspace + page up) a clip will pop up on your screen of a mad goat attacking Bill Gates and butting him into a pile of garbage! I couldn’t stop laughing, even though since I’m typing this I obviously couldn’t have seen it yet, and there is absolutely no way to attach a clip in a way that you have to send the email before you see the clip, it’s still true! And you know what else is true? I am Batman! And if you stay online doing absolutely nothing for one hour after sending this, I’ll email you a gift certificate for five million dollars to spend at Wal-Mart! Just forget the fact that I have no way of finding the email addresses of people who send this out, and the fact that stores will recognize a fake gift certificate. Just send this out, you’ll be glad you did!

I would get chain letters like the following one with so many forward signs, i.e. >>>>>>>, that I could barely read it.

Hi there!! This chain letter has been in existence since 1897. This is absolutely incredible because there was no email then and probably not as many little 8 year olds writing chain letters. So this is how it works. Pass this on to 15,067 people in the next 7 minutes or something horrible will happen to you like:

Stupid Horror Story #1 Miranda Pinsley was walking home from school on Saturday. She had recently received this letter and ignored it. She then tripped in a crack in the sidewalk, fell into the sewer, was gushed down a drain pipe in a flood of sewerage, and went flying out over a waterfall. Not only did she smell nasty, she died. This Could Happen To You!!!

Stupid Horror Story #2 Dexter Bip, a 13-year-old boy, got a chain letter in his mail and ignored it. Later that day, he was hit by a car and so was his girlfriend. They both died. Their families were so upset that everyone related to them (even by marriage) went crazy and pent the rest of their miserable lives in an institution. This Could Happen To You!!! Remember, you could end up like Pinsley and Bip did. Just send this letter to all of your loser friends, and everything will be OK.

Not all the forwards were jokes. The warned me of the email computer viruses. These were so notorious that even Weird Al made a song about them.

VIRUS WARNING!!! If you receive an email entitled “Bad times,” delete it immediately. Do not open it. Apparently this one is pretty nasty. It will not only erase everything on your hard drive, but it will also delete anything on disks within 20 feet of your computer. It de-magnetizes the stripes on ALL of your credit cards. It reprograms your ATM access code, screws up the tracking on your VCR and uses subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD’s you attempt to play. It will re-calibrate your refrigerator’s coolness settings so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. It mixes antifreeze into your aquarium and puts dirty socks on the table when company is coming over. It uses your credit cards, forges your signature, and dates your boy/girlfriend. It will program your phone AutoDial to call only your mother-in-law’s number. It will make mad goats come into your home to raid your refrigerator and soil your furniture. So be careful! Forward this to all of your friends, relatives, neighbors, family, enemies, plumbers, garbage men, stock brokers, doctors, and any other acquaintances! It’s for their own good! Thank you.

Chain letters aren’t the only ones in the folder. There was one that compared work and prison environments.

IN PRISON……….you spend the majority of your time in a 10X10 cell.
AT WORK…………you spend the majority of your time in an 8X8 cubicle.

IN PRISON……….you get three meals a day.
AT WORK…………you get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.

IN PRISON………you get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK…………you get more work for good behavior.

IN PRISON………the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK……….you must often carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN PRISON……….you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK…………you could get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON……….you get your own toilet.
AT WORK………..you have to share the toilet with some people who pee on the seat.

IN PRISON……….they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK…………you aren’t even supposed to speak to your family.

IN PRISON……….all expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK……you get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON………you spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out
AT WORK ………..you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON ……you must deal with sadistic wardens.
AT WORK…………they are called managers


There was another that explained life.

On the first day God created the cow. God said, “You must go to the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years.” The cow said, “That’s a kind of tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty years and I’ll give back the other forty.” And God agreed.

On the second day, God created the dog. God said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years.” The dog said, “That’s too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I’ll give back the other ten.” So God agreed. (sigh).

On the third day God created the monkey. God said, “Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh. I’ll give you a twenty year life span.”  Monkey said, “How boring, monkey tricks for twenty years? I don’t think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that’s what I’ll do too, okay?” And God agreed,  again.

On the fourth day God created man. God said, “Eat, sleep, play, enjoy. Do nothing, just enjoy, enjoy. I’ll give you twenty years.”  Man said, “What? Only twenty years? No way man. Tell you what, I’ll take my twenty, and the forty cow gave back, and the ten dog gave back and the ten monkey gave back. That makes eighty, okay?” “Okay, said God. You’ve got a deal.”

