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The order in which most children acquire morphemes.

1. Progressive -ing

The present progressive is formed by combining the verb "to be" with the present participle. (The present participle is merely the -ing form of a verb.)

• He is walk-ing; She was talk-ing

• Not to be confused with gerunds or adjectives

2. Plural -s

• Regular plurals: balloon-s; dog-s

• Does not include words that can't
alternate to singular form

3. Preposition IN

• Ball in the cup

• Picture in the book

• Cat in the cookie jar

4. Preposition ON

• Cat on the couch

• Dog on the sofa

5. Possessive -s

• Armand's book; Maggie's washrag

• Doesn't include possessive pronouns:
his, hers, its yours, ours, theirs

6. Regular past -ed

• He smash-ed the grapefruit

• Not to be confused with participles
or participle adjectives

7. Irregular past

• She went home; It broke

• Includes: did, had
BUT NOT: were, was

8. Regular 3rd person singular present tense -s

• She like-s kitties; He shake-s the maracas

• 3rd person singular subjects:
he, she, it, the dog, my nose

9. Articles a, an, the

• THE big worm with A green head on AN apple.

These are the only three articles in English:
• a, an = indefinite articles
• the = definite article

10. Contractible copula

A set of BE morphemes: am, are, is 'm, 're, 's

• He IS a friend; IT'S windy; I AM awesome

• "copula" = use of the verb BE as the
main verb (followed by a NP or AdjP
rather than a progressive verb)

11. Contractible auxiliary

BE: am, are, is, 'm, 're, 's

• It's raining; I'm studying;

• "auxiliary" = use of BE as the helping
verb followed by a VERB-ing VP

• Always {PRES} BE form

12. Uncontractible copula

BE: am, are, is, was, were

• This is it; He was tired

• Grammatical and phonetic uncontractability

13. Uncontractible auxiliary

• am, are, is, was, were

• This is sleeping; He was sleeping

14. Irregular 3rd person

• has, does

• Include main verb and an auxiliary

• She HAS to go home;
He DOESN'T like that, DOES he?

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