The absolutely basics about the USA

The governing body of the American democracy is the Congress. It comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is located in the Capitol Hill, showed in the picture above.


Many researchers derive democracy from ancient Greece. How could we compare ancient Greece and modern America? Ancient Greeks actually developed a proto-democracy: they happened to have kings and queens, depended heavily on military leaders and bequeathed elitism. America is a democracy. There have been no kings or queens of the USA. The head of the state is the President. The President resides in the White House.



Both the Congress and the White House are in Washington D.C. that is, the city named Washington in the District of Columbia. Washington D.C. is the capital of the USA.


District Columbia is on the American East Coast.


The state of Washington is on the West Coast.


We can get maps of the USA at the National Atlas website,
We usually tell the name of our location along with the name of the state, if we give our address in America.


Washington state got its name after George Washington, the first American president. The state is the only American state named after a president.



There are many places named Washington in America. George Washington remains a very prominent figure. He fought for American freedom in the Revolutionary War against England. He was President in years 1789-1797, after the War.


The American Revolutionary War had its written formulation
in the Declaration of Independence.

Link to post on the Declaration


The Revolutionary victory brought another historic formulation,
the American Constitution.



American government was built “from scratch” by the Founding Fathers. Some, as Thomas Jefferson, described their perspectives on the State. Elective monarchy patterns as of Poland, for example, did not win ground. Poland was a chronically fallen country. The monarch was a lifetime position, and commoners hardly had civil rights. Hereditary monarchy forms as of England obviously did not offer any better security for the freedom of the people.


James Madison wrote,


The constitutional reallocation of powers created a new form of government, unprecedented under the sun. Every previous national authority either had been centralized or else had been a confederation of sovereign states. The new American system was neither one nor the other; it was a mixture of both.[38]


The “new form of government” is democracy,
only by far more advanced than Greek prototypes.

Compare the History US site,

Video: America gets a constitution



Language form

Without a piece of thought about language form, we could not learn any language. Let us think what language form is. Different languages have different ways to name objects of thought. For example, we can say a dog in English. In German, we can say ein Hund. In French, we can say un chien. In Greek, we could say σκυλος. In Russian, we could say собака.




All these words have different forms, but they refer to or indicate the same object that we name a dog in English.We may use word forms in more than one sense. In the picture above, we can see Jemma’s dog. We would not have Buddie for a hot dog (!)

Hot dog


A cat in English can be eine Katze in German. It can be un chat in French. A cat can be γάτα or γάτος in Greek. It can be кот in Russian.




A chat can be a conversation, in English. A gat can be a channel or passage. Kot can be a Yeniseian language. Language forms happen to differ. Language forms also happen to be very similar. We always need to know the language and the context, to see what the language form denotes: a picture of a cat is not a cat.


Language form is always a word form. In language psychology, we have “body language” for a figure of speech. There is no language without syntax. Our bodies could not work for syntax (!)


We can use virtual words, to work on language form. Invented or virtual words are closest to non-existent words. They have word shapes, but they have no meaning. They can help exercise syntax. Children invent words spontaneously, to practice language.


Try the virtual words and color code.

Link to the color code and virtual words

The American bald eagle

The name Haliaeetus leucocephalus, derives from Greek hali “sea”, aiētos “eagle”, leuco “white”, cephalos “head”. Literally, the name is the white-haded sea eagle.


The name “bald eagle” correlates with figurative classic Latin reference for the word leucos, as in literary descriptions of “barren, wintry lands”. Bald eagles do not migrate for winter, and US Alaska has the biggest population of them in the world.


We can view images of the white-haded sea eagle over Wikimedia Commons, and read about it in Wikipedia.


The bald eagle is a national symbol of the United States of America. The Continental Congress included the bird in the Great Seal, in 1782.


Not everyone was happy with the choice. Benjamin Franklin wrote in one of his letters,


For my own part. I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly … besides, he is a rank coward: The little king bird not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district.


Bald eagles have been termed “opportunistic feeders”, indeed (Wikipedia). The term means they adapt to habitats. Preying on fish is actually easy to the birds, and well, we hardly could expect whaling, by any bird at all.