So that is why for the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, enjoy, and do nothing; for the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family; for the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain our grandchildren; and for the last ten years we sit in front of the house and bark at everybody.

Life has now been explained.

I also learned that in my next life, I should be a bear.

In my next life I want to be a bear.  If you’re a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months.  I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid.  I could deal with that, too. If you’re a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake up to partially grown, cute cuddly cubs.  I could definitely deal with that.

If you’re a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too.  I could deal with that.

If you’re a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.  Yup…..Gonna be a bear

I learned about cownomics.

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You retire on the income.

You have two cows. You sell one and force the other to produce the milk of  four cows. You profess surprise when the cow drops dead.

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt-equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows with an option on one more. Sell one cow to buy White House influence, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

You have two cows. You re-engineer them so that they live for 100 years,  eat once a month, and milk themselves
You have two cows. They are both mad.

You have two cows. You don’t know where they are. You break for lunch.

You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge others for storing them.

You have two cows. You redesign them so that they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create cute cartoon cow images called Cowkimon and market them worldwide.

You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 17 cows. You give up counting and open another bottle of vodka.

You have two cows. You worship them.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest anyone reporting the actual numbers.

You have two cows. The one on the left is kinda cute…

I even got life lessons from my “mother”.

What my mother taught me:

My mother taught me to appreciate a job well-done:
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside – I just finished cleaning!”

My mother taught me religion:
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

My mother taught me about time travel: ”
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

My mother taught me logic:
“Because I said so, that’s why.”

My mother taught me foresight:
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

My mother taught me irony:
“Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My mother taught me about the science of osmosis:
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper!”

My mother taught me about contortionism:
“Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck!”

My mother taught me about stamina:
“You’ll sit there ’til all that spinach is eaten.”

My mother taught me about weather:
“It looks as if a tornado swept through your room.”

My mother taught me how to solve physics problems:
“If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you; would you listen then?”

My mother taught me about hypocrisy:
“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times – don’t exaggerate!!!”

My mother taught me the circle of life:
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

My mother taught me about behavior modification:
“Stop acting like your father!”

My mother taught me about envy:
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do!”

There are more in this folder on my computer (well, okay Google Drive), but those rebellious forwards will have to wait for another day.

And if you have more forwards you’d like to see here, feel free to submit it in a guest post!

Owed to a Spell Chequer

I halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plane lee marques four my revue

Miss steaks aye ken knot sea

Eye ran this poem threw it

Your sure reel glad two no

It’s vary polished in it’s weigh

My chequer tolled me sew

A chequer is a bless sing

It freeze yew lodes of thyme

It helps me awl stiles two reed

And aides mi when aye rime

To rite with care is quite a feet

Of witch won should be proud

And wee mussed dew the best wee can

Sew flaws are knot aloud

And now bee cause my spelling

Is checked with such grate flare

Their are know faults with in my cite

Of nun eye am a wear

Each frays come posed up on my screen

Eye trussed to be a joule

The chequer poured o’er every word

To cheque sum spelling rule

That’s why aye brake in two averse

My righting wants too pleas

Sow now ewe sea wye aye dew prays

Such soft wear for pea seas


Author: Joe Tenn, faculty member at Sonoma State University, adapted from Eric Bear Albrecht (with apologies to Percy Dovetonsils.

Palisades Charter High School “Answering Machine Message”

Have you ever seen this forward floating around and wished you could put the same message on your school machine…even for just one day?

“Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:

“To lie about why your child is absent– Press 1

“To make excuses for why your child did not do his work – Press 2

“To complain about what we do – Press 3

“To swear at staff members – Press 4

“To ask why you didn’t get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several fliers mailed to you – Press 5

“If you want us to raise your child – Press 6

“If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone – Press 7

“To request another teacher for the third time this year – Press 8

“To complain about bus transportation – Press 9

“To complain about school lunches – Press 0

“If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that it’s not the teachers’ fault for your child’s lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day!”

It seems so ballsy that it just can’t be true…right?


