Calling Volunteers!

Hello All,

This post is to call for volunteers for the the features:

1. Thursdays – Grammar Posts

Need a volunteer to do Grammar post on Thursday 28th. Anyone interested?

2. Guest Features – Any day of the week!

Calling volunteers for guest features. These features are open to all topics. Feel free to post about anything that you feel will impress our audience!

#schedule #features #weekly #guestfeature



Just updated our famous or…

Just updated our famous or infamous #grammar Table of Contents.

To whit and too whooo; There, Their, They’re

The Cranky Old English Teacher bustles in on me, just in time for afternoon tea (which is a meal I only have when SHE shows up.)  I put the kettle on and plate up some cookies, slice cheese and pepperoni, and lay out some crackers.  She flings off her coat, which I catch mid-air, and then she flounces into a dining chair and uses her cane to drag herself toward the table.

I hang up the coat and grab the whistling kettle and set the tea to steeping.  All the while, the COET watches me benevolently, and waits till I finally sit down to begin.

“I am,” she says, helping herself to cheese and crackers, sprinkling slices of pepperoni atop, and grabbing a handful of cookies, “tired of seeing the word ‘their’ misspelled.”

It seems that she saw a billboard on her way to my house for McDougall’s House of Carpet.  It read (COET wrote it out for me; I shook the cracker crumbs off to read it): You haven’t felt soft till you’ve stepped on there carpet!

I agree.  “I know I’m not very sympathetic,” I say.  “That particular issue–spelling there, their, and they’re–has always just seemed obvious to me.”

She humphs.  “Well,” she says, “some people just have THAT kind of mind.”

The way she says it is NOT complimentary, and I realize this spelling distinction must be something she worked at nailing down.

“For others,” she says, “I have developed some little memory games that seem to help my students.”

“Really?” I say.  “Those might be nice to share more broadly.”

She inclines her head, a regal grammar and spelling queen conferring a favor, and I think that perhaps this is the purpose of her visit: a little spreading of the COET wisdom.

Continue reading

#grammar, #weekly

Here is an updated Table of Contents

As of January 21, 2016, this is an updated “Table of Contents” for our #weekly #grammar /punctuation feature.  We’ve added our very first post, which was overlooked in previous versions. Contributors, please let me know if I need to make any other corrections/additions.

We hope this helps newcomers.

August 20: Your Weekly Dose of Grammar and Punctuation @thinkerv0

August 26: Make your sentences make sense @drmegsorick

September 2: Comma Splice @theanonymoustalker

September 9: Choosing the right word @drmegsorick

September 16: Avoiding Apostrophe Catastrophe @pamkirst2014

September 24: English grammar and style options. Plus proofreading tools. @dalees107

September 30: Cranky: that’s what I am! Misuse of the colon. @pamkirst2014

October 7: Wordiness @dalees107

October 14: Verb Tense @drmegsorick

October 22: Cranky Old English Teacher  @pamkirst2014

October 29: Passive Voice @dalees107

November 4: Avoiding Repetition. @drmegsorick

November 18: Reflecting on the reflexive and who’s who @maddy1953

November 25: Grammar Time! @drmegsorick

December 3:  Passive or active, slippery or secure?@maddy1953

December 10: Sometimes Fragmented, Always Searching for Independence @pamkirst2014

December 17: Say what you mean and mean what you say @dalees107

December 24: Apostrophes and Apostrophe Abuse @maddy1953

December 30: “Can we talk?” I asked. Writing dialogue! @drmegsorick

January 6: “Checking the Intake Valve.” @pamkirst2014

January 21: ““A Little Comma Relief”  @pamkirst2014

And “How to make your post sticky” whenever you publish the weekly feature.

Please feel free to make comments and suggestions as to how to make this a better grammar feature. I don’t “own” it so anyone can come in and edit it with the approval of the admins. I’d like to put it in reverse with the newest first, but just lacking time this month. So busy helping my mom and keeping a diary of what all we are doing….

Kristina @kristinavanhoos
Rashmi @sashay909

“Can we talk?” I asked. Writing dialogue!

balloons-874840_640#weekly #grammar

It’s the last day of 2015! (Or the first day of 2016, depending where you are in the world). Hope you all are enjoying yourselves today and are looking forward to the new year!

Today, I decided to cover a grammar topic that I had to brush up on when I began this writing journey. The stories I write tend to be filled with conversation and there are rules to follow closely and rules you can break with impunity! That’s the interesting thing about writing dialogue; it’s the one time it’s permissible to use bad grammar!

“What?!?” you ask, outraged. “How can this be?”

