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Spelling & Grammar

Tips & Tricks

This segment of the Writers-Voice.com is designed to offer simple, basic spelling and grammar help. 

If you can think of anything we've missed, or have anything you'd like us to include, please email  Clive , or put a note on the Discussion and Review Forum.

The English language has many forms of different words whose pronunciation sounds the same, but whose meanings are different. 

Examples:
 

Words That Sound the Same

There

Tommy and Sarah live next door. I will go there.

Their 

Their house is beside mine.

They're

They're not home right now.

 .

 .

It's

It's too wet to go outside today.
Its The cat sat on the couch licking its paws.
   

To

I'm going to Sarah's house.

Two

She has two computers.

Too

Is that too many?

 .

 .

One

I only have one computer.

Won

It would be nice if I won another one.

 .

 .

Red

I am wearing a red sweater.

Read

I read a good book last week.

 .

 .

Where

Where is that new store?

Wear

I wonder what dress I should wear to go there.

 .

 .

Whose

Whose poem was that?

Who's

Who's that standing over there?

 .

 .

Whether

I wonder whether or not I should take my umbrella today.

Weather

The weather forecast is for rain this afternoon.

 .

 .

For

My friend got flowers for me today.

Fore

Fore is usually a prefix meaning 'front,' like foreground or forehead.

Four

There were four pink carnations and four yellow roses in the bouquet.

 .

 .

Ate

I ate my lunch at the park today.

Eight

I counted eight squirrels while I was there.

 .

 .

Wait

We will have to wait until later this afternoon to go to the gym.

Weight

My weight has dropped by ten more pounds.

 .

 .

Dear

I started the letter by saying "Dear Jane."

Deer

We saw a deer at the edge of the forest yesterday.

 .

 .

Night

It gets very dark late at night.

Knight

The knight in shining armour rescued the beautiful princess.

Nite

It gets very dark late at nite {commonly used slang}.

 .

 .

Meat

Some people eat meat and other people don't.

Meet

I am going to meet Sarah at the store.

 .

 .

Reed

Sometimes you will see a reed growing in the river.

Read

When you open the Writers-Voice.com, you probably intend to read.

  .

 .

No

No, you should not have done that.

Know

I don't know why you broke my favourite thing.

  .

 .

Blue

My favourite days are when the sky is blue.

Blew

The wind blew very hard this morning, but the sky was blue.

  .

 .

New

She has a new car today.

Knew

He knew she was going to buy the new car.

  .

 .

Shoe

I can't find my other shoe; I can't have one bare foot.

Shoo

I told that pesky raccoon to shoo! Get away from my garbage!

  .

 .

Bare

Some people like to have bare feet in the summer.

Bear

I wouldn't want to step in bear poop with bare feet.

 .

 .

Hear

The birds singing in the morning are a pleasure to hear.

Here

There are many birds around here.

  .

  .

Soar

The birds soar high into the blue sky.

Sore

I wonder if their wings get sore from all that work.

 .

 .

Board

There is a board missing from our tall wooden fence.

Bored

Some of the kids were bored, but I was excited!

 .

 .

Jim

My oldest brother is named Jim.

Gym

Sometimes we exercise together at the gym.

 .

 .

Bore

He might have to bore a hole in that wall.  or  Does the teacher bore you?

Boar

Maybe a boar could make the hole with its horn.

 .

 .

Sweet

Chocolate is very sweet.

Suite

I just ate some at my friend's hotel suite.

 .

 .

Beets

We pickled beets from the garden last fall. 

Beats

The drummer beats the drum in time to the music.

 .

 .

Born

I was born in the month of August.

Borne

The weight of a child is borne with love.

 .

 .

Waste

I don't like to waste food. 

Waist

Sometimes eating too much adds inches to my waist.

 .

 .

Close

Please don't forget to close the door.

Clothes

Put more clothes on before you go out; it's cold today.

 .

 .

Site

This site is designed to give you reading pleasure.

Sight

We hope you enjoyed your first sight of the Writers-Voice.com

Cite

To give evidence in court, you might cite, or quote {read} an excerpt from a document.

  .

  .

Mite

I am a mite thirsty right now; a sip of water will do.

Might

I might go home right now, or in ten minutes.

 .

 .

Rite

A Christian Baptismal ceremony, for instance, is called a 'rite.'

Right

Peter was right {meaning correct}; most people are right handed.

Write

We use our pens, our typewriters, and our keyboards to physically write.

 .

 .

See

We can see the stars tonight.

Sea

If we were on a ship at sea, we could see them better.

 

 

Sees

He sees the full moon in the sky.

Seas

He was on a ship on the high seas...

Seize

...until a pirate came to seize control.

  .

 . 

Flour

We used wheat flour to bake the cookies.

Flower

The first flower of spring opened in the garden.

 .

 .

Our

Our home is very comfortable; it is nice to live there.

Hour

Every hour has sixty minutes.

 .

 .

Pour

I am going to pour a glass of milk.

Pore

A pore is a tiny opening in our skin.  or  Students have to pore over their text books before an exam.

 .

 .

Pried

He pried the lid off the rusty old tin.

Pride

We should always take pride in our work and do our best.

  .

 .

Rode

Johnny rode a bicycle for the first time.

Road

He rode a short way down the road in front of our house.

  .

 .

Toad

A toad is a small hopping creature, similar to a frog.

Towed

The car was towed away by a huge truck.

  .

 .

Dour 

The woman was not pleased; her expression was dour.

Dower

Men used to seek dower rights to a new bride from her father.

  .

 .

