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?

Camp NaNoWriMo: Why You Should Take Part!

Camp NaNoWriMo, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo Why You Should Take Part

 

April 1st is nearly upon us, which can mean only one thing, right? What, no I don’t mean the day when you make fool of all your family and friends – well, it is, but no, it is also the beginning of this years writing marathons; Camp NaNoWriMo.

It’s easy to think: “What’s the point of taking part in a writing month, when the ‘real deal’ takes place in November?”

It’s true that NaNoWriMo is much more popular than it’s summer alternatives, so at times it can be difficult to find the support base (if you find one at all) to help get you through the month. Which, of course, often means that you need to move forward on your own motivation, but there are immense benefits, but the most important way to look at is, is as a:

Introduction to NaNoWriMo

For a lot of writers – including those who have done it before – the sheer notion of writing 50,000 words in just 30-days is just mind-numbingly, well, we often believe that it is not going to happen. The truth is, it is possible to do, but yep, it takes a lot of hard-work, dedication and a support-unit is always helpful.

However, despite the lack of support (although, don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of support, it’s just very different and on a much smaller scale), Camp NaNoWriMo should be seen as a “light” version of the main event. Why? Because you get full control of how many words you choose to have as your overall monthly goal.

Sure, many writers do choose to work towards 50,000 words, and some crazy so-and-so’s (who I have a lot of respect for) even go a lot high higher than that, but if the idea of writing 50,000 words puts you into a mild state of panic, then don’t feel pressurised into doing that. If you don’t want to jump in with both feet, that is okay, and no one will judge you. If you feel more comfortable dipping your toes in, to test the water and see how well you can do initially – that is absolutely fine.

Personally, I did 15,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo in 2013, and I managed to whip that out in just over two weeks, whilst other months it could take me the entire month to get that many words out – so, I guess you just have to trust yourself and your instincts.

Another awesome thing about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you don’t even have to write a novel, if you don’t want to: perhaps you are working on a script, or a book of poetry – work on whatever you like, because it all counts!

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself signed up and I will see you at the starting line first thing tomorrow 😉

Writing Exercise: Last Meals

random scribblings, Writing, writing inspiration

I’m not 100% familiar with Death Row. Sure, I know a few things thanks to The Green Mile etc, but as a citizen of a country that doesn’t have the death penalty, my knowledge is quite slim, I don’t know how “things” work, but I thought that this writing exercise sounded interesting.

I found it on the Writers & Artists’ Yearbook Facebook page, and I instantly knew which character I would use for this exercise:

Writing Exercise: Last Meals

If your main character was on death row, what would his/her last meal be? Describe it.

Example:

Last Meal

Image sourced from here.

My Writing:

Lucy Angelus

– 18 years old

– Murder, fraud and perverting the course of justice

Roast chicken dinner, with mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, two Yorkshire Puddings and lots of gravy. Followed by a Chocolate Brownie Sundae. Lucy would eat every single vegetable, even the ones that she doesn’t like – especially the ones that she doesn’t like. She would save a couple of spoonfuls of Sundae for her father, because she always let him share a little…but no brownie. Her father was never allowed any of the brownie.

It surprised me how easily this came to me, and how well I still know Lucy’s personality and temperament, despite the fact that I haven’t worked on her story for quite a long time. Perhaps now is the time to pick up where I left off with her story…

Writing Inspiration: When God Was a Rabbit

Books, writing inspiration

rabbitTitle: When God Was a Rabbit

Author: Sarah Winman

Opening Line/s: I divide my life into two parts. Not really a before and after, more as if they are bookends, holding together flaccid years of empty musings, years of the late adolescent or the twentysomething whose coat of adulthood simply does not fit. Wandering years I waste no time in recalling.

Closing Line/s: “Ready to say goodbye?” I said.

“Ready,” she said, and sat back down next to me. I handed her the computer and she started to type.

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

 

Let’s chat, trade tips, gossip and share

(Go on! You don’t know what you’re missing!)

Jargon Busting Video Games Part One

Abbreviations, Jargon

When we talk about jargon, we often come up with a certain type of business that probably involves wearing suits. However, that is definitely not the case because even the entertainment world has its jargon. I grew up playing video games, so there are a lot of slang terms that are part of my vocabulary, but there there are also many that I haven’t even encountered. For today, I thought I’d offer some jargon busting of the video games slang that I do know:

GT

Gran Turismo. A series of driving simulator games first launched in 1997 and the most recent released late 2013.

GTA

Grand Theft Auto. A series of (often controversial) crime-based games that have also been around since 1997.

FMV

Full Motion Video. Sometimes referred to as cut-scenes, FMV are sequences within a game that are videos with no game-play. They are typically used to mark a major event in the plot and traditionally feature better graphics than the main game, however advances in technology are changing the quality of in-game graphics to match the FMV sequences.

