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Lost & Found: You Know What’s Funky? Verbs!

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The classic American writer Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” And no word choice bears more influence on the effectiveness of one’s writing than which verb you choose. Verbs are where the action is, you dig? OK, we’ll stop trying to make learning about writing cool. Luckily, today’s video already made verbs one of the coolest things you’ll learn about today.

This ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ episode is all about verbs, and it informs viewers through the use of a damn fine song. The verbs episode is one of the franchise’s lesser-known cartoons. Everybody knows about ‘Conjunction Junction,’ at least enough to reply with “What’s your function?” And ‘I’m Just a Bill’ has been parodied by everywhere from ‘The Simpsons’ to ‘The Daily Show.’ But little attention is paid to the poor verbs episode, which might be one of the best episodes ever.

As the song says, “Verb — that’s what’s happening!” Really, the song sums it up about as perfectly as is possible. “When I use my imagination, I think, I plot, I plan, I dream,” the song says, before taking a more spiritual turn — “… turning toward creation!” But the song does stay on point, explaining all the special powers verbs have, kinda like the superhero in the cartoon.

The hand-drawn animation and the soul song are what really make this cartoon so awesome. We don’t mean to sound likes grumpy curmudgeons here, pining wistfully for “the good ol’ days,” but sometimes it’s cool to watch something that you know involved a lot of ink- and paint-covered hands working all day with an India ink pen or a small paint brush on animation cells.

Next: Lost & Found: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Zombie Shopping Trip, Minus Ted

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