Be

I will be going home later.

Bee

The bee stung my brother.

Bea

This Bea is a proper name for a female person.

  .

 .

Bred

That horse was bred only for racing.

Bread

We use bread to make a sandwich.

  .

 .

Plate

We eat our dinner off a plate, or we can plate materials with a coating of metal.

Plait

I will plait her hair into braids.

  .

 .

Hall

We hang our coats up in the front hall.

Haul

I will haul the garbage to the dump.

  .

 .

Maul

Occasionally a big cat will maul a trainer.

Moll

A gangster's woman was called his 'moll.'

  .

 .

Horse

We rode a horse through the mountain trail.

Hoarse

His voice was hoarse from a sore throat.

  .

 .

Need

We need to drink water to stay healthy.

Knead

A baker must knead the dough to make bread.

  .

 .

Plane

My sister is flying out to visit in a plane.

Plain

I got a plain, ordinary blue shirt today. or They call the flat country around here the prairie, or the plains.

  .

 .

Pray

Many people pray to God every night.

Prey A mouse is a cat's favourite prey.
   
Knee. . The knee joint enables you to bend your leg.
Nee. . Mrs. Jones was nee {formerly} Miss Miller.
   
Kneel When we pray, we often kneel on our knees.
Neil Neil Armstrong was one of the first Astronauts.

 

Silent Letters in Common Words

Scissors the letter c is silent - pronounced 'sissors'
Knife the letter k is silent - pronounced 'nife'
Sword the letter w is silent - pronounced 'sord'
Dread  the a is silent - pronounced 'dred
Bread the a is silent - pronounced 'bred'
Knee the k is silent - pronounced 'nee'
Kneel the k is silent - pronounced 'neel'

 

Common Contractions

Don't do not   Wouldn't would not
Can't can not   Shouldn't  should not
Isn't is not   Didn't  did not
It's  it is   Hadn't  had not
Hasn't  has not   They're they are
Doesn't  does not   Wasn't  was not
Won't  will not Shan't shall not
Couldn't  could not
       

 

Poetic Contractions

'Tis  it is
'Ere before {as in 'Ere long they were parted...}
'Twas  it was

Time-Honoured Rules

I before e except after c is a very good rule. It helps remind you how to spell words like receive. 

When two vowels {vowels = a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y} go walking, the first one does the talking.

Tricks

To help remember whether it is i or e first in the word friend, remember that Friday is the end of the week, and Friday is our friend.

The word 'separate' is easy to remember if you can see that there is 'a rat' within the word.
 

Basic Punctuation

When using quotation marks {" or '} always place the punctuation {. , ? !} inside the final quotation mark.

Periods {.} are used at the end of a sentence.

Question marks {?} are used at the end of an interrogatory sentence {a sentence that asks a question}.

Exclamation marks are used at the end of a strong or excited statement.  For example:  "Look!  There is a horse and carriage!"

Three dots in a row {...}, technically called Ellipsis Points, signify an incomplete phrase or sentence. For instance:  I wish...

A Comma {,} is used to separate complete phrases within a sentence, or to separate individual descriptive or other words within a sentence. For example:

1} I think I might go for a drive, but I might stay here and work instead.
2} He is tall, dark, muscular, and handsome.

A semi-colon {;} is used to separate a complete phrase from the remainder of a sentence, but each phrase must be able to stand alone as a complete thought. For example: Our home is very comfortable; it is nice to live here.

A colon {:} is used to create a halt before an entirely different thought or phrase within the same sentence or paragraph structure, as in the use of the colon throughout this page, after the words 'for example.'

"Uniquities" of the English Language

Rusty Broadspear, a 'uniquity' himself - I just made up this word, it's not real, but it suits what I mean - has submitted two little-known facts about the English language.  I'll quote the 'ough' one verbatim, since there is no way I could put it any better:

Another second cousin, twice removed, from spelling and grammar - but here goes! The combination 'ough' can be pronounced in 9 different ways. The following sentence contains them all ......... "A rough-coated, dough - faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

The word 'cleave' is the only word in the English language that is spelled the same and sounds the same, but has two opposite meanings.  It means to remain together, to be faithful on the one hand, and to cleave or cut or chop asunder on the other - you could say that a woodcutter 'cleaves' the wood with his axe, and a faithful couple 'cleaves' to each other.

If you have other unique things to tell us about the English language, or any other suggestions to enhance this page, please submit them through the Discussion Forum {preferable}, or email them to me

Useful ASCII Characters

I have found these ASCII codes sometimes amusing but also valuable in corresponding in other languages, because all of the accents are present. To access them on your keyboard, hold down the ALT key {one on each side of the space bar}, and at the same time, use the numbers on the number pad on the right side of your keyboard to create the ASCII character. You can create some fun faces with these codes too - they're not just useful.

For example: That is a combination of Alt 174, Alt 147, Alt 168, Alt 147 and Alt 175.

126 = ~ 127 =  128 = 129 = 130 = 131 =
132 = 133 =   134 = 135 = 136 = 137 =
138 = 139 = 140 = 141 = 142 =   143 =
144 = 145 = 146 = 147 = 148 = 149 =
150 = 151 = 152 = 153 = 154 = 155 =
156 = 157 =   158 = P 159 =   160 =   161 =  
162 = 163 = 164 = 165 = 166 = 167 = 
168 =    169 = _  170 = 171 = 172 = 173 = 
174 = 175 = 179 =   225 = 227 = 230 =
241 = 246 = 253 =   15 =  21 = 0222 =
0169 = . . . . .

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