Spelling, punctuation, and other fun topics




People who like to read and write like words and like playing with words, sentences, punctuation, and anything else that comes along with reading and writing. Now that so many of us are BFF forever with our electronic gadgets, we have new tools for communicating—or failing to communicate, as the case may be. Word processing software now comes with spelling and grammar checkers. I expect most writers find them helpful, but they don’t make a very good crutch. For one thing, some of the grammar checkers contain hard-coded grammatical errors. And even if the suggested correction isn’t simply wrong, it … Continue reading






Two pees in a pot: students’ misused pears




The Internet is full of bad writing by people who ought to take more pride in their work. In this series of posts, I have had fun with homonyms and enjoyed publishing the results of careless writers who choose wrongly from a pear (grin) of words. Now I find that teachers also enjoy posting excerpts from their students’ tests and papers. Some of those kids have a lot more serious problems than simply choosing the right word! Here are a few beauties: We were as close as two pees in a pot. He urines to be accepted. Steinbeck always wrote … Continue reading






Summery or summary? More misused pears




Many years ago, one of my birthday presents was an enormous eraser–about the size of an index card, 3×5. On it was printed the boast, “I never make misteaks.” That’s hard for me to type; my spell checker auto-corrects. It’s embarrassing to find mistakes in my own writing (unless they’re intentional)–but sometimes great fun to catch someone else’s. English has lots of homonyms. For anyone who wasn’t paying attention during several years of school language classes, that means English has lots of pairs of words that sound the same but have different spellings. Inevitably some careless writer will choose the … Continue reading






Where your spell checker is no help: more misused pears




People search online for writing tips because they want to improve their writing. Perhaps you came to this post because you typed “writing tips” into a search engine. Maybe you want to clean mistakes out of your own writing. Maybe you teach writing and want something for your students. Or maybe you just want some fun with homonyms. Actually, I love mistakes in writing, provided that either someone else makes them or I get to do it deliberately to make a point. I have certainly enjoyed writing “misused pears” instead of “misused pairs” as part of the title of this … Continue reading






Pouring over a book and other misused pears




Some pears of words are so much alike that authors frequently choose the wrong one. Oh. That should be pairs, shouldn’t it? Pour/Pore A highly respected Bible teacher urged readers of a workbook to “pour over their Bibles” in order to find answers. Pouring over the Bible, or any other book, could make it impossible to read it until the mess is cleaned up. She doesn’t suggest just what students should pour over their Bibles, but almost any liquid would do irreparable damage. “Pour” means to make a fluid (liquid or granular solid) flow. Pour water into a glass or perhaps … Continue reading