WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 6: GETTING PERSONAL WITH PRONOUNS…

Let’s make this part short and sweet (under 1000 words, we promise!).

We’ll assume you remember that Pronouns replace Nouns. 

1. Personal Pronouns replace the names of people and things. The complete list of personal pronouns is as follows:

                     I, ME, HE, HIM, SHE, HER, WE, US, THEY, THEM, YOU and IT.

2. Like mail, we must be able to sort them into one of three categories; namely number (singular vs. plural), person (first, second or third) and case (subjective or objective).

3. NUMBER: From the above list we can conclude that the following refer to singular people or things: I, ME, HE, HIM, SHE, HER, YOU & IT. Plural forms include WE, US, THEY, THEM & YOU. (Notice ‘YOU’ can refer to singular or plural)

4. PERSON: Think of a someone (person one or first person) entering a room alone. If this first person starts talking to him or herself, which words from the above list are available to him or her? I or ME is correct. Now suppose a second person enters. What is the only word that the first person can say to the second person (keep all nasty thoughts to yourself and choose from the above list)? YOU it is! Finally, if the two people start talking about some guy in the next room, what are the choices? HE or HIM…bingo! And, if it happens to be a girl? SHE or HER...now, we’re getting it! What if it’s a group of people? THEY or THEM…you bet! Suppose it’s a dog, or an alien or a any old thing? IT…yup! If we  listen in to the group of people talking among themselves in the third room, what words would they be using? WE or US...again correct. Finally, if we take a peek inside and talk to the group, which personal pronoun would suit the occasion. YOU…(as mentioned, the pronoun YOU can refer to a single person or group)

5. CASE: Personal pronouns can be used in one of two situations or cases (no, it’s not regular and diet) – we are talking about subject (subjective case) or object (objective case).

Let’s recap! The following chart (trust us, it’s meant to look like one) should help:

NUMBER          PERSON             SUBJECTIVE   OBJECTIVE CASE

SINGULAR           FIRST                            I                          ME

”                          SECOND                       YOU                   YOU

”                          THIRD                            HE                      HIM

”                             ”                                 SHE                    HER

”                         NEUTRAL                       IT                        IT

PLURAL             FIRST                             WE                     US

”                         SECOND                       YOU                    YOU

”                         THIRD                            THEY                   THEM

Let us try to simplify matters for you by giving you a few examples where the correct form of the pronoun is used. We’ll explain why after each. Since you know (or should know) what a bare subject is and that the last word of a prepositional phrase (adjective or adverb) is the object of the preposition, then we’re at least headed in the right direction.

We realize some of this is going to sound completely weird or even foreign to you. We understand. Some of you have been raised on colloquial (informal) English and have seldom heard things spoken or written as they were intended. Relax, take a deep breath, and get a load of the King’s English…

A. She is related to him.  (‘She’ is the bare subject so we use the subjective case; ‘him’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’ so we use the objective case).

B. Split the candy between him and her. (‘him’ and ‘her’ are both used as objects of the preposition ‘between’).

C. She is younger than he. (after a comparison using ‘than‘ or ‘as‘, always use the subjective form. Why? Well, if you were to put the word ‘is’ after ‘he’ it becomes apparent. You wouldn’t say, ‘She is younger than him is.” We’ll talk more about this later.

D. Are you as old as I? (just checking to see if you were paying attention)…again, there’s a comparison so you must choose the subjective form of the pronoun…you would not have said, “Are you as old as me is?”

E. It was they who sent the parcel to them. (‘they’, the subjective form, is correct because it follows the non-action verb or bare predicate ‘was’ and is considered to be a subjective completion. More on subjective completions later…’them’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’.

YOU DON’T MEAN TO SAY…

Me and her went out on a date. Why? (‘me’ and ‘her’ are the bare subjects of the sentence and so we must select from the subjective case…so you would say it this way: She and I went out on a date. (ladies first!)

Him and my dad went to the hockey game. (Yuk! ‘him’ is part of the bare subject, along with ‘dad’, so you must pick from the subjective case. Try it like this: He and my dad went…) Much better!

That’s enough for today…take some time to go over past blogs as many times as you need.   Effort and success go hand in hand. Them are really important. (oops!…We meant ‘they’…honest!)

