Grammar: Useful Rhyme

Word of the Week, Writing

I can’t take any credit for this rhyme, but I find it useful for remembering the difference between nouns, pronouns, adjectives etc and I thought that you guys might find it useful as well:

Every name is called a NOUN,

As FIELD and FOUNTAIN, STREET and TOWN;

In place of noun, the PRONOUN stands,

As HE and SHE can clap their HANDS;

The ADJECTIVE describes a thing,

As MAGIC wand and BRIDAL ring;

The VERB means actions, something done –

TO READ, TO WRITE, TO JUMP, TO RUN;

How things are done, the ADVERBS tell,

As QUICKLY, SLOWLY, BADLY, WELL;

The PREPOSITION shows relation,

As IN street, or AT the station;

CONJUNCTIONS join in many ways,

Sentences, words OR phrase AND phrase;

The INTERJECTION cries out “Hark!”

I need an exclamation mark!

Through poetry, we learn each of these

Make up THE PARTS OF SPEECH.

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Confusing Nouns and Verbs

Word of the Week, Writing

Following on from yesterday’s blog post about the words that I commonly misspell (Ha! Got it right first time!), I  decided to share another issue that a lot of us have, and that is knowing when certain words have an “s” in them, and when they have a “c” in them.

For example:

  • Advice / Advise
  • Prophecy / Prophesy
  • Licence / License
  • Practice / Practise
  • Device / Devise

The word that catches me out the most is definitely practice/practise, and I know that the two words have different meanings but I can just never remember.

The Secret

The secret to figuring out whether each word has a “c” or an “s” is to look at the meaning of the word that you’re trying to write. For example:

The definition of “Advice” is:

an opinion that someone offers you about what you should do or how you should act in a particularsituation

As the word is described as an “opinion”, this makes the word a “thing”, or something that is being named, therefore this is a Noun.

On the other hand the definition of the word “advise” is:

to give someone advice

Therefore, the act of actually giving advice, making the word a “verb” – or a doing word.

As another example, the word practice would be used to describe the physical or metaphorical building, making it a Noun, whilst practise would be used to describe the action of what is practised within the practice.

Layman’s Terms

  1. If it is a Noun, it is a word that is naming something specific
  2. This means that you spell it with a “c”
  3. If it is a Verb, it is a word that is describing the action of the Noun
  4. This means that you spell it with an “s”

Remember: Nouns Name, and Verbs Describe an Action.

 

Words that I Commonly Misspell

Word of the Week, Writing

As writers, there is this idea lodged into our brains that we have to be perfect at spelling and grammar, but I will be the first to admit that there are a few words that catch me out, every single time. I would – quite literally – be lost without my Dictionary. The most annoying thing is that these are words that I should know, because I have probably written them a million times before, and I know that I should know better.

Nevertheless, here are the words that I commonly misspell:

Misspell:

It seems so ironic to start with a word taken from this blog posts title, but it’s true. My brain gets confused by the s’s and I automatically want to write “mispell”!

Accidentally:

For me, “accidentally” is a victim of localised speech, whereby I spell it the way that I say it (kind of like how “could have” has become “could of” to a lot of people on Facebook!). So, because I don’t pronounce the “tally”, but rather pronounce it more “tly”, that is how I spell it.

Other words that fit into this category include: allege (I want to put a “d” in between the “e” and “g” because it sounds like there is one in there when the word is said out loud!)

Liaison:

Silent letters are the little devils of the English language, hence the second “i” is often missing!

Rhyme and Rhythm:

Those darn silent letters are out to get me. Now, when it comes to “rhyme” and “rhythm”, I always know that there is an “h” and a “y” in there, but I just cannot remember which way around they go!

Accommodate and Accumulate:

Ironically, when I wrote the word “accommodate” down in my book of misspelled words, I managed to miss out one of the “m”‘s. Anyway, I’m putting this two words together, purely because they are the opposite of each other, but create the same problem: is there one “m” or two?

Necessary:

I know that there are both “c” and “s” in this word, and I know that there is one of one of them, and two of the other. However, I can never remember which way around.

The same happens with “harass” 0r is it “harrass”, as I wrote in my book – again with the irony!

All Right and A Lot:

Two words. These are two words, not one. I must remember that! Also applies to “after all”.

Broccoli:

Brocoli? Broccolli? Brocolli? Yep, another case of how many “c” and how many “l”! Also see “Caribbean”, how many “r” and “b”? And “parallel”, I just have “l” all over the place!

Separate:

In my head, this should be spelled “seperate”…maybe I should start my own dictionary. This also works for “desperate”, except this time it is an “e” whilst I always want to write an “a”.

Humorous:

Funnily enough, this is a word that I do indeed find quite “humorous”. As an English gal, it’s easy to want to add that all-important “u”, that Americanisation likes to remove, such as in the word “colour” or even (of course) “humour”, which is where things – for me, at least – get a bit confusing. Whilst “humour” does indeed have a “u” in British English, the word “humorous” does not. Explain that one to me!

Consensus:

Kind of similar to the word “humorous”, I want to spell it as “concensus”, purely because of the word “census”! Sometimes the English language really does prove to be quite inconsistent with spelling!

Coincidentally, my dictionary just had a mild heart attack spell-checking this blog post, and I can imagine it screaming something along the line of: **So many errors. Must correct them. Mean blogger will not let me. Will self-destruct instead**

What words trip you up every time?

Do you have methods to remind you about particular spellings?

Word of the Week: Lemming

Word of the Week, Writing

As a kid, one of my favourite games involved some adorably strange creatures called Lemmings. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Lemmings was a game that involved guiding the gaggle of critters through various – often ridiculous – obstacles. This including building them bridges over rivers of lava, digging through the ground and giving every single one of them a tiny umbrella so that they could float down to safety.

lemmings

But one thing that I hadn’t really ever thought about: why is it called Lemmings? Are Lemmings real? What are Lemmings?

Well, as this weeks Word of the Week suggests, Lemmings are real:

Lemming

 

And for anyone wondering what these, slightly suicidal, animals look like, here you go:

Lemming

 

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