Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Logic? Sure Thing!

Do You Really Understand English  

Everyone who reads my blog knows I love Reader’s Digest.  
In their September 2010 issue, they presented an article by 
Melissa Demeo and Paul Silverman that resonated with me. 
Although I like to think I’m literate when it comes to speaking
 and writing, I honestly had to pause after each example and 
consider if I’m an offender.

I’m going to share some of their tips with you today.  I suppose as
 long as I’ve credited the magazine and authors, I won’t be brought 
up on plagiarism charges.  I’ve “bolded” the correct examples
 below,and in some cases, both are appropriate when used in 
the correct situation:

Could care less versus Couldn’t care less:  Because you care so
 little already, you couldn’t care less.

Less versus Fewer:  Recommend the use of fewer when you
 specify a number of countable things (50 words or fewer).  
Less is appropriate when speaking of mass amount (less than half.)
 hand as guilty on this one.*

Hone in versus Home in: Since hone means to sharpen, Home in
comes from “homing pigeons.” which indicates being single-minded.  
You either want to home in on something or, if you’re confused,
 zero in on the topic.

Brother-in-laws versus Brothers-in-law:  Form the plural by adding 
an s to the thing there is more than one of.  Of course an ‘s would
 indicate possession by one brother-in-law.  (applies to runners-up
and hole in ones, too)

Different than versus Different from: If you can substitute “from: 
for than, then do it.  Use “than” for comparisons.  Example:  My office 
is different from any other in the building.  My office is bigger than 
any other in the building.  *Raising hand as guilty on this one.*

Try versus Try to: If you are planning to do something, then try to
do it.Of course, try and try again makes sense, but remember the rule.

Supposably versus Supposedly: Although spell check tells me that
 supposably is not a word, it is one—meaning “conceivably.”  But, if
 you’re trying to relay, “it’s assumed” than supposedly is what you
 want to say and what most people recognize as correct English.

All of versus All:  Drop “of” whenever you can, but not before a pronoun.
 Examples:  All the children were in their seats.  All of them were in
 their seats.

Outside of versus Outside: Both are prepositions and weren’t meant
 to be used together. 

Each other versus One AnotherEach other is appropriate when
 speaking of two people or things. Example: Ginger and Barbara
 present each other with a gift for the occasion.  One another is used
 when more are involved. 
 Example:  The debaters argued with one another.

Now for some confusing pairs:

Wary = suspicious
Weary = tired
Farther = physical distance
Further = metaphorical distance or time
Principle = rule
Principal = School official
Compliment = saying a nice thing
Complement = match
Continual = ongoing but intermittent
Continuous = without interruption
Stationary = doesn’t move
Stationery = paper
Imply = suggest a meaning
Infer = draw meaning from something
Affect (v) = to act upon. (n) = an emotional response
Effect (n) = something produced, but as a verb) to bring about  

If you’re like me, you’re still confused about affect versus effect, 
so here are some examples: His bad behavior affected the entire
classroom.  His bad behavior had a negative effect in the classroom.

I still don’t get the “emotional response” usage of affect as a noun.

A few last helpful hints:  Did you know that saying “at this point in time”
is redundant?  Point and time have the same meaning in this instance.  
At this time, at this point…

Past history?  Isn’t all history past?

Be careful where you place your modifiers…if you even need one.  
If you read this sentence with “even” placed after “need”, the meaning
of the sentence is changed.  “Only, also, and even can impact your story
if you aren’t careful.

And one of my favorites,  I versus me:  When comparing yourself to 
someone or something, use I.  “Am” is implied so consider that “me am”
is not apppropriate. Meow is, if you’re a cat.  J

The rules continue to grow the more I write.  Just when I think I have
grasp on something, one house claims the rule inappropriate and 
I have to change my logic.  What logic, I say….there is none in writing. 
But just in case you want to check out my accomplishments, please
visit my website at http://www.gingersimpson.com and see if you think
I understand English.  Now don’t forget, we’re talking U.S. English, 
not The Queen’s English. You won't find any unnecessary "u" instances,
 such has favour or favourites.

Shouldn’t English be English?  See, I told you…no logic.