If we are curious about American landscapes and habitats, we can go the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website


As regards courage, we should not expect bald eagles to fight in extents or areas they do not recognize for own or important. However, it might be very dangerous to try approaching a nest, when the parents are around.


Bald eagle nestlings


All bald eagles and golden eagles are under the Protection Act. Federal laws forbid damaging, disturbing, possession, or trading of the American eagle. Bald eagles hatch reliant on temperatures. They may hatch in spring or fall, dependent on the geographical area.


The American bald eagle symbolizes good language skills, in our grammar course. If we are curious about the species, we can get more American bald eagle information at


We also can support the species financially, with the American Eagle Foundation,



Colors can help read and learn

We can use a color code, to make reading and learning easier. We use colors when the words are of focus. Let us begin with verbs. We color auxiliary verbs green and head verbs mauve.


Some verb forms can work as head verbs as well as auxiliaries. Our head verbs can head verb phrases. They tell the activity or faculty. Auxiliaries always require another verb. They help tell the language pattern, for example Simple, Progressive, or Perfect (see Subchapter 3.1.)




We could say,

I am a learner;
I am learning.


We also could say,
I have a grammar book;
I have learned grammar.


To avoid confusion, we can use invented words. Virtual words can be fun. Kids use them regularly, following own natural intuitions to make language patterns easier to work out. We can use the trick when we are older, too.



In our exercises, we usually begin with virtual word practice, and only then we work on real words: we focus on meaning better, when language structure is not a problem.


We can try a virtual form “bimo” for an invented verb. We use “bimo” with the forms and in the places for head verbs. This can help us focus on syntax.
I am bimoing.
I have bimoed.


We can have two invented verbs, bimo and thimo, as well as two invented nouns, phimo and reemo. Our virtual verbs are gillyflower. Our invented nouns can be carrot. The colors are much less likely to occur in print, even color print, and invented words are just to help exercise. They are not to replace language.

I have a phimo.


Virtual words can help learn speech sounds.



The words have the sounds [f], [b], [th], and [r] in the same position. The sounds may be difficult to learners, just as telling [I] from [I:], for example in “thimo” and “reemo”.



Kids might say things as “phimo bimoes reemo” not only for fun, but also for real language exercise. Virtual words allow practice at the level of form solely. This means we work as in school, only with shortcuts.


In our language journey, pronouns and nouns are ink blue. Highlights and mapping extents are blue. We avoid color red, for the prevalent and adverse associations with prescriptive opinion on error.


1.2. Mind practice

Exercise 4. Let us try some travel in our minds. We can use exercises 1 – 3. Let us take our short mind journey in stages. We all have own inner language, the language of our thought.


A. First, let us think how long we could stay without thinking. We may happen to hear or even say that someone is not thinking. This is yet only a saying, something nobody can mean literally. In reality, nobody can “stop” his or her mind, even for a minute.


B. Let us fix our visual focus on a single thing — a teacup, a pencil, the apple in the image above? Let us try to think about our object only and not anything else. We can use a wristwatch to see how long we cope.


C. Let us close our eyes and try not to think absolutely anything. The watch will tell us if we really can do this.


D. Let us think in what language we think and how we think. Do we think in entire words? Could our thoughts be only pictures?


E. Let us go back to exercise 1. We can say out our answers to exercise 1. Whether multilingual or monolingual, we think in English words. We visualize spellings, that is, we imagine we write the words. We do the same for exercise 2. If we have done the exercises already, we do not look up the answers.


F. We read exercises 1 and 2 again, and try to “see” and “say” our answers in our thoughts strictly. Then, we write the answers on a spare piece of paper. We do exercise 3 as well. We do not even whisper (!)


In the beginning, we might feel it is really an effort to “discipline” ourselves and consciously direct own thinking. It is essential that we try. “Saying” or “writing” in our thoughts before spoken or written activity can make our language habits much stronger.


We humans naturally have inner language. For example, silent reading is faster than reading out. This is inner language to facilitate the process. It is not entire words or even speech sounds. It has only trace aspects of written or spoken language.


