This section of the Dr. Grammar site contains a bit of this and that regarding the English language. In addition to being informative, this material is something with which to have some fun. Enjoy!
FUN WITH WORDS
REASONS WHY THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS HARD TO LEARN
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- We must polish the Polish furniture.
- He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
- Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
- When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- I did not object to the object.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when the does are present.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- After a number of injections my jaw got number.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
ERROR OR NOT?
Non-Errors “Those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English” (Paul Brians).
WORDS ENDING IN “-GRY”
Aside from “angry” and “hungry” there are no more common words ending in “-gry.” Do not waste your time searching or asking others to find them. Want to know more? Click here.
WILLIAM SAFIRE’S RULES FOR WRITERS
- Remember to never split an infinitive.
- The passive voice should never be used.
- Do not put statements in the negative form.
- Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
- Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
- If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
- Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
- Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
- If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
- Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in there writing.
- Always pick on the correct idiom.
- The adverb always follows the verb.
- Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague: seek viable alternatives.
MOST COMMON MISSPELLED WORDS BY STUDENTS
According to Richard Lederer and Richard Dowis, “Dr. Thomas Clark Pollock, of New York University, has been working for decades on a study of the most common misspellings by high school and college students. Dr. Pollock found that just nine words account for more than 7 percent of mistakes in the test. These devilish demons are: their (there), too (to), receive, believe (belief), all right, separate, coming, until, and character [emphasis added].
In order of the frequency of their misspelling, here is the second battalion of spelling demons:
(Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay 132-133).
VERBIVORE* WEB SITES
*People who “devour” words.
Richard Lederer’s Verbivore “If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.”
Martha Barnette’s Buff Up Your Brain! “Barnette is a journalist who writes about language. Along with lexicographer and slang expert Grant Barrett, she co-hosts the popular radio show ‘A Way with Words.’”
ONLINE LANGUAGE COLUMNS
These sites are included here because they are free (no paid subscription is necessary to use them) and because they supplement information in this section and others on the Dr. Grammar site.
Take Our Word For It : “A Weekly Word-origin Webzine.”