The message never actually went on the school’s answering service (in 2002 the school did not have touch tone capabilities), but the joke did originate at the school for very real reasons.  Springtime…California….ocean…mountains…and a whole lot of unexcused absences.  The school made a policy to crack down on the sleeping in and the “it’s too nice to go to school, it’s a Beach Day”.  A large number of students failed and parents went wailing to the school board (sound familiar?).  Someone at the school wrote the joke to help ease the tension and frustrations of the staff.  It not only struck a chord with the staff, but with administrators and teachers everywhere.

For more information on the policy and message:

Blair, Julie.   “LAUSD Orders Charter School to Scrap Its Attendance Policy.”    Education Week.  27 March 2002. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2002/03/27/28attend.h21.html>

“Snopes.com: Pacific Palisades High School Answering Machine Message.” Snopes.com. Ed. Barbara Mikkelson and David P. Mikkelson. Urban Legends Reference Pages, 9 July 2009. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/palisades.asp>.

What Do Teacher’s Make?

Read more on Taylor Mali’s humor, philosophies, and teaching lessons in his book, What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover, Kindle edition, and audiobook.  He also has several other books on Amazon as well.

Do You Have Typoglycemia?

Have you heard of typoglycemia?

No?  You sure?  Have you every read this….

“Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

If you can’t read that it says:

According to a research team at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be in the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole.

Wikipedia explains that typoglycemia is a neologism (a word that means a coined term) “given to a purported recent discovery about the cognitive processes behind reading written text….It is an urban legend/Internet meme that appears to have an element of truth to it.”

But Wikipedia points out that although the research is true, it wasn’t Cambridge University.  It was started by a letter written by a guy named Graham Rawlinson from Nottingham University to the New Scientist magazine.  It’s actually his Ph.D thesis – but Rawlinson states you should keep the first two letters and the final two letters of the word.  I tried to read the letter, but I can’t read much without subscribing to the magazine with my credit card.  But there is enough there to legitimize it.  According to the site, the letter was published in the magazine on May 29, 1999.

Unfortunately, as cool as the internet meme and urban legend is, it isn’t actually “true”.  The brain does read words in chunks and recognizes word shapes, which allows people to “speed-read”.  Matt Davis at the MRC Cognition and Brain Science Unit in Cambridge, UK, wrote about the meme and points out several cases in which the rules of the meme are followed, but it is difficult for the brain to decode the word.  Also interesting, Davis has the meme in several different languages.

There’s also some websites that scramble text for you.  Josh Nimroy created “The Cambridge Study Word Scrambler” and several sites use his Creative Common licensed work to create a derivative of the same idea.

So does this mean spelling is important?  Many young people do not think so, thanks in part to instant messengers and text message-speak.  I did not win any spelling bee contests in elementary school – I was the kid who debated whether or not I should purposely misspell the word just so I could sit down and be done with the torturous thing.  I still can’t spell aloud; I need to write it down.  Spell-checkers save me often.  But I would never turn in a final, printed copy of an assignment without looking over it myself for errors.  Spelling correctly is important; there even is a blog dedicated to it, SpellingCity.com.

Update: 1895 8th Grade Exam: True or False

My posts about the validity of the 1895 8th grade exam have become quite popular, in fact the original post 1895 8th Grade Exam: True or False? is the most popular post and second most visited page (Home page is first) on my blog. The subsequent Answers to the 1895 8th Grade Exam is in the top ten posts as well.

With such popularity, I thought I’d dig deeper and find more sources to corroborate the exam.  Additionally, the Tallgrass National Prairie Reserve has restructured their website and the .gov link is no longer valid.

On the restructured Tallgrass National Prairie Reserve’s website, there is more information about the Lower Fox Creek School and the 1895 8th Grade exam.  In fact, the national park has posted the 8th grade exam on their website.  The page even includes the Rules for Teachers and cites it has been “taken from The Country Schools of Kansas, by Bill Samuelson”).  The national park cites the exam “was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS,” and it was “reprinted by the Salina Journal.”

The Tallgrass National Prairie Reserve’s website also has a page with more information about the Lower Fox Creek School.  Although there is no expressed link between the 1895 8th grade exam and the Lower Fox Creek School, the link to the 8th grade exam is at the bottom of the page for Lower Fox Creek School, leading me to believe the connection is still being made.  As stated on the national park’s website, the school is a historic landmark – a one room schoolhouse near Strong City, KS.  The 1895 exam was given in a one-room schoolhouse in Salinas, KS.  The two cities are close to one another.  You can also learn more about the students and teachers (including their salaries!) of the Lower Fox Creek School from another link on the national park’s website.