Inner language is the highly advanced way for our human brains to correlate language knowledge and skills. We do not know a language really, if it does not belong with our inner ability. Importantly, we can exercise to augment our inner intellectual powers.


Feel welcome to further grammar journey.
Chapter 2, the verb form WILL.

Link -- Chapter 2. The verb form WILL
Link -- Read this in a Slavic language, Polish

The US Great Seal

The United States federal authorities have used the Great Seal to authenticate documents since 1782. Please mind that the Seal pertains with the authorities. We can use images of it for explanatory purposes only, which is the objective here.


The obverse of the Seal is the national coat of arms of the United States. The Seal shows the bald eagle holding 13 arrows in its left talon and an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 olives in its right talon.


The arrows symbolize the American preparedness for war. The olive branch indicates want of peace. The eagle turns its head to the olive branch, expressing the American propensity for peace.


Number 13 as well as the motto, E pluribus unum, “Out of Many, One”, refer to the 13 states to have formed the original Union.


The reverse of the Great Seal shows an unfinished pyramid with an eye, and two Latin inscriptions. The pyramid has 13 layers and the date MDCCLXXVI (1776) in Roman notation.


Great Seal reverse


Year 1776 is the date of the Declaration of Independence. The two Latin phrases are ANNUIT COEPTIS and NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM.


The eye has been a symbol for mindfulness and forethought, worldwide. To some, a pyramid could denote might and endurance, we yet may associate pyramids with totalitarian ancient Egyptians. The author of the design wrote the pyramid was to signify might and endurance. The Founders did not intend the State for wielding absolute power, and the pyramid in the Seal is purposed to remain unfinished:


“No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April 1775, but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE, can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul,”


Thomas Paine, Common Sense (feel welcome to my public domain translation into Polish).



Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, designed the Seal and formed the mottos. He never provided a translation of the Latin phrases. An expert at Latin, he wrote he meant for the phrases to “signify the New American Æra” which commenced in 1776. The word “to signify” has close synonyms in words as “to connote”, “to be of association”.


Interestingly enough, the Seal could make a rhyme the citizens generally might identify with, and also a child might remember.

Out of many, one
E pluribus unum
With favor to the endeavor,
Annuit coeptis
A new people come.
Novus ordo seclorum


Thomas Paine did associate the word order with people. We can read about monarchy:


“And he who can so calmly hear, and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality–an apostate from the order of manhood; and ought to be considered–as one, who hath, not only given up the proper dignity of a man, but sunk himself beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawls through the world like a worm.”


Criticizing supporters of reconciliation, he wrote:


“But do such men seriously consider, how difficult the task is, and how dangerous it may prove, should the Continent divide thereon. Do they take within their view, all the various orders of men whose situation and circumstances, as well as their own, are to be considered therein.”


Also interestingly, both Thomas Paine and Charles Thomson use the spelling character æ.


We can compare Latin uses by Cicero, in his Philippics. Linguistically, such a manner of learning can be called a study from the usus.


“Accuse the senate; accuse the equestrian body, which at that time was united with the senate; accuse every order or society, and all the citizens; (…) at all events you would never have continued in this order, or rather in this city; (…) when I have been pronounced by this order to be the savior of my country; (…) when you, one single young man, forbade the whole order to pass decrees concerning the safety of the republic …”

In every context, trying to picture the word ordo/order, we would think about people.


Would the motto author include also young citizens into his perspective? We can recur to Thomas Paine:
“To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and an imposition on posterity.”


“As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully.”


For the form seclorum, we can compare the Latin secludere as to stand apart, and seclusus as separate. The form seclorum would be the plural genitive of seclum, which we can comprehend as “people who are separate”. With the Latin ordo as a group, arrangement, or class, we can have the Novus Ordo Seclorum for “A new people come”, that is, a new formation by people to have separated from others, to stand apart, as a nation, for example. Literal, word-for-word translation happens to be clumsy, also for ancient Latin (new form/order of/by the separate/separated?) However, we have the form “How come?” in English that renders the verb-adjective interplay.


“WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation”, says the Declaration of Independence.


Feel welcome to my posts on reading the Seal.


