Having trouble with English? Of course you are. English is one convoluted confusing language, unlike the blissfully simplistic realm of Science. As a Wordsmith, and not as a Science cruncher, let me share 10 Mistakes To Avoid In English.
- Flammable, Inflammable, and Unflammable mean the same thing: Burnable. (Okay, Unflammable is not a real word, but if it was, it would mean Burnable.)
- About shapes: the ring on your finger is round; a boxing ring is…square? An earring can be any shape, but a ringing ear is annoying.
- A slim chance and a fat chance are the same thing, but at least they aren’t no chance.
- There is no apple in pineapple, nor is there a pine, just like there is no egg in eggplant, nor is there a plant…well, it is actually a plant.
- Remember: writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham.
- Food for thought: If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
- Family crises: we speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, never say methren. Father is Dad, but thank goodness Mother is not Mad, but both will tell you to watch your mouth (which you simply cannot do without a mirror).
- What do you expect from a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on?
- Do people recite at a play and play at a recital in other tongues? Do their noses run and their feet smell in Chinese? Do they park in a driveway and drive in a parkway in Spanish? Is a wise man the opposite of a wise guy in Polish?
- Singular is one; Plural is many. Usually you pluralize by adding an S to the end of the word.
Example: 1 dog … 2 dogs
Now, you try: 1 rhinoceros … 2 ___?___
Answer: 1 rhinoceros … 2 rhinos
QUIZ TIME! To fill in the blanks, write the plural answers in the comment box:
1 pan … 2 ___?___
1 man … 2 ___?___
1 box … 2 ___?___
1 ox … 2 ___?___
1 goose … 2 ___?___
1 moose … 2 ___?___
1 mouse … 2 ___?___
1 house … 2 ___?___
1 foot … 2 ___?___
1 boot … 2 ___?___
1 tooth … 2 ___?___
1 booth … 2 ___?___
I leave you with this thought as the school year starts: If you have a bunch of odds and ends, and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
Hey, don’t blame me. I’m a Science Geek. English is all Greek to me. I’ve given you just 10 Mistakes To Avoid In English. If you have some more words of wisdom, please share…
It’s Back To School Time!
The first hint that school is around the corner is the suddenly cool evenings in August. The second is the first orange leaves scattered among the trees. The third is the endless commercials for Back to School sales. I decided to celebrate the return to academia with my own way…
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I just got slashed by a talon while trying to rescue an animal. It just goes to show,
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
OK, yes, the talon belong to a turtle…Correction…A tortoise (I just looked up the difference between a turtle and a tortoise). But he was a really BIG TORTOISE, probably a foot in diameter. He was trying to cross the road, so I had to help him across so he wouldn’t get hit by a car, right? Read more ›
Final Exams Prep
It’s June! Everyone’s thoughts turn to summer vacation.
If you are a teenager, your thoughts need to turn towards Final Exams Prep…Again. You know that yucky feeling you get in the pit of your stomach at the mere mention of exams? I have a way to minimize it.
Set Up A Study Schedule. Don’t wait for your school to hand out the exam schedule. The administration knows what it is already. Go get a copy! Read more ›
Warning- This post does not handle this conversation delicately. It is frank and to the point.
As a teacher, I’ve heard it all (okay, maybe not all, but I’ve heard a lot). Students have soooo many misconceptions about their bodies, about how others see them, and about what is going on socially in their school. As a Biology Teacher, I get to debunk the Sex Myths Believed By Inexperienced Teens. The funny thing is the same misconceptions are repeated every year, no matter where I’m teaching. Take the Prom Night Sex survey, then take the Quiz below.
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To paraphrase Jamie K. Schmidt from her fabulous workshop on Writing Novellas, there are 24 hours in a day. That breaks down into:
8 hours of sleep
8 hours of work
8 hours for everything else
8 hours for everything else?
That’s huge! That’s 56 hours a week! That’s more than enough time to fit in everything, including writing and exercise (and laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and most importantly, nurturing the important relationships in your life). Read more ›
Last year (as in Last Winter, not 2015), the snow in Connecticut was voluminous. We received record-breaking amounts that fell on the previous record-breaking amounts. The snow was too deep to plow the lake for hockey, but some of the ice-fishermen were not deterred.
My neighbor’s Adirondacks chairs were completely buried in snow for a month. I took this picture after a few days of warmer weather. Read more ›