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

Fair speech may hide a foul heart. - JRR Tolkien

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

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

I am disappointment in you're grammar. - Unknown

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence. - Francis Bacon

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

Speech is the vestibule to the palace of love. - Jami of Persia

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

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

The art of communication is the language of leadership. - James Humes

The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech. - Clifton Fadiman

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

Real programmers can write assembly code in any language. - Larry Wall

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut. - Sam Rayburn

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

If you cannot understand me in my speech, how can you understand me in my silence? - Ravi Zacharias

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

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

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

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

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

Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world. - Noam Chomsky

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

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. - Frederick Douglass

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

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


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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05-Jun-2020