Obviously, the Seal would not be just a seal of assent. The supported endeavor would be democracy.


It is reasonable to think the Seal does not invoke supernatural powers, and it does not have masonic reference, as implied by conspiracy theories. The text is a formation by Charles Thomson, and the imagery corresponds with symbols as known through civilization and experience.


The Seal of the United States President derives directly from the obverse of the Great Seal. One-dollar bills have showed the Great Seal since 1935.




The use of arrow symbols in this grammar course does not correspond with the arrows of the Seal. It is to regard human orientative strategies and has no reference to weapons.


The American flag

USA national flag has thirteen stripes of red alternating with white. In the Flag, the red is at the top and the bottom. In insignia, the white is on the left and right. The union is a blue rectangle with 50 white, five-pointed stars, one for each American state. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original states of the early Union.


The Flag has changed since the early times. The Betsy Ross and the 13 Star are historic American flags. Alternative names for the American flag may be the Stars and Stripes, the Old Glory, and the Red, White, and Blue. The Star Spangled Banner also is the name of the American national anthem, too.


The 13 Star



Betsy Ross


There is a code of conduct concerning the Flag. The Federal Flag Code is not descriptive of all situations and does not impose penalties for misconduct. Violating the guidelines may offend, however.


The guidelines state to display the Flag from sunrise to sunset, when in the open. 24-hour display should involve proper illumination of the Flag from dusk to dawn. We should not modify the Flag, regardless of the form of presentation. Whether in fabric, print, or another material, the Flag should have the stars and the stripes as in the design presented on the top of this page.


Please refer to the Flag Code for details on flag positioning. For example, we place the Stars on the Flag’s right, when we display it horizontally or vertically. With other flags, the US flag should be on its own right side or in center front. On the same halyard, the American flag takes the superior position, except when with flags of other countries.

Granting a superior or privileged position to any flag of any country in a time of peace violates international regulations.


The United States Code explains on Flag dignity. The Flag should not be showed with disrespect. It should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, state flags, and organization or institution flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor. We should use an all-weather flag, when the weather is inclement.


We should not embroider the Flag on articles as cushions or handkerchiefs, print or otherwise impress it on paper napkins or boxes or anything designed for temporary use and discard. The code advises not to use the Flag for apparel. However, we might “get away” with flag pattern hats, tops, and scarves, especially on American holidays.


The flag should not be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything. The flag should not touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. The flag should not be carried flat or horizontally. It should be aloft and free.


The Code encourages wearing Flag patches or pins on the left side of uniforms of military personnel, firefighters, police officers, and members of patriotic organizations. The left side is that recognized for the side of the heart.


There have been disputes in America over freedom of speech and Flag burning. Could burning the Flag, as it happens in times of protests and unrest, be a form of speech?


In the psycholinguistic perspective, flag burning is a non-linguistic behavior. American legislation allows individual lawsuit in some cases of willful and malicious destruction.



The Flag Code makes one exception. When the Flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, and this can be by burning. Naturally, we have to be careful with fire.


Saluting the Flag


Title four of the United States Code counsels on the behavior proper to salute the Flag.


During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the Flag or when the Flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the Flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the Flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the Flag passes.


On occasions to salute the Flag, it could be best to agree on behavior with the American party to be present.


If Flag regulations seem complicated, let us think people have risked own lives, fighting for own freedom and the Flag. The American anthem tells this. Freedom and human rights are indispensable for intellectual and economic progress (see the context of the Gettysburg Address).

Respect for the American flag means respect for own gray matter, especially if we learn American English.

__Smiley serious PNG

Fort McHenry


Flying the Flag


American legislation mandates flying the Flag day and night in a few locations, to pay tribute in historic American sites. The national tradition holds the Flag half-staff until noon, on the Memorial Day.


Fort McHenry National Monument, Baltimore, Maryland;

Flag House Square, Baltimore, Maryland;

The United States Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Virginia;

Lexington, Massachusetts;

The White House;

The Washington Monument;

United States Customs ports of entry;

Valley Forge State Park, Pennsylvania.


Many locations fly the Flag 24 hours without specific legal resolves.
One of such places is the United States Capitol.