But amongst all this proof of existence of the exam, one fact is actually missing.  The exam does not specifically state “8th Grade exam”.  The 1895 8th grade exam page on TruthOrFiction.com points out this very important fact.  The exam exists and the time period is correct, but the site points out that the exam could have been for adults or more specifically, for teachers.  Take a look at the following pictures from TruthOrFiction.com.

photograph of exam title

Actual Photograph of the Title of the Exam


document administered to applicants

From TruthOrFiction.com, “The document describes itself as being administered orally and for “applicants.” Unless eight graders were described as “applicants,” it makes one wonder if the exam was actually for newly graduated teachers”


So what does this all mean? Is it true or false?

Well, I would call it somewhat true.  The exam exists.  There are more than enough credible sources that authentic the existence of the exam.  The date of 1895 is correct, in fact, we can be even more specific with the images from TruthOrFiction.com and state it was given on April 13, 1895.  But as to whether or not it was given to 8th graders, that cannot be confirmed as the grade level is not listed on the exam.  We can deduce that in 1895, most students did not make it past the primary school and many graduated after the 8th grade since compulsory education ended at 14 (8th year) at that time [For more history on the US Education system, read its Wikipedia page].

In other words, the exam says “Examination Graduation” and since graduation occurred at the end of the 7th or 8th grade years in 1895, we could deduce that this exam is completely, 100% true.

Homonyms and Homographs

This was forwarded to me, so sadly, I do not take credit for it, nor do I know who wrote it.  Nevertheless, it is funny to share some examples of homonyms and homographs (words that sound the same but have different meanings that may or may not be spelled different).


You think English is easy??

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8 ) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

Answers to the 1895 8th Grade Exam

Through a website, Digital History, I found the answers to the 1895 8th Grade Exam that I mentioned on April 13, 2010.  Some of you had mentioned you were interested in finding out the answers so here they are!  To see my original post about the exam, click here.  **Update** For updated links and more information, see the post Update: 1895 8th Grade Exam: True or False.

Mintz, S. (2007). Digital History. Retrieved 22 July 2010 from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu.

GRAMMAR (Time, one hour)

1. Give the nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

  • Always capitalize the first letter in a sentence or sentence fragment
  • Always capitalize the first letter in a direct quotation
  • Always capitalize the first letter in a direct question within a sentence
  • Always capitalize the first letter in a line of poetry
  • Always capitalize the first letter in proper nouns, including registered trademarks, names of treaties, geological eras, planets, courts of law, the days of the week, and genera in zoology and botany
  • Always capitalize the first letter in titles of books, magazines, newspapers, movies, works of art, and music, except for conjunctions, prepositions, and articles (Gone With the Wind)
  • Always capitalize the first letter in the names of ships, aircraft, and spacecraft (e.g., Sputnik)
  • Always capitalize the first letter in peoples’ names (e.g. John Smith)
  • Always capitalize the first letter in a title preceding a person’s name (e.g., Mr.)
  • Always capitalize the first letter in words designating the Deity (e.g. God)
  • Always capitalize the pronoun “I”

2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.

  • Noun: A word used in a sentence as a subject or object of a very or a preposition.
  • Pronoun: A word used as a substitute for a noun and which refers to a person or thing.
  • Adjectives: A word that modifies a noun.
  • Verb: A word that expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being.

3. Define:

  • Verse: A line of metric writing
  • Stanza: A series of lines within a poem that are arranged together and usually involve a recurring pattern of meter and rhyme.
  • Paragraph: A subdivision of a written composition consisting of one or more sentences dealing with one point or giving the words of one speaker.

4. What are the principal parts of a verb?

Transitive, intransitive, past, present, future, conditional, subjunctive

Give the principal parts of do, lie, lay, and run.

  • Did, do, doing, shall do
  • Lied, lie, lying, shall lie
  • Lay, lay, laying, shall lay
  • Ran, run, running, shall run

5. Define Case.

A change in the form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective indicating its grammatical relation to other words.

Illustrate each case.

Near, nearer, nearest

6. What is Punctuation?

Dividing a written matter with punctuation marks.

Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.

