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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech. - Martin Fraquhar Tupper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I never made a mistake in grammar but once in my life, and as soon as I done it. I seen it. - Carl Sandburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. - Nelson Mandela

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


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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25-May-2019