A few people have asked about when to use ‘who’ or ‘whom’…Before we get there, we’ll need to learn a bit more about the mechanics of our language. Be patient…all in good time,

Cheers,

Bloggingfrog & Lily

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WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 5: LET US REPHRASE THAT…

In our previous blog, Lily and I (not me and Lily) introduced you to a new word ‘SYNTAX’, which, if you were paying attention, refers to “the correct placement and use of words in a sentence.”

We walked you through the process of sentence structure and showed how words have both a function and a name. Let’s put this into practice. See if you can parse or analyze the following sentence:

Somewhere, in space, a talented team of Peruvian astronauts works in zero gravity.

Let’s go for the whole enchilada…(I’ll ask the questions; answers will follow below. No peeking!)

1. What type of sentence is it?

2. In what order is this sentence written?

3. What is the whole subject of the sentence?

4. What is the bare subject?

5. What is the whole predicate?

6. What is the bare predicate?

7. What are the three phrases used as modifiers in the sentence?

The correct answers are as follows:

1. Statement, Assertive or Declarative (S.A.D.)

2. Split order (predicate – subject – predicate)

3. ‘A talented team of Peruvian astronauts’ is the whole subject.

4. ‘team’ is the bare subject (not ‘astronauts’ because ‘astronauts’ is part of the adjective phrase ‘of Peruvian astronauts’. REMEMBER: phrases are inseparable groups of words.

5. ‘works in zero gravity somewhere in space’ (sounds better this way but as long as you had it all, consider it correct)

6. ‘works’ is the bare predicate (it tells us what the team does). ***Why ‘works’ and not ‘work’? How many teams are mentioned? One, right? ‘Team’ (the bare subject) is singular (one team) and must be followed by the singular form of the verb (bare predicate). Would you say ‘One team work’ or ‘One team works’? In this case ‘works’ works.

7. ‘in space’ modifies ‘work’ and tells us where they do their thing, ‘of Peruvian astronauts’ modifies ‘team’, ‘in zero gravity’ modifies ‘work’ and tells us how or where they work.

Now, for the hard part:

Identify the function and name for each word in the given sentence. The answers follow immediately so you might want to cover them first. (Let’s try to be honest, Abe!)

‘Somewhere’ modifies bare predicate ‘work’. Adverb

‘in’ introduces the adverb phrase ‘in space’. Preposition

‘space’ is the object of the preposition ‘in’. Noun

‘a’ modifies bare subject ‘team’. Adjective. ***Three members of the adjective family are also known as articles. ‘A’ and ‘an’ are indefinite articles (not specific) while ‘the’ is a definite article. You must surely remember indefinite and definite articles from French class – un, une (indefinite), le, la (definite). Comprenez?

‘talented’ modifies bare subject. Adjective

‘team’ is the bare subject. Noun

‘of’ introduces the adjective phrase ‘of Peruvian astronauts’. Preposition

‘Peruvian’ modifies ‘astronauts’. Adjective

‘astronauts’ is the object of the preposition ‘of’. Noun

‘works’ is the bare predicate. Verb

‘in’ introduces the adverb phrase ‘in zero gravity’. Preposition

‘zero’ modifies ‘gravity’. Adjective

‘gravity’ is the object of the preposition ‘in’. Noun

Repeat after me: PREPOSITIONS CAN BE VERY ANNOYING!


Yes they can – all 150 of them, three of which are among the Top 10 most used words in English. Two of them (‘in’ and ‘of’) appeared in today’s sentence. The preposition ‘to’ completes the trio.

We’ve included several more for your perusal:

about, above, across, after, among, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by, down, during, except, for, near, off, on, over, since, through, to, under, until, up, with…

Here are a few sentences containing phrases (in bold print). See if you are able to identify their function (what word do they describe) and name (adjective or adverb phrase). Again, it is important that we take it nice and slow. There are, in fact, several kinds of phrases but there’s no sense talking about them all at once (unless, of course, you are looking for a one-way ticket to the looney bin). Let’s stick with prepositional phrases (adjective & adverb) for now…

The boy climbed over the fence.

That house down the road is haunted by eerie spirits.

