Basic Rules of English Spelling and Grammar

How the hippopotamus are you?


1. Correct speling is a Must.

2. “Just between you and I” is a Mustn’t. It’s as much of a Mustn’t as “They telephoned she.”

3. Be sure to never split an infinitive.

4. Don’t dangle with participles: “Running for the bus, a taxi hit my uncle.”

5. The difference between “teach” and “learn” should learn you to pay attention. Teachers don’t have to pay attention, so they don’t learn; they just teach.

6. When studying grammar, a spiral notebook of well-lined pages are useful. (This shows that subjects and verbs are enemies.)

7. Don’t never use no double negative. Triple negative are even worst.

8. Always make a pronoun agree with their referent.

9. Beware of the “them-those” trap. For instance, don’t write, “Them apples are rotten” if they are not.

10. Many people love to use commas, which are not necessary. For instance, “She ate, the fool” is a comment. “She ate the fool” is correct, if she is a cannibal.

11. One of the trickiest points in punctuation is to use apostrophe’s correctly. They are as sensitive as measle’s.

12. Never use “real” when you mean “very.” Therefore: “She is real stupid” shows that you are very stupid. (This point is real important.)

13. Adjectives are not adverbs. Write careful. (I know that’s hardly.)

14. Question marks can be dynamite. Use them carefully. “You sure are pretty?” means you are not sure I am pretty. That is an insult.

15. Many a student is undone by “who” and “whom.”
   a. “’Whom are you?’ she asked, for she had gone to night school.”
   b. If you write “Who’s hand is stroking my thigh?” you’ll never know who’s pulling whose leg. Such information can be valuable.

16. Avoid the excessive use of exclamation points!!!! It is silly to write, “Yesterday, I woke up!!!” because that suggests that today you did not, which is probably true.

17. When you want to say something that indicates anyone, or all of us, the pronoun “one” is better than “he” or “she.” “One never knows, do one?”

18. Observe the difference between “don’t” and “doesn’t.” It’s shocking to hear so many high school graduates say “He don’t care.” What they mean, of course, is “I don’t care.” Their grades proved it.

19. Never write, “heighth” or “weighth.” They just are not righth.

20. Avoid confusion. “How the hippopotamus are you?”

21. “Irregardless” is not in the dictionary. “Hopefully” is – and I hope to God you never use it.

22. Don’t use “neither” when you mean “either.” Either use “neither” correctly or don’t use it at all. And don’t use “either” if you mean “ether” neither.

23. Guard against absurd and unnecessary repetitions. This here rule is especially important for new beginners.

24. A real booby trap to avoid is “when” – especially when a sentence like “I do not deny I wasn’t afraid” occurs when you mean “I won’t deny I was afraid.” Most writers are, so they master syntax, which is the only tax that doesn’t cost money.

25. Don’t forget the crucial difference between “lie” and “lay.”
   a. the former takes no object (“I lie in bed”) but the latter must (“Lay that pistol down, mother”);
   b. “To lie” means to express something not true: “to lay” means expressing something more urgent.

Got it? Now, memorize these laws, plus one more: Be sure to reread anything you write to make sure you don’t accidentally any words out.


QuotaBills
The eyes have one language everywhere. - George Herbert

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. - Martha Graham

A proverb is to speech what salt is to food. - Arabic Proverb

Tears at times have all the weight of speech. - Ovid

A story is told as much by silence as by speech. - Susan Griffin

Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts. - Charles de Talleyrand

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence. - Xenocrates

Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it. - Christopher Morley

Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war. - Lindsey Graham

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. - William Butler Yeats

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. - Mark Twain

Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power. - Joan Didion

It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. - Mark Twain

If we are a country committed to free speech, then why do we have phone bills? - Steven Wright

A bore is one who has the power of speech but not the capacity for conversation. - Benjamin Desraeli

Three problems we have: lack of boundaries, insufficient language, incompletions. - Thomas Leonard

The most beautiful words in the English language are "cheque enclosed". - Dorothy Parker

I personally think we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain. - Jane Wagner

The language of the law must not be foreign to the ears of those who are to obey it. - Learned hand

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect. - Owens L. Pomeroy

We really have everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language. - Oscar Wilde

My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe. - Jimmy Durante

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid. - Soren Kierkegaard

Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree. - Ezra Pound

Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language. - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. - Ingrid Bergman

A person's name is, to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language. - Dale Carnegie

The first man to use abusive language instead of his fists was the founder of civilization. - Sigmund Freud

Grammar: the difference between Feeling Your Nuts and Feeling You're Nuts. - Unknown

It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water. - Franklin P. Jones

The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech. - George Bernard Shaw

Fashion is free speech, and one of the privileges, if not always one of the pleasures, of a free world. - Alison Lurie

If the English language made any sense, 'lackadaisical' would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. - Doug Larson

The longest word in the English language is the one following the phrase, "And now a word from our sponsor." - Hal Eaton

Morals are an acquirement - like music, like a foreign language, like piety, poker, paralysis - no man is born with them. - Mark Twain

Charity, good behaviour, amiable speech, unselfishness - these by the chief sage have been declared the elements of popularity. - Burmese Proverb

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are,
"I'm from the government and I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan

Heard about the young deaf boy who used sign language?
One day he told his mother a dirty joke and she washed his hands out with soap. - Red Skelton

I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy. - Bertrand Russell

No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. So what if my stroke left me with a speech impediment? Moses had one, and he did all right. - Kirk Douglas


see also   Language  Section
Books Never Written
Commas Save Lives
Cyberbulbs
Does A Double Positive Equal A Negative?
Double Negative Education
First Impressions
Fluent Sarcasm
I Like Cooking
Little Johnny’s Beautiful Examples
One Thousand Words
Practice Safe Text
Punctuation Matters

 

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20-Jan-2018