Mount Rushmore has had its Avenue of Flags since 1976, the United States bicentennial. Visitors can view the Memorial 24 hours, year round.


Mount Rushmore (2)


The Memorial is located in the Pennington County, near Keystone, South Dakota. The four faces from left to right are those of the presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Sculptors Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln carried out the project. The construction ended in 1941.


Worldwide, flying the Flag every day and according to the Code, does not violate regulations. Please mind that displaying the Flag in parental advisory contexts may be considered non-complimentary. Removal of the Flag from an improper display might be advisable.


There are a few special days on which to fly the Flag.
We put the month before the day, to read the date in American English.


New Year’s Day, January 1

Inauguration Day, January 20

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12

Washington’s Birthday (the President’s day), third Monday in February

Easter Sunday, (variable)

Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May

Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May

Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May

Flag Day, June 14

Independence Day, July 4

Labor Day, first Monday in September

Constitution Day, September 17

Columbus Day, second Monday in October

Navy Day, October 27

Veterans Day, November 11

Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Day, December 25

State birthdays (days of admission) and holidays: each state individually.

The Star Spangled Banner, the American anthem

Fort McHenry, Baltimore; Wikimedia Commons


The “Star Spangled Banner” was formally adopted for the American anthem in 1931, with a law signed by president Herbert Hoover. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort McHenry, a poem by Francis Scott Key. He witnessed the British siege of Fort McHenry in the war of 1812.


American English has changed since the time the Anthem was written. Today, the language has the word “defense” for the former “defence”.




O! Say, can you see
by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hail’d
by the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose bright stars and broad stripes,
through the clouds of the fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d
were so gallantly streaming?


And the rockets’ red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there.
O! Say does that star-spangled
banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave?


On that shore, dimly seen
through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host
in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze,
o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows,
half conceals, half discloses?


Now it catches the gleam
of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected,
now shines in the stream.
‘Tis the star-spangled banner ― O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


And where is that host who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation.
Then conquer we must ― when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto ― In God is our trust.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


The story of the Anthem music


Some resources would tell that the tune of the Anthem is “an old British drinking song”. There is nothing to support the attribution. Singing the Anthem accurately might belong with illusions, if to think about inebriation. The tune musical harmony can be difficult to vocalize, with impediment.


The composer, John Stafford Smith, was son of Martin Smith, an organist of Gloucester Cathedral. John was born in 1750 and composed his tune in mid 1760s. He did not write, however probably, for occasions to involve alcohol.


The conjecture may have come with John Stafford Smith’s joining the Anacreontic society, which yet happened years after he composed the tune. First publication of the music also came after years, by The Vocal Magazine in 1778, in London.


The story of the Anthem text


“The annexed song was composed under the following circumstances—A gentleman had left Baltimore, in a flag of truce for the purpose of getting released from the British fleet, a friend of his who had been captured at Marlborough.—He went as far as the mouth of Patuxent, and was not permitted to return lest the intended attack on Baltimore should be disclosed.


He was therefore brought up the Bay to the mouth of Patapsco, where the flag vessel was kept under the guns of a frigate, and he was compelled to witness the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which the Admiral had boasted that he would carry in a few hours, and that the city must fall. He watched the flag at the Fort through the whole day with an anxiety that can be better felt than described, until the night prevented him from seeing it. In the night he watched the Bomb Shells, and at early dawn his eye was again greeted by the proudly waving flag of his country.” (The 1812 broadside text, see at the Library of Congress).


Some people may remember the Anthem as saying “through the midst of the deep”. The reference might be to the Bible, for example Luke 4:30. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way. The passage, as in the American Standard Bible, tells about release of captives and remaining unhurt from opponents. The oldest American Bible is the Eliot Bible, published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1663.


Munroe & French published the Anthem in the Baltimore Patriot and Evening Advertiser. Below, we can see a facsimile of a print from September 20, 1814



The facsimile here comes from the Ritual of the Star-Spangled Banner, a book of the Star Spangled Banner Association in Baltimore, Maryland.


