For generations, the Verbs, divided between the Active and the Passive, lived in an uneasy peace with each other. This peace could not last. And when the balance of power finally fell away, it was the Active Verbs who took power.
For the Passive Verbs, this meant immediate repression. Several fled West, to the land of the Nouns, but most remained and became subject to the cruellest of treatments. They were marginalised, concentrated, exterminated.
The world stood silent.
Years passed and the Active Verbs amassed strength and allies. First, it was the mighty Adjectives who rallied to their cause, themselves desiring nothing less than the assertion of their own perverse meanings on peaceful Nouns everywhere. Then came the Adverbs, who were less in number but even more fanatically driven in their pursuit of linguistic supremacy.
The Nouns, it now seemed, would be forced to stand alone against this Coalition of the Active.
For two years, they fought bravely, every person, place and thing doing its duty to protect their right to simply be. The Coalition, however, was too powerful. It had too many precise meanings, and through years of preparing the Active Verbs had become masters of -ing warfare.
But just as Coalition looked ready to apply the final blow to the Nouns, there emerged a saviour: the mighty Punctuation Empire.
Roused from its slumber by the brash deletions of a Junior Editor, Punctuation joined the war on the side of the Nouns. The effect was immediate. By infiltrating their enemy’s sentences, Punctuation was able to change their meanings and turn the tide of the war. The firing of the Junior Editor and the collapse of the Coalition of the Active soon followed.
In less than a year, the war was over. The sentence, at least as we know it, was saved.
But at what cost?
Millions had lost their definitions. Entire groups of synonyms had been systematically destroyed. It is in their memories, and in the memories of all those who fought, that we have an obligation to remember.
For these were our greatest words.
This was our greatest lexicon.