During the ceremony, the band of brave soldiers stood at attention.

The bride in the gorgeous gown walked into the church and up the aisle.

At noon, the bells of many churches ring throughout the villages.

Before we give you the correct answers, we’d like you to take a closer look at the last word of each phrase (usually a noun or pronoun) and see how it relates to the first word (preposition). We have used the term ‘object of the preposition’ and the word ‘object’ will soon show itself as a very important one, especially when it’s time to make the correct pronoun choice in a phrase. This will be our next step and for those of you who have been   diligent, the ‘fog’ will begin to clear and you’ll find yourself not only speaking or writing correctly but more important, understanding why.

Now, here are your answers:

‘over the fence’ modifies the bare predicate ‘climbed’. Adverb phrase.

‘down the road’ modifies the bare subject ‘house’. Adjective phrase.

‘by eerie spirits’ modifies b.p. (bare predicate) ‘haunted’. Adverb phrase.

‘during the ceremony’ modifies b.p. ‘stood’. Adverb phrase.

‘of brave soldiers’ modifies b.s. (bare subject) ‘band’. Adjective phrase.

‘at attention’ modifies b.p. ‘stood’. Adverb phrase.

‘in the gorgeous gown’ modifies b.s. ‘bride’. Adjective phrase.

‘into the church’, ‘up the aisle’ both modify the b.p. ‘walked’. Adverb phrases.

‘at noon’, ‘throughout the villages’ modify b.p. ‘ring’. Adverb phrases.

‘of many churches’ modifies b.s. “bells’. Adjective phrase.

That’s all for now folks. In the next blog, we’ll get personal with pronouns and show you, once and for all, how to make the correct choice when the situation warrants it.

P.S. We know the chance of this type of blog getting ‘Freshly Pressed’ has the same odds as the Toronto Maple Leafs winning another Stanley Cup; we do, however, welcome your comments or feedback. It’s always nice to know that someone out there is taking notice…

Keep well, well, well…

Bloggingfrog & Lily

 

 

 

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 4: SYNTAX: THE PRICE YOU’LL PAY FOR BAD SPELLING & GRAMMAR!

Oh, we hope we haven’t given the government any crazy ideas about raising revenue! It was a joke, a play on words if you will…

Syntax is a real word. It refers to the correct placement and use of words in a sentence. I like the architectural definition of the word: a connected or orderly system: harmonious arrangement of parts or elements…a bit like the old adage “a place for everything and everything has its place”…let’s leave it at that!

We have learned thus far that a complete thought (sentence) requires a subject (naming word) and a predicate (telling word).

The subject of a sentence can come from one of two of the 8 part of speech:  noun or a pronoun. The predicate is always a verb.

FUNCTION AND NAME! As we begin to parse, analyze, or take a sentence apart (thus realizing the ‘harmonious arrangement of these parts or elements’), we first look at what a word (or group of words) does/do in a sentence and then choose its appropriate name from the 8 parts of speech. That’s all there is to it!

Are you ready to parse a sentence? Of course you are! Here’s your first complete thought (sentence): From this point on, we shall put the predicate part of any sentence in italics.

Astronauts fly.

The word ‘astronauts’ is our naming word and hence the subject of the sentence. It tells of whom we are speaking.  It’s a noun (people, places, things).

The word ‘fly’ is our telling word and is the predicate. It’s a verb.

Ta da! We just parsed our first sentence together. We took a noun (subject) and a verb (predicate) and created a complete thought. Here’s a variation:

They fly.

This is the same thought but we’ve used the pronoun ‘they’ to replace ‘astronauts’. No big deal. Remember that pronouns often replace nouns to avoid unnecessary repetition.

We could give you a thousand more examples of two-word sentences but we’ve chosen  otherwise. Let’s just be happy with ‘Astronauts fly.’ It is a complete thought but it is rather basic, wouldn’t you agree? Okay, so all we have to do is bring in a modifier or two. Let’s choose a word to modify or describe ‘astronauts’.

Brave astronauts fly.

Cool! Brave is a good descriptor or modifier of ‘astronauts’. Think back for a sec…which family or part of speech describes nouns? (The clock ticks…) Adjective is correct!

