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.

Speech is the small change of silence. - George Meredith

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

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

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

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

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

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

Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides. - Rita Mae Brown

You don't have good grammar when you type with your fists. - C.F. Payne

An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. - Martin Buber

Reality can be lost when reason and language have been violated. - Ravi Zacharias

Changes in language often reflect the changing values of a culture. - Ravi Zacharias

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. - Alphonse de Lamartine

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

Dreams say what they mean, but they don't say it in daytime language. - Gail Godwin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all. - Noam Chomsky

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

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

Although he tortures the English language, he has not yet succeeded in forcing it to reveal its meaning. - J B Morton

The names of colors are at the edge, between where language fails and where it's at its most powerful. - A.S. Byatt

Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone. - Unknown

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

The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited. - Alan Kay

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

Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words. - Robert G Ingersoll

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

Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else. - C S Lewis

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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20-Oct-2020