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
Silence is safer than speech. - Epictetus

Humor is a universal language. - Joel Goodman

Language is a virus from outer space. - William S Burroughs

The eyes have one language everywhere. - George Herbert

I'm a supporter of my free speech. - Howard Stern

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

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence. - Francis Bacon

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

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

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

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

A fool is known by his speech; and a wise man by silence. - Pythagoras

All poetry is a reproduction of the tones of actual speech. - Robert Frost

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

A sage thing is timely silence, and better than any speech. - Plutarch

The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so. - Gore Vidal

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

If you're a good numbers person, you're a bad language person. - Frank Luntz

Laughter is, after speech, the chief thing that holds society together. - Max Eastman

Wisdom is knowing when to speak your mind and when to mind your speech. - Evangel

Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. - Thomas Carlyle

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

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

I am going to give a long speech today. I haven't had time to prepare a short one. - Winston Churchill

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

Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection. - Yakov Smirnoff

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

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

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

You're an old-timer if you can remember when setting the world on fire was a figure of speech. - Franklin P Jones

Sometimes I have kept my feelings to myself, because I could find no language to describe them in. - Jane Austen

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

Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there. - AJ Gossip

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

The symbolic language of the crucifixion is the death of the old paradigm; resurrection is a leap into a whole new way of thinking. - Deepak Chopra

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

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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28-Sep-2021