The autographed manuscript of the Anthem from October 21, 1840, says, “through the mists of the deep”. There are a few autograph copies of the Anthem. The Samuel Sands print from “The American Farmer” on September 21, 1814, also has the phrase “the mists”.




The autograph manuscript from October 21, 1840, signed by Francis Scott Key. The manuscript is available online from the Library of Congress.



The Bill of Rights and further amendments

The New York Congress passed the Bill of Rights in 1789. It became ratified on December 15, 1791. It is the Fifth Article of the Constitution to permit amendments, for the legislation to meet varied circumstances in human lives.


In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced December 15 the Bill of Rights Day, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Bill adoption.


The Bill of Rights, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, are also called the Charters of Freedom. We can view the original documents online, also at the National Archives,
Feel welcome to the NOTES on the typescript below.



Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.



No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.



The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.



No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.



In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.



In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved; and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.



Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.



The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.



The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.



The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit, in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign State.



The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.


The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.


The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as President, as in the case of death or other constitutional disability of the President.


The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.



Sect. 1. Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



Sect. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.


No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


Sect. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of Electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the Members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of Representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.


Sect. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or Elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a Member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a Member of any State Legislature, or as an Executive or Judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.


Sect. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.


Sect. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.



Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.



The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The Electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislatures.


When vacancies happen in the Representation of any State in the Senate, the Executive Authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided that the Legislature of any State may empower the Executive thereof to make temporary appointments, until the people fill the vacancies by election as the Legislature may direct.


This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.



Sect. 1. After one year from the ratification of this article, the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, for beverage purposes, is hereby prohibited.


Sect. 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Sect. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.



Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of sex.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



Sect. 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.


Sect. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly, until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.


Sect. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President, whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.


Sect. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.


Sect. 6. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.



Sect. 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.


Sect. 2. The transportation or importation into any State, territory, or possession of the United States, for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.


Sect. 3. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by Conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.



Sect. 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President, shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative, from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.


Sect. 2. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.



Sect. 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:


A number of Electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be Electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for Electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or any State, by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



Sect. 1. In the case of removal of the President from office, or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.


Sect. 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President, who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.


Sect. 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.


Sect. 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the Executive departments, or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.


Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office, unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the Executive department, or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose, if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote, of both Houses, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.



Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of age.


Sect. 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.



The typescript follows the patterns for the Constitution, please read the NOTES TO THE CONSTITUTION TYPESCRIPT.


Specifically for the amendments, we may want to note that American punctuation is more syntactic than prosodic, nowadays. Therefore, the typescript shows Amendment 13 as,

Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Without the comma to separate the phrases neither slavery and nor involuntary servitude, as the original phrasing happens to be presented, modern American English might render the legislation as allowing slavery for a form of legal punishment, which is not true:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


Let us mind that legislation is put to writing in Congress, during discussion, and “slips of the pen” may happen, they yet do not decide the law. Let us compare Amendment XXVI. The original script tells,
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of age.
Eighteen years of age is not a condition for American citizenship, and we can interpret the script as saying,
The right of citizens of the United States who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of age.


Finally, we can get advice on the difference between which and that, in modern American English. As the conjunction which has not gone out of use, there is no need to “modernize” the Constitution or amendments, and we can have the thing for a matter of style. In simple words, we may fit in better with speakers of American, using the conjunction that when it adds to clarity. Feel welcome to compare forum discussions.

9.3. Detail on Modal chemistry and economy

Modal Expression, especially the Interrogative or Negative, can give us some trouble, unless we approach the matter as science in a field: we analyze the molecules, see how they are doing, and make a model.



We can recur to chapter 5 , as well as compare appendix 4.


61. We CANNOT skip the exercises.


62. We MAY NOT skip the exercises.


63. We WILL NOT skip the exercises.


64. We SHOULD NOT skip the exercises.


65. We OUGHT NOT TO skip the exercises.


66. We SHALL NOT skip the exercises.


67. We MUST NOT skip the exercises.


The form SHALL NOT may imply a conclusion, a decision ― more often in British English than in American, however. American English has the Modal WILL for resolves. The Modal CAN attracts the particle NOT directly. They become one word, CANNOT. We may come upon the form CAN NOT in historic texts, as the Gettysburg Address.




