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
Fair speech may hide a foul heart. - JRR Tolkien

A riot is the language of the unheard. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speech is the small change of silence. - George Meredith

The eyes have one language everywhere. - George Herbert

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

I am disappointment in you're grammar. - Unknown

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

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence. - Sir Francis Bacon

Music is well said to be the speech of angels. - Thomas Carlyle

I will not down to posterity talking bad grammar. - Benjamin Disraeli

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain. - Lily Tomlin

We need a president who's fluent in at least one language. - Buck Henry

There is no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting. - John Millington Synge

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

England and America are two countries separated by a common language. - George Bernard Shaw

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

Symptoms are the body's mother tongue; signs are in a foreign language. - John Brown

Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing. - John Erskine

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

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

Speak when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret. - L.J. Peter

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

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.

At no time is freedom of speech more precious than when a man hits his thumb with a hammer. - Marshall Lumsden

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

Language is our meeting place, the sea we live in…it is the common ground of our humanity. - Toby Wolfe

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

Every St. Patrick's Day every Irishman goes out to find another Irishman to make a speech to. - Unknown

German is the most extravagantly ugly language - it sounds like someone using a sick bag on a 747. - Willy Rushton

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

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

Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends. - Mary Catherwood

"I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence? - George Carlin

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


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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15-Jul-2019