Please note that our subject is now two words: brave astronauts. However, only one of these words is the actual naming word and that word is ‘astronauts’. From now on, we’ll refer to the main naming word as the bare subject. Sounds kinky but if a writer or speaker cannot perform this simple (though, at times, confusing) task, then mistakes will be made. Look at the following example:

One of the brave astronauts (fly or flies?).

Fly or flies is the question. Which verb is correct? Our subject is now ‘one of the brave astronauts’ and we have two naming words: ‘one’ (a pronoun) and ‘astronauts’ (a noun). Only one of these words is the bare subject and if you picked the word ‘one’ then give yourself a pat on the back. Logic would tell us that we are speaking about a single astronaut and thus we would need the single form of the verb. This gets us into what is known in Grammarland as subject/verb agreement and for those who are not aware or who don’t give a toot will often land in Boobooville. Subject/verb agreement will be covered in greater detail later. Now back to our regularly-scheduled programme…

Brave astronauts often fly into outer space.

We’ve added a couple of modifiers to the predicate ‘often’ and ‘into outer space’. However, ‘fly’ is the most important as it indicates the action taken by the brave astronauts. Thus, ‘fly’ is our bare predicate. The word ‘often’ tells us when the astronauts fly and ‘into outer space’ tell us where they fly. Which family or part of speech describes or modifies verbs? Correctomongo…adverbs is the answer!

Now would be the appropriate time to tell you about phrases (the real reason so many people err)…From the above example (which, by the way, is a phrase), ‘into outer space’ tells us where those brave astronauts fly. They are an inseparable group of words, which, as the word inseparable implies, cannot be used individually to describe the bare predicate (verb). Inseparable groups of words such as these are called phrases and in this case ‘into outer space’ is considered to be an adverb phrase, modifying the bare predicate ‘fly’. There! Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Hold on! We’re not finished. Let’s throw in another single and phrasal modifier of the bare subject and see where this takes us (probably into outer space if you’re not already there).

Three brave astronauts of the Peruvian Space Mission often fly into outer space.

We’ve added two adjective modifiers: ‘three’ and ‘of the Peruvian Space Mission‘. Once again, please note the inseparable group of words which team up to further describe the bare subject ‘astronauts’. Yes, it’s called an adjective phrase.

Now, go ahead, parse the above sentence. Use the following method:

1. Identify the whole subject (all the naming words).

2. Select the bare subject (most important naming word).

3. From the rest of the sentence (the predicate), choose the bare predicate. (which  can be more than one word, depending on the tense of the verb…present, past, future, etc.)

Subject: ‘three brave astronauts of the Peruvian Space Mission’

Bare Subject: astronauts

Bare Predicate: fly

Bravo! But we’re not quite finished (We know one should never begin a sentence with ‘but’, but we like the effect it has so it’s all right). The last thing on today’s plate is to go through the entire sentence and identify the function and corresponding name of each word. This is how it’s done:

‘three’ modifies the bare subject ‘astronauts’. It is an adjective.

‘brave’ (ditto…same as the above)

‘of the Peruvian Space Mission’ modifies the bare subject. It is an adjective phrase. (we’ll show you how to do phrasal analysis in a later blog…promise!)

‘often’ modifies bare predicate ‘fly’. It is an adverb.

‘into outer space’ (ditto…same as above). It is an adverb phrase.

And that, my fellow grammarians, if all we’ve got for…hold on a minute…it seems the members of the Peruvian Space Mission have urgently asked us to do the phrasal analysis right away (claim they’ll be flying into outer space later today and don’t want to miss a thing…who’s flying that space-craft…Steven Tyler? Hmmm, perhaps he does have a little Incan blood in him…) Roger that, team Peruvian! Here’s how it looks in English…

‘of the Peruvian Space Mission’

‘of’ introduces the phrase. It is a preposition.

‘the’, ‘Peruvian’ and ‘Space’ describe Mission. They are adjectives.

‘Mission’ is the object of the preposition. It is a noun.

Okay team, off you go into the wild blue yonder. But first, take some time to ponder as you wander through the magical and sometimes mystical Land of Grammar…until next time, try not to dangle your prepositions or misplace your modifiers…stay thirsty (for knowledge) my friends…

Bloggingfrog and Lily

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? (PART 3: WE KNOW YOUR TYPE…GET THINGS IN ORDER!)