  • Comma: Separates main clauses joined by a conjunction; separates words in a series; sets off an adverbial clause.
  • Semicolon: Links main clauses not joined by conjunctions.
  • Colon: Introduces a clause that explains or amplifies what has gone on before.
  • Period: Terminates a sentence.
  • Hyphen: Used in some compound words.
  • Question mark: Terminates a direct question.
  • Exclamation point: Terminates an emphatic phrase or sentence.
  • Apostrophe: Indicates the possessive case or omissions in contracted words.
  • Parentheses: Sets off supplementary material.
  • Quotation marks: Enclose direct quotations.

7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, one hour)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

  • Arithmetic is the branch of mathematics that deals with real numbers.
  • Addition: Combining numbers to obtain an equivalent quantity.
  • Subtraction: Deducting one number from another.
  • Division: Dividing one number by another.
  • Multiplication: Adding an integer a specified number of times.

2. A wagon box is 2 feet deep, 10 feet long, and 3 feet wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?


3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 pounds, what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu., deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

The net weight of the wheat is 2,892 pounds. A bushel of wheat weighs about 60 pounds. The correct answer is $24.10.

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

1.3 percent

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.


6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.


7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at 20 cents per sq. foot?


8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

Bank discount is the bank charge made for payment of a note prior to maturity, expressed as a percentage of the note’s face value. Discount is subtracted from the principal before the borrower receives the money. A person who borrows $300 at a discount rate of 10 percent for 90 days would receive only $270.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?

There are 160 acres in this farm for a total cost of $2400.
See an animation of the solution to this problem.

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 Minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

  • The Colonial Era
  • The Revolutionary Era
  • The Critical Period
  • The Early National Era
  • The Jeffersonian Era
  • The Antebellum Era
  • The Civil War Era
  • The Gilded Age
    Later periods of American History include:
  • The Progressive Era
  • World War I
  • The Interwar Era
  • World War II
  • The Postwar Era

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

In 1492, the Italian-born Columbus captained three ships westward, seeking a water-route to the Spice Islands. After three months, he encountered land in the Caribbean.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

Causes of the Revolution include the British decision to levy taxes in the colonies without the colonists consent; the stationing of troops in the colonies; the imposition of restrictions on colonial trade, manufacturing, and westward expansion; and infringement of the colonists’ legal rights and liberties. Consequences of the Revolution include the emancipation of slaves in many northern states and the adoption of graduate emancipation schemes in other states in the North; the disestablishment of churches in most states; the adoption of new state constitutions; and rapid westward expansion.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

A correct answer would include the purchase of Louisiana Territory from France; the annexation of Texas; the acquisition of the Pacific Northwest as a result of negotiations with Britain; the Mexican War; the Gadsden Purchase; the purchase of Alaska from Russia; and the annexation of Hawaii.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

A correct answer would include the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened Kansas to white settlement and the contest between pro-slavery and free soil forces to control Kansas’ territorial legislature.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

  • The First Battle of Bull Run: The first full-scale battle of the Civil War, which took place in Northern Virginia not far from Washington, dashed Union hopes for a quick military victory.
  • Antietam: This battle, which witnessed the bloodiest day of the Civil War, halted a Confederate offensive into the North and led President Lincoln to issue his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Gettysburg: The largest battle in the history of the Western Hemisphere ended the Confederacy’s ability to wage an offensive war in the North and removed the threat of foreign intervention in the conflict.

7. Who were the following:

  • Morse: A prominent artist and nativist who invented the telegraph.
  • Whitney: The inventor of the cotton gin also helped popularize the American System of standardized parts and mass production.
  • Fulton: Demonstrated the practicality of steam-powered navigation.
  • Bell: A teacher of the deaf who invented the telephone.
  • Lincoln: The 16th President of the United States led the Union during the Civil War and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which transformed the conflict into a war to liberate the slaves.
  • Penn: The Quaker founder of Pennsylvania colony.
  • Howe: An inventor of the sewing machine.

8. Name the events connected with the following dates:

  • 1607: The founding of Jamestown, Britain’s first enduring colonial settlement.
  • 1620: The landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.
  • 1800: The election of Thomas Jefferson as the third president marks the first transfer of power from one political party to another.
  • 1849: The discovery of gold in California the previous year led some 80,000 ’49ers to migrate into the territory.
  • 1865: The defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following:

  • Alphabet: A set of letters or characters with which a language is written.
  • Phonetic: Representing the sounds of speech.
  • Orthography: The representation of a language by written letters or symbols.
  • Etymology: The history of a word.
  • Syllabication: The division of words into syllables.

