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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A video called 38 Common Spelling and Grammar Errors I thought was worth sharing.

I watched this video and felt it contains a lot of useful information. Unfortunately it races through the information so you don't have sufficient time to absorb the tips being shared. I thought I'd share the video and then also write up the tips being shared. I also thought I'd skip the jargon being used as best I could, as many of us who haven't studied the English language at depth really don't get the jargon. Just more meaningless words to confuse us even further.

So here goes. Here's the video.



1. Lay versus Lie.

Yep. This one gives me grief all the time.

You lay down your copy of your book, but if it happened in the past you laid down your book.

I think I'll lie down and have a sleep, but if it happened in the past, I laid down and had a sleep and feel much better now.

The word lay needs an object such as the book or in the last example "Clark Kent lay down...", whereas lie appears to be more about taking an action. Yep. That's confusing so I'll still need to keep working on that one.

2. Literally.

People often say things like "I literally died when I...", but literally means it actually happened. Since they aren't dead then it didn't literally happen.

3. If your sentence has two independent thoughts you have a run on sentence. You can use a semi colon, but it is better to use a full stop and make two separate sentences.

4. Who versus that.

Who is for people and that is for non people.

5. For sell should be for sale.

6. Who versus Whom

The trick to use here is if your answer contains he or she, then it is who, and if it contains him or her use whom.

Example. Who is your favourite Spice girl? Whom do you like among the Spice girls?

OK. I don't know about you, but that one didn't help me at all. I need to do some more reading.

7. If you're using a singular noun use a singular pronoun. If you're using a plural noun use a plural pronoun.

E.g. Everyone in our office has their friends. Everyone in our office has his/her favourite episode of Duck Dynasty.

8. Catch IN the Rye. Sex AND the City.

These are a title of a book and the title of a TV series. You use the title as it was originally written.

9 Nip it in the bud. You don't nip anything in the butt.

10. I couldn't care less. You don't say "I could care less" because that means you at least care a little.

11. A lot is two words. Not alot.

12. Lose versus Loose. To lose something has one o. Loose which means not tight has two.

13. Fewer versus Less.

If you can count the objects then use fewer. If it is an uncountable quality use less.

E.g. There are fewer people in the restaurant today. I love this restaurant less than my favourite restaurant. Love is not something you can count.

14. Could of, would of, should of, should be could've, would've should've, which are contractions of the word and have.

15. For all intensive purposes should be for all intents and purposes.

16. Subjects: I, you, he, she, it we they. Objects: me, you, him, her, it us, them.

I ate ice cream where I is the subject. Henry the VIII married and decapitated me etc., where me is the object.

This doesn't totally help as there's overlap in the two lists, but you can see that if you were to use some objects as subjects and some subjects as objects in the sentences it doesn't sound right. For example it doesn't sound right to say "me ate ice cream".

17. Tip for using me or I. Remove the other noun and make sure using each alone makes sense in the sentence.

18. Anxious versus Eager.

Anxious means nervous and eager means excited.

19. Good versus Well.

Good is an adjective or noun and well is an adverb.

I'm doing well not I'm doing good.

20. If versus Whether.

If implies a condition whereas whether implies there's a choice.

21. Bring versus Take.

If it is coming towards the speaker use bring, but if it's going away from the speaker use take.

22. Historic versus Historical

Historic is something significant that happened in history, but historical is anything that happened in the past.

23. You're means you are. Your means something you possess.

24. It's is a contraction of it is, it has, whereas its is something it possesses. You may have noticed a spelling error of posesses in the video at this point.

25. There is a location, their is something they possess, and they're is a contraction of they are.

26. Who's is a contraction of who is, whereas whose indicates ownership, or of whom or which.

27. Emigrate is when you leave a country and immigrate is when you come to a country.

28. Two is the number which comes after one and too means also. To is the only one you can use as a preposition or infinitive, as in "I want to go to Disneyworld".

29. Allusion versus Illusion. Allusion comes from the word allude and illusion is a deceptive performance.

30. Bear versus bare.

A bear you see in the woods, it also means to carry or tolerate such as bear with me, and also to stay in one direction such as bear right. Bare is when you have no clothes on are are exposed. This one has me tricked in the past.

31. Elicit versus Illicit

Elicit is to draw out some information you want, whereas illicit is illegal, as in illicit drugs.

32. Led is the past tense of lead (which sounds like it should be spelt leed). Lead is the type of paint your shouldn't use.

33. Stationery versus Stationary. The trick I was taught is think of e for envelope when thinking about stationery for the office.

34. Weather versus Whether. The weather around us and whether is a choice. Whilst not mentioned, here there is a third spelling which is wether, but it is rarely used and means a castrated ram.

35. Affect versus Effect.

You can affect the outcome to produce an effect. Effect is an outcome or the result. Affect is a verb which is an action.

36. Than versus Then. Use than for comparison and then for next or later.

37. Principal versus Principle.

My headmaster told me once to think of principal as your pal. OK. I actually remembered that but didn't take too much to the idea of him being my pal.

The word principal means something of highest in importance. E.g. The principal problem being...

The word principle means a law or a rule.

Now that can be confusing because we say things like we have very strong principles and they tend to be highly important to us. We can however think of them as being the rules by which we live.

38. Accept versus Except. You have to accept this list is now complete, except that I still need to add my remaining comments.

So with much typing that's it. The 38 points raised in the video along with some notes. I hope others find this useful. For me this has been a good reminder of the subtle uses of our language. For those that studied the constructs of our language in more detail much of this will be easy. For the rest of us, it seems more like fine tuning of our language skills over time through trial and error.

Which of these words have given you trouble in the past? For me there's been a number and sometimes even though I think I know which word to use, I still have to pause and think.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
Creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.




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