FF

Final Fantasy VII Cloud Strife

Final Fantasy. Probably the most popular series of role playing game, Final Fantasy‘s life began in1987 and has spawned fourteen main games, plus several sequels and spin-offs (and personally my all-time favourite gaming series!)

2D

Two Dimensional. In gaming, if the graphics are described as being 2D or two-dimensional then they are basically flat – like paper – and are not a true representation of what the object would look like in real-life.

3D

Three Dimensional. In basic terms, if a game is 3D the graphics are not “flat”, instead they have shape and 3D tends to be more realistic in terms of the size of objects in comparison to each other.

AI

Artificial Intelligence. The idea of a piece of technology being able to make its own decisions. In gaming, AI is a term used to describe a character – or even the whole game – that is able to think in a way that is very much like a human.

Boss

A Boss is a monster or character that you need to defeat in order to advance the game. Boss Fights are typically harder to defeat than standard fights, and often require specific tactics in order to defeat them.

Bug

Sometimes referred to as a Glitch, a Bug is sort of like an error or defect in a piece of software. In video games, bugs come in a variety of forms. For example, sometimes a character may be able to walk through a wall that they shouldn’t be able to, or they might suddenly start floating randomly. Sometimes, a bug in a game may create an unplanned – by the games company, at least – cheat, in the game.

biobugs

Quite often bugs are humourous (especially in older games) or useful, but sometimes they can make a game unplayable.

HP

Health Points. Health points appear in most games that feature fighting, and usually both your character and the ones you are fighting against will have a set number of points that you need to reduce down to zero, in order to win.

Usually, you can use potions to restore your HP – as can the bad guys – and, it is sometimes possible to use revival potions to bring dead characters back to life.

MP

Magic Points. In some games, magic is used as a form of attack, and unlike physical attacks you can only use magic a number of times, which is determined by your Magic Points. A magic spell will have a set number of points that it takes to use it, and everytime it is used those points will be removed from your characters overall Magic Point tally. Once they reach zero, you will no longer be able to use magic, until you have used an item to restore their MP.

Combo

A combination of moves that are performed together are usually referred to as a Combo. Normally found in beat-em-up style games, a combo often gains extra points or knocks more HP off the opponent.

 

 

 

Word of the Week: Minute

Uncategorized

Word of the Week MinuteWe all know that sixty minutes make up an hour, and what the word “minute” means when it comes to telling time, but the word’s history is a little bit more unclear.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, the word minute – as we know it – comes from the Old French “minut” in the late 14th Century, from the Middle Latin word “minuta” which means a small note. In Middle Latin, the term “pars minute prima” means “first small part” and was a phrase used by the mathematician Ptolemy to describe a sixtieth of a full-circle.

However, noting that Ptolemy existed long before Middle Latin (Ptolemy; pronounced tolemi; was born in about AD 90 and died in roughly AD 168, whilst Middle Latin; or Medieval Latin as it is more commonly known; was the language used throughout the Middle Ages which wasn’t until the 5th to 15th Century.) I find it difficult to form a strong grasp of the real origins of the word.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the origins are confusing, so if anyone out there wants to shed more light on the origins of a word that is now so common place with our language, please do feel free to share.

 

Jargon Busting Your o2 Bill

Jargon

Nothing gets on my nerves more than unnecessary jargon – the kind that none of us really understands, and is (in my opinion) completely pointless.

Big name companies are fiercely guilty of producing products that are riddled with jargon, and I can’t imagine why they feel the need for it to be there at all. It’s not necessary, it doesn’t help the customer – in fact all it does is leave us feeling completely confused. In many cases it’s leaving us confused about aspects such as our rights, and I don’t think that’s for.

Sometimes, of course, jargon is necessary – for example, in legal documentation – which is where I would always expect a company to offer a Glossary that explains any confusing terminology. Slowly, a lot of the larger companies are beginning to this, which is fantastic in my point-of-view. However, the problem then lies when you find confusing language in the Glossary…

Take this example from my Mum’s o2 phone bill for example:

Glossary Decrement

What the heck does “decrement” mean?

I like to think that I am mildly intelligent. I have a degree (so obviously I’m not completely dumb!), and I work with words for a living. I’m not going to say that I know every word in the dictionary, but if I don’t know what “decrement” means, and my Mum doesn’t know what it means, and my other half doesn’t know what it means, then it raises the question of how many other people actually know what it means?

The other half came to the conclusion that “decrement” is probably the opposite of the word “implement”, and in the context of the entire sentence:

“Some calls are not eligible to decrement from your inclusive allowance.”

I think that he could be correct.

I think that the sentence is saying that some calls will not be included in your included allowance, therefore you will be billed for it. But, why on earth can they not just say that? It didn’t make the sentence that much longer, so I’m baffled.

Have you found any ridiculous jargon in your bills?

Share it, so that I can jargon bust it 🙂