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

The elementary sounds are the basic sounds of speech.

3. What are the following, and give examples of each:

  • Trigraph: a cluster of three successive letters
  • Subvocals: The occurrence in the mind of words without vocal articulation.
  • Diphthong: A sound (such as the last sound in the word “toy”) that starts at the position of one vowel and moves toward another.
  • Cognate: Words related by descent from the same ancestral language.
  • Linguals: Sounds produced by the tongue.

4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u.’

  • ie (view)
  • ew (blew)
  • oo (food)
  • ou (through)

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e.’ Name two exceptions under eachrule.

  • A single long vowel followed by a consonant (other than w or y) is often followed by a final ‘e.’ (example: crude or prove; exception: love or above)
  • Two consonants followed by a long ‘e’ at the end of a word often include two “e”‘s. (example: free or tree; exceptions: brie or monkey)

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

Pneumonia; knight

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word:

  • Bi: two parts; bicycle
  • Dis: opposite or deprive of; disagreeable
  • Mis: badly, unfavorable, or not; mistrust
  • Pre: earlier or prior to; prehistoric
  • Semi: half or partly; semi-circle
  • Post: after or subsequent; posthumous
  • Non: not or reverse of: nonpaying
  • Inter: between or occurring among: intermarriage
  • Mono: alone, single, or containing one: monotheistic
  • Super: above or over; superscript

8. Mark diacritically and divided into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound:

  • Ball ‘bol
  • Mercy ‘m&r-sE
  • Sir ‘s&r
  • Cell ‘sel
  • Rise ‘rIz
  • Blood ‘bl&d
  • Fare ‘far
  • Last ‘last

A glossary of pronunciation terms:

  • Accent marks: a mark used to indicate stress or pitch.
  • Diaeresis: Two dots placed side-by-side over a vowel to indicate that a vowel is considered a separate vowel, even though it would normally be considered part of a diphthong.
  • Digraph: A series of two letters that constitute a single sound not predicted by combining the two letters.
  • Diphthong: A sound that start at the position for one vowel and moves toward the position of another.
  • Long and short vowels: Vowel-containing sounds that are long or short in duration.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences,

  • Cite: Cite the proper source.
    Site: The landing site was on the western coast.
    Sight: It was a beautiful sight.
  • Fane: (temple or church) To the east is a fane.
    Fain: (happy or inclined) He was fain to go to the party.
    Feign: (to give a false impression) He feigned death.
  • Vane: (an object showing the direction of the wind) There was a weather vane on the roof.
    Vain: You are so vain.
    Vein: Blood flows through her veins.
  • Raze: The construction workers razed the barn in order to build a new house.
    Raise: She raised the flag.
    Rays: He enjoys the sun’s rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate?

The condition of the weather at a particular place.

Upon what does climate depend?

On the season, the temperature, wind velocity, the degree of cloud cover, and precipitation, among other factors.

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

The state’s physical location. Cold air from the north moves easily across the Kansas plains during the winter, and hot winds blow from the south in the summer.

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

Rivers offer a source of drinking water, water power, and transportation routes. The ocean also provides a transportation route.

4. Describe the mountains of North America.

Major mountain ranges include the Appalachians, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Cascades.

5. Name and describe the following:

  • Monrovia: The capital of Liberia.
  • Odessa: City and port in southern Ukraine on the Black Sea.
  • Denver: The capital of Colorado.
  • Manitoba: A Canadian province.
  • Hecla: A volcano in southwest Iceland.
  • Yukon: A territory in northwest Canada between Alaska and British Columbia.
  • St. Helena: An island in the South Atlantic.
  • Juan Fernandez: A group of three islands in the southeast Pacific west of Chile
  • Aspinwall: A city in western Pennsylvania.
  • Orinoco: A river flowing from the Brazilian border to the Columbian border and into the Atlantic.

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capitals of each.

Examples include:

  • Britain (London)
  • Finland (Helsinki)
  • France (Paris)
  • Germany (Berlin)
  • Italy (Rome)
  • Netherlands (Hague)
  • Sweden (Stockholm)

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

Because of the routes of the ocean currents.

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

Through evaporation and precipitation.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

The earth spins on its axis once a day. It spins around the sun once a year. The earth’s inclination is 23.45 degrees.