President Abraham Lincoln gave the speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. The form “can not” is rarely used today. Feel welcome to read the Address as well as to do the voluntary extra practice.


In the Affirmative, MUST NOT can mean that something is forbidden or strongly discommended. NEED can take on the regular negative. The auxiliary is the verb to do.


68. We DO NOT NEED to memorize dictionaries.


We can use the short form DON’T, when our contexts are not formal.
68a. We DON’T NEED to memorize dictionaries.


NEED can take a Modal negation, too. The Modal form may be more emphatic.


68b. We NEEDN’T memorize dictionaries.
(There is definitely no need to memorize dictionaries.)


HAVE TO takes the regular negative.


69. We DO NOT HAVE TO memorize dictionaries.
69a. We DON’T HAVE TO memorize dictionaries.


Our paths can diverge for NEED in the auxiliary PAST.


70. You DIDN’T NEED to memorize this.
(Something didn’t need to be done and it was not done.)


71. You NEEDN’T HAVE memorized this.
(You did, but you COULD HAVE left it alone ― the thinking is about a hypothesis.)


Let us tackle the Interrogative. This is the Modal to move here. Chapter 5 shows Inversion, along with the Negative Interrogative.


72. We CAN work a lot.
CAN we work a lot?


73. We MAY work a lot.
MAY we work a lot?


74. We WILL work a lot.
WILL we work a lot?


75. We SHOULD work a lot.
SHOULD we work a lot?


76. We OUGHT TO work a lot.
OUGHT we TO work a lot?


77. We SHALL work a lot.
SHALL we work a lot?


78. We MUST work a lot.
MUST we work a lot?


In Negative questions, the linguistic chemistry may depend on the form we use, short or full.


79. CAN we NOT work a lot?
79a. CAN’T we work a lot?


80. MAY we NOT work a lot?
80a. MAYN’T we work a lot?


81. WILL we NOT work a lot?
81a. WON’T we work a lot?


82. SHOULD we NOT work a lot?
82a. SHOULDN’T we work a lot?


83. OUGHT we NOT TO work a lot?
83a. OUGHTN’T we TO work a lot?


84. SHALL we NOT work a lot?
84a. SHAN’T we work a lot?


In questions, MUST NOT may ask about the proper course of things.


85. MUST we NOT work a lot?
85a. MUSTN’T we work a lot?


HAVE TO takes the regular Negative Interrogative.


86. DO we NOT HAVE TO work a lot?
86a. DON’T we HAVE TO work a lot?


Let us catch on to the Modal NEED in the grammatical PAST. It behaves more and more like a regular verb, in contemporary American.


87. DID you NOT NEED to work a lot?
87a. DIDN’T you NEED to work a lot?


Please compare,
88. NEEDN’T you HAVE worked a lot?


Expression 88 would be so rare that an American might consider it incorrect. Why is this? Asking questions involves making hypotheses. Unless we ask a question for no reason or purpose and expect no answer at all, we make our questions thinking about some PROBABILITY at least. Beside inversion, we can use the question mark or intonation, to make a question.


Let us regard language economy. In a language information pool, we may not need to provide information more than once.


86a. DIDN’T you NEED / HAVE TO work a lot?


An American could consider an alternate incorrect,
86b. *MUSTN’T you HAVE worked a lot?


NEED and MUST express a high degree of CONTINGENCY or CERTAINTY. Hypotheses with them might vary from those with other Modals: so many things SHOULD BE DONE and they never are (!)


With high CONTINGENCY or CERTAINTY, we can net the hypothetical time: we have a strong hypothesis in the Modal alone. Here is our model (click to enlarge).



Please compare the absolutely correct in American,
89. SHOULDN’T you HAVE read this all?


There is a structure close to the Modal verbs MUST, NEED, OUGHT TO or SHOULD. It is TO BE (SUPPOSED) TO.


90. You WEREN’T (SUPPOSED) TO get the gizmos.


We can recur to the structure later in the grammar journey. Let us now exercise our brains in Modal relativity practice.


Link to chapter 9.4. Linguistic form relativity