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Grammar Lesson

Renee Stevens

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Thank you to Cia and Nephy for providing this weeks Lesson.



By Cia


So… grammar lessons, in a nutshell, don’t make much sense if a person quotes lots of things that you haven’t used or thought about since you first learned them at primary school, years ago.

I could quote rules and give you definitions, but that doesn’t help anyone. I do have a few tricks for some of the most common mistakes used with homonyms. The list goes way beyond these few I’m sharing so, if you’d like to read up on more, or quiz your knowledge, check out the links I’ve provided!


Commonly misused homonyms:


1. There versus Their versus Th ey’re. Okay, so - there is a noun. Their is a pronoun. They’re is a contraction of a noun and verb. Lost yet? To figure out which one you should be using - try thinking of it this way:


A. Does the sentence indicate a ‘here or there’? If so use t(here).

B. Are you talking about an object that someone owns? Then is it ‘hers or his’ or ‘th(ei)rs’.

C. Try the sentence and see if they are performing an action and use ‘they are’ instead of ‘there’ or ‘their’. Does it make sense? If yes. . .use they’re.


2. Your versus You’re versus Yore. Well, I throw the last one in there mostly because I’ve seen it from really bad spellers. Yore is an old way of saying times past, quite specialized in use really. For the most part it isn’t relevant.


As for the most common mistake, there is an easy way to know which one is right for almost every case. Just substitute ‘You are’ in the sentence; if it makes sense, you should use the contraction ‘you’re’. The other ‘your’ indicates possession.


3. Its versus It’s. One of the most common mistakes made, I do it all the time and it drives me nuts. One shows possession and the other is a contraction. To check your sentence if you’re not sure of the right usage, substitute ‘It is or It has’. If it works, use the contraction, it’s.


4. Except versus Accept. This is another easy one with a little trick. Accept is a verb-hence action. So I just remember if the word are indicating an action, use the word that starts with an a.


5. Affect and Effect. I remember this one in a similar way to #4. Affect is a verb-the action taken to do something. Effect is the result, often from whatever affects you, lol. So to remember the difference, look at your sentence. If you’re indicating an ‘a’ction happening, use ‘a’ffect. A for action!


6. Hear and here. You’d be surprised how often I see this one. Just remember, if it’s going in an ear, use h(ear).


Two other major confused and misspelled words that aren’t homonyms:


1.Than or Then. Than compares, then indicates a time or sequence of events. So, if your sentence should indicate tim(e), such as ‘I had a cookie, then a bowl of ice cream’, use th(e)n. If your sentence compares such as ‘My cookie was better than a bowl of ice cream’ then use than


2.Lose or Loose. Lose means to misplace something, Loose means not tight, free, that sort of thing. So, think of it this way. If you mean something is lost… lose that extra o!


Okay…too much of a good thing makes your brain overload, so I’ll stop now. If you are interested in looking up more homonyms check out this site, http://www.grammarbo...ds-letter-a.asp It’s a very comprehensive grammar website, I actually enjoy perusing.

If you want to test your knowledge on homonyms, check out this quiz: http://www.usingengl...uizzes/100.html I got a 97%, can you beat me?



By Nephy

One of my pet hates is when someone opens a grammar loop, and doesn’t close it.

I have no idea if this is the right name for it, but it works for me, so tough.

A grammar loop is where a particular phrase had to be succeeded or preceded by another one

An example of a grammar loop


If… then

If the weather is wet, then you should take an umbrella (Succeeding).

You should take an umbrella, if the weather is wet (Preceding).

It doesn’t make sense if you just say… If the weather is wet.


Other examples


  • Although the weather was wet - he didn’t take an umbrella
  • He didn’t take an umbrella – although the weather was wet.
  • Because he hadn’t taken an umbrella, he got wet.
  • He got wet, because he hadn’t taken an umbrella.
  • Until he saw the weather, he didn’t think about taking an umbrella
  • He didn’t think about taking an umbrella, until he saw the weather.
  • It was dry under the bridge
  • Under the bridge, it was dry.

By and large, the italicized phrases don’t stand alone, although. of course there are exceptions. For example, in dialogue, in answer to a question etc.


There is an added dimension to some of the loops in that the second half has something implied into it, such as an opposite. For example :-


Although the weather was wet… he was wet? NO

Although the weather was wet… he was dry? Yes.


When writing a sentence that includes words like - Although, because, if, when, how, consider carefully whether the sentence has opened a loop which needs to be closed. It helps if you read it out loud.

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I'm probably too much of a punctuation snob, but the grammar loop examples contain two comma errors -- on because and until.


It should read "He got wet because..." with no comma, because the because clause is dependent, not independent.


Likewise with until. It should read "umbrella until" sans comma.


When the clauses are placed in front of the main sentence, the commas remain.

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