A monthly e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English language arts at home and at school.
IN THIS ISSUE . . .
Do love and grammar seem like an unlikely combination? Not for poet/teacher/editor/author/musician/sportsfan Janet M. Goldstein. Celebrate Valentine's Day by seeing how Janet perfectly fused these two disparate entities in "Life Sentence" (even the title provides a clue). http://www.grammarandmore.com/edu/archive/issue7.htm#V
And never underestimate the value of securing the permissions you need. Tracking Janet down so that I could use her poem in the February 2001 LinguaPhile was the beginning of a great (mostly online) friendship. What a delight to meet someone whose poem I have treasured for thirty years!
* * *
Valentine's Day is a great time to implement suggestions made in the November 2001 LinguaPhile, which centered around family stories. From Me to You: The reluctant writer's guide to powerful personal messages provides concrete suggestions for expressing your appreciation of those you love. Other articles include additional ideas for creating family keepsakes. http://www.grammarandmore.com/edu/archive/issue16.htm
And if you want your keepsake to take the form of a personal, handbound book, here's a source for a kit containing everything you'll need: http://www.BooksFromTheHeart.com
Conferences are a great place to
If you will be attending the Write to Learn Conference at Tan-Tar-A (Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri) February 7, please stop by the Portico Books table (#21). Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.
A living language is an expanding language, to be sure, but care
should be taken itself that the language does not crack like a
dry stick in the process, leaving us all miserably muddled in a
monstrous miasma of mindless and meaningless mumbling.
You are likely to recognize hyper meaning "over," as in hyperactive and hyperbole ([hi PER bo lee], a rhetorical device that employs exaggeration).
Hypercorrection is a common phenomenon in our society. In an attempt to avoid usage errors, people actually make more of them by "correcting" what is already right. One of the most common kinds of hypercorrection involves the use of subject and object pronouns. Many people have the idea that subject pronouns are superior to object pronouns, so they say something like "The message was for he and I." In fact, neither subject nor object pronouns are superior to the others; each kind is required in specific situations. If the pronoun is used as the subject of a sentence or follows a linking verb and renames the subject, a subject pronoun is indeed required. However, if the pronoun is functioning as a direct object, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition (as in the example above), an object pronoun is needed. (The example should be corrected to "The message was for him and me.")
The best way to avoid hypercorrection is to have a thorough understanding of the rules of English. Hands-On English makes those rules easier to understand than do most other English handbooks.
In addition, Hands-On English includes nearly 200 morphemes, along with their meanings and examples. Knowing the meanings of morphemes can help you unlock hundreds of words the first time you encounter them. Reviewers of Hands-On English have said that the vocabulary section alone is worth the book's modest purchase price. Learn more -- and place your order -- at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm
Question: I always thought that anymore should be used with a negative, as in "We don't go there anymore." However, more and more I hear people using it like this: "That place is empty anymore." Which way should I teach my kids? Does it matter?
Answer: Thank you for a great question! Although there are
several points of disagreement on anymore, experts seem to
concur regarding the answer to your question: Anymore should
be used only with a negative or in a question:
The idea without the negative probably could be best expressed by
the word nowadays:
In answer to your last question: Yes, it does matter. This is an
opportunity to protect correct usage from corruption.
In other issues related to anymore: There is disagreement
regarding spelling. Although some sources say that it should
always be two words (any more), I would side with those who
advocate different spellings for different meanings. In the
examples discussed above, anymore is an adverb of time. Any
more can also be a phrase, consisting of either an adverb and
an adjective or an adjective and a noun. In such cases I would break
it into two words:
Hands-On English will put a wealth of information at your fingertips so that you can quickly find what you need to know about grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and more. Get details -- and place your order -- at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm
We invite your questions for this feature: mailto:Fran@GrammarAndMore.com
Although Richard Lederer may be best known for his delightful word play, he is also an eminent authority on English. In The Miracle of Language he writes somewhat more seriously about this language that he loves, inspiring in us a deeper appreciation of our system of communication that we often take for granted.
The chapter titled "In Praise of English" makes us grateful that ours is a language that puts so many words at our disposal -- remarkable for their sheer number as well as for their variety. Because English has so freely adopted words from other languages, we often have many choices about how we will express an idea -- whether we will use short words derived from Anglo-Saxon, for example, or more luxurious words derived from French.
Although Lederer's subject matter is serious, his style never becomes ponderous. His short chapters and lively prose keep the reader engaged. And occasionally he cannot resist playing, as in the chapter titled "The Case for Short Words," where for four paragraphs he restricts himself to one-syllable words.
Of special interest are the chapters about literary giants -- William Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, and George Orwell -- and the contributions they have made not only to our literature but also to our language. For example, Shakespeare is credited with the first use of over 1,700 words, nearly eight percent of the different words that he used in his writing. In addition, his plays include many phrases that have become titles of novels and many others that have been repeated so often that they have become clichés.
Lederer also includes many inspiring quotations about English and entries from the ground-breaking dictionaries of Samuel Johnson and Ambrose Bierce. (Can you imagine undertaking the formidable task of writing the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language?)
Lederer champions letter writing, poetry writing, libraries, reading, the effective use of English. Particularly poignant is the example of mistranslation of one word that led to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Lederer fondly portrays English as a thriving, evolving entity. By instilling appreciation for the legacy we have received, he inspires us to safeguard its future.
Published by Pocket Books, 1991; 254 pages.
I take it you already know
Beware of heard, a dreadful
And here is not a match for
Can you match each of these English words with its language of origin?
Answers next month.
Answer to January Puzzler:
How can you remove the air from a glass that is half full of water (without losing the water that is there or breaking the glass)?
Simply fill the glass with water. Think of all of the situations in life to which this principle applies: Increase your ability by developing your strengths rather than by eliminating your weaknesses.
Thank you for reading. If you find LinguaPhile helpful and interesting, don't keep it a secret! Consider which of your friends would also enjoy it, and send them information about subscribing. We welcome your comments and suggestions: fran@GrammarAndMore.com.
The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated monthly, is now
available in either a text or .doc format on the GrammarAndMore Web site:
© 2003 Fran Santoro Hamilton