Wednesday, 31 August 2016

"Should of" is not a thing

This is much like the he’s/his issue, where people are inclined to write what they hear without actually thinking about the meaning of the words being used.

“Should of” does not mean anything. Neither does “could of”, “must of”, “would of”, etc.
The reason you’re saying it or writing it like this is probably because they are contractions – “should’ve” (should have) and “could’ve” (could have) – which makes it sound like they have “of” in there somewhere.

“I should have/should’ve gone to the party” is correct. “I should of gone to the party” makes no sense.

This is why making assumptions is a bad idea. Lazy writing and lazy speaking can leave some negative impressions on all the right people. So, know what you’re saying before you say it. If you’re ever in doubt, it takes just a few seconds to check!

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Prepositions: What are they and why should I care?

Here is another interesting suggestion from one of my friends.
Prepositions. We all know the word, but do we know the meaning and significance of it?
As school becomes a thing of the past, it can be easy to forget what each grammatical term refers to, so let’s start with this one.

What are they?

The Macquarie dictionary describes a preposition as “a word which defines the relationship between a noun (or pronoun) and some other word(s) in the sentence.”
This means the preposition is usually telling you when, how, where, etc. Without prepositions, we wouldn’t get to add detail as easily.

The dog sat
on my bed.
She walked
across the road.
We ate lunch
inside the café.

If you want a little clue to help you remember what prepositions are, think of the “positions” part of the word. Often a preposition will tell you what position the subject of the sentence is in.

Why should I care?

Well, there’s a good chance you use prepositions every time you speak and write. They are an essential part of our language, and I personally think it’s important to know as much as you can about the everyday things you do. A preposition can assist you in descriptions and in connecting words to one another. This is extremely useful in communication, both in social and professional contexts. And the more of them you know, the more versatile you can be in your word usage. Good language is impressive to many people, myself included.

Another reason to care became apparent to me through one of my friends, who is a speech pathologist.
She reminded me that many of her patients (who are kids) struggle to use prepositions. This sort of blog post, though brief, might be useful for those patients. Being able to communicate easily is something we probably all take for granted, but unfortunately it is a challenge for some. When there is a barrier preventing you from communicating properly, it must be a very frustrating and disheartening experience. So, if you have the ability to use prepositions, know what they are and use them well. Spread the knowledge. It might help someone.

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Sunday, 14 August 2016

His and he’s are two different words

I recently asked my Facebook followers to share their pet peeves and grammar queries with me. I am so glad this one came up. Thanks, Gwen!

Too often people will use a wrong word simply because it sounds close enough to the right one. This is a very lazy thing to do, and it’s not the kind of mistake you want to be making, if any.

Examples of said lazy mistake:

He took he’s hat off.
His going to the movies with me.
I am going to he’s house to watch he’s movies because his really nice.

None of those sentences make sense, but they happen. A little too often.
With most things, you just need to take a second to consider what you’re writing or saying before you actually deliver it. Ask yourself: What even is “he’s”?
Well, it’s a contraction. “He” and “is” have been put together, and it can also be "he" and "has". Once you realise that, you probably won’t be using it for ownership anymore. You should only use “he’s” when you want to say “he is” or "he has". And then hopefully you’ll be using “his” for ownership, as it should be.

Examples of how to use these two words correctly:

His results were outstanding.
He’s going shopping for his mum.
He's fixed the car.
He’s so smart that his teachers let him skip a grade.

This topic almost ties in with the your/you’re/their/they’re/there issue, which I have dealt with in one of my earlier posts. If you wish to read it, go here.

Remember, just because it sounds right, doesn’t necessarily mean it is right. Buying your mum flours might sound good in conversation, but the second you write it down there will be confusion.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Climatic or climactic?

Yes, there are two different words with two different meanings. It is confusing because they sound very much the same, so one can be forgiven for using them in the wrong context. But that’s why it’s important to investigate and learn new things, perhaps by reading blog posts like these.

To highlight this lesson I’m going to use Lord of the Rings. No one is really surprised.

In The Return of the King when the Ring (yes, this ring gets a capital because Tolkien said so) finally gets destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, it’s emotional, exciting, and dramatic. But it’s also a climax of the film, so we can also describe it as climactic. It’s a good word to use when there is a climax.
Another climactic moment occurs in The Two Towers when Aragorn and Theoden lead their army out of the gates at sunrise, and Gandalf and Eomer arrive shortly after to help them win the battle for Helm’s Deep. And it’s also probably my favourite scene ever, but that’s beside the point.

The other word is climatic. Notice the difference?
Climatic has one less “c” in it, and it refers to the climate. You might use it like this:
“Climatic factors occasionally hinder the characters on their journey through Middle Earth.”
Or, the non-geek version:
“Predictable climatic conditions make it easier to plan holidays.”

So, how will you remember which is which?

The way I see it, climatic is pretty easy. It sounds a lot like the word it belongs to: climate.
Just take climate and replace the e with ic.

And I remember climactic belongs to climax because of the extra c. I like to look at the extra c as representing the x in climax. The x is a reminder that there is something extra involved in this word, so chuck in an extra c.
I hope that helps!

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