Friday, June 24, 2011

Grammar Friday

 Why is English so hard?
  1. The farm was used to produce produce.
  2. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  3. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  4. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  5. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  6. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  7. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  8. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  9. I did not object to the object.
  10. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  11. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  12. They were too close to the door to close it.
  13. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  14. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line. 

Tip for the day (from Gregg Reference Manual aka Grammar Bible):

In general, do not use a hyphen to set off a prefix at the beginning of a word or a suffix at the end of a word (exceptions ex- and –elect.)
Modern example: multi-purpose is now multipurpose

Be wary of spell checkers that may urge you to insert hyphens after the prefixes. 

Prefixes and suffixes are pretty cool actually. They should make you feel powerful because you can create a word. And speaking of the word create, it's a perfect transition to another exception to the above rule. Let's say you create a work of art (something written, of course!), but your house burned down, destroying your masterpiece. Now you have to recreate it.

Oh, but wait. Isn't there already a word "recreate"?


By using that word, suddenly your reader has to stop and think about usage (a bit like the list of words at the beginning of this post).So this is an exception for hyphenating prefixes. If there's already a word of your new creation, you need to use a hyphen for clarification. So it would be re-create.

So what have you created today? Or better still, what are your plans to recreate this weekend? Doing anything fun?


    1. Interesting post. I'd not really thought about hyphens too much, but now I will!

      Ellie Garratt

    2. Okay. Wow. This should be frustrating, but for some reason it just seems fun!

    3. Hmm.. now I'm going to be all hyphen fixated when I'm typing and thinking about when to use them or not. haha.

    4. I hear that often, that English is hard, but I started off life speaking a different language and after my first few words in English, I fell in love. Bring on that grammar.

    5. Ha! Great post, and play on words.

    6. Oh crud! Why can't things just stay the same? I already mess this up. What now?

    7. I know the English language is tough! This seems to prove my case.

    8. Oh, man, I'm loving your grammar posts. I'm a hyphen junkie. I like making up words all the time.

    9. You made my head spin with your list :)

    10. I loved this, Donna! I'm such a grammar nerd.

      I do have trouble with knowing whether or not a work should be hypenated. That's when I turn to my handy dandy dictionary.

    11. I dont know what to say. This web site is amazing. Thats not truly a actually substantial statement, but its all I could come up with soon after reading this. You know a great deal about this subject. Much making sure that you produced me wish to understand additional about it. Your web site is my stepping stone, my buddy. Many thanks for that heads up on this theme.

    12. Reminds me of the English Language Usage 325 class I just took at BYU. Loved and hated it. And I still make lots of mistakes.

    13. When I was teaching English overseas I used to mess with the students by putting sentences like that up on the board and have them translate them. HAHA. I was awful!

      Here's one more: He wound the bandage around the wound.


    Comments brighten my day.

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