Well, let me explain.

You are aware, I’m sure, that in casual conversation, many of the rules of grammar are regularly thrown out the window. For example, your characters might use regional terminology, slang and/or colloquialisms. If you’re in South Philadelphia, meeting your friends at the baseball park, one of them might say in greeting, “Yo! How you doin’?” Translation: “Hello, how are you doing?” But you’d never write it that way!  In Philadelphia you don’t “go to the beach” you “go down the shore,” and there are more. These examples demonstrate how it’s perfectly acceptable to let your characters use bad grammar within their conversations. However, while the dialogue itself may venture outside the rules, the way you write the speech demands the use of proper punctation, especially when it involves quotation marks.
Continue reading

Apostrophes and apostrophe misuse

Are you apostrophobic?

The apostrophe is your friend. I know some of  you find him confusing because I’ve seen some of you hesitate, adding an apostrophe here or there when you really don’t need one. Sometimes you’re not sure if you’ve put him in the right spot. Other times you forget about your friend the apostrophe and leave him out altogether. I hope I can provide you with some ways to remember where and when you need your friend, and what he can do for your writing.

Running it all together

One of the most common uses of the apostrophe is to show that a letter or letters have been omitted.

Why do we omit letters? Consider the following sentences.

I am going to give her a doll for Christmas.

I’m going to give her a doll for Christmas.

Why do we say I’m instead of I am? Just try saying the first sentence aloud quickly several times. Did you find that I am became I’m? Sometimes when we speak, two words merge into one. It sounds rather awkward to say I am all the time, and it could single you out as a non-native speaker. Unless of course you are emphasising the word am.

You’re not a doctor are you?

Yes, I am a doctor. Continue reading


Sometimes Fragmented, Always Searching For Independence

I used to read a popular ‘early readers’ series to my son when he was very young.  The stories were based in well-researched history, which I absolutely loved.



Passive or Active? Slippery or secure?

Are you passive or active?

Passive – Accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance.

The Passive voice is all about having the subject having something done to it by the object.

Active – engaged in action, or doing. Energetic.

The Active voice is about the subject doing things to the object.

People who are passive by nature can become victims. Those who are active are more likely to become successful.

“He was completely overshadowed by her. He was overshadowed because he was passive.”

“She completely overshadowed him. She overshadowed him because she was active or more energetic, perhaps louder, than him.”

In the first sentence above, the subject is acted upon. The emphasis is on “He” and the fact that he was overshadowed.

In the second sentence, the subject “she” is more prominent. She completely overshadowed him because she was active.

When you want to shift focus from the subject to the object, use the passive voice. Let’s have a look at some more examples of active vs passive voice.

“The book was written by Ivor Penn.” – passive

“Ivor Penn wrote the book.” –  active

“The turkey is being cooked by Jane.” – passive

“Jane is cooking the turkey.” – active

When should you use the passive voice, and when the active?  It is a question of meaning and emphasis, and largely depends on the context.

If you are in doubt, it is better to use the active voice because it is more commonly used, it is clearer, and it is easier to follow.

Passive voice is often used to omit the active and responsible subject.

e.g. “Shots were fired” or “Heads will roll”.

The CEO made the employees redundant. – Active

The employees were made redundant. – Passive

The Slippery Slope of Spell Check

file2341253459198Many English words have more than one meaning. Compounding that difficulty, they may have more than one spelling as well. Because of that, spell check will not always work well for you. It’s a tricky business, especially because those words that have more than one meaning are often very basic ones. So there you have some very slippery slimy errors that can slither through your spell check and let everyone know that your English is not the best. The only way to avoid these errors is to learn the correct spelling and usage of basic words well. Then you can feel safe from errors that might slip through. Continue reading

#grammar, #weekly

Grammar Confirmation!

Dear Friends,

Despite multiple attempts I don’t see a clarity because conversations are asynchronous. I request you to tag all people involved so that there is no confusion.

I saw earlier Maddy confirming for Dec 3 and Dec 10 was being taken by Pam I suppose. Now I see Debbie is inclined to do on Dec 10. Please confirm. 🙂

@pamkirst2014 @dalees107 @maddy1953 @drmegsorick

Love and light ❤
#grammar #weekly
Anand 🙂

Grammar Time!

#weekly #grammar

Hope that all of you who are celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday have safe travels and good times with your families.  I can’t take credit for this post, it was e-mailed to me by a friend who knows I’m a grammar nerd!  And it couldn’t have come at a better time, since this is a busy weekend for so many of us!  Enjoy!

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.

A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

You think English is easy?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong for me to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France .

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’?