Quick Review: The 250 000 or so WORDS in our English language are grouped into 8 FAMILIES or PARTS OF SPEECH. 

We can remember the 8 PARTS OF SPEECH using the acronym PAPA VINC. (Pronouns, Adjectives, Prepositions, Adverbs, Verbs, Interjections, Nouns and Conjunctions.)

The name of each part of speech is determined by its position and function within a sentence.

HOWEVER, BEFORE WE PROCEED TO THE ANALYSIS (OR PARSING) OF SENTENCES, WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF SENTENCES AND THREE TYPES OF SENTENCE ORDER

So that none of our students feels (not feel…you’ll learn more about subject/verb agreement later) slighted, we’ll give you all we’ve got and provide you with mnemonic devices that will help you remember…

LET’S START WITH THE FOUR TYPES OF SENTENCES:

1.  STATEMENT, ASSERTIVE OR DECLARATIVE SENTENCE(S.A.D. if you forget). Used to     tell, describe or explain something. They begin with a capital and end with a period. Example: The study of grammar is worth the effort.

2.  INTERROGATIVE OR QUESTION (What’s your I.Q.?). They begin with a capital and end with a question mark (?). Example: How does one go about it?

3.  IMPERATIVE OR COMMAND (I. C.). They too begin with a capital and end with a period. Example: Make time and study.

4.  EXCLAMATION (Oh my goodness, I’m an ex clam!) They begin with a capital and end with an exclamation mark (!). Example: Do it now! (yes, it’s a command but the exclamation mark (!) gives it some oomph)

Now, see if you can readily identify each type of sentence (Yes, you’re allowed to cheat!):

Give me your name. Why do you ask? I’m doing a survey. I hate surveys!

NEXT UP…SENTENCE ORDER!

In order to qualify as a complete thought, a sentence must have two parts, namely, a subject (the naming part) and a predicate (the telling part). Good writers often vary the arrangement of these two parts in order to add variety and interest.

There are 3 possible orders (or arrangements) of subject and predicate. Here’s your new acronym (or mnemonic device) for remembering: S.I.N. 

S = SPLIT ORDER (the subject is between two parts of the predicate). Example: After running the marathon, the exhausted athlete drank several bottles of water.

I = INVERTED ORDER (the subject and predicate are reversed). Example: Down the lane lives the little old lady.

N = NATURAL ORDER (the subject is followed by the predicate). Example: One of the contestants answered incorrectly.

Identifying the subject and predicate is not rocket science. A writer (or speaker) names something (this is our subject) and then tells something about it/him/her/them (this is our predicate). Sometimes the order in which a sentence is written or the inclusion of extra words or groups of words can complicate matters. Please don’t fret. As Papa Vinc might say, “Fergedda bout it!” We’ll proceed from the very simple of sentences before we compound matters or make things complex. By the end, we’ll have the ability to to identify and analyze (parse) even the most compound-complex types of sentences.

Your grammar is about to get a whole lot better. There’s a time and a place for using proper grammar and spelling. The secret is being able to know when and how to do just that. Remember that! (sorry Papa Vinc)…

OOPS! WHAT I MEANT WAS…

Tonight, I (bloggingfrog) was watching the Oprah/Lady Gaga interview. There was a mention of a 14 year-old gay boy who became a target of relentless bullying by his peers. In the voice-over, Oprah tells the world,”…he hung himself…”  WHAT SHE MEANT TO SAY was “…he hanged himself…”. As we were reminded in WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART ONE, pictures are hung…people are hanged.

We forgive you Oprah but not your writers who are probably paid enough to know the difference. They should be hanged (out to dry).

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 2…(THE 8 FARTS OF SPEECH)…

Oops, we’re sorry…must have pressed the wrong key (should read PARTS). Just goes to show you that mistakes (spelling or grammar) can really stink up the joint…

Today, we begin our language journey together. If you pay attention (remember: it costs nothing to pay attention) and make a serious effort, then you WILL improve your spoken and written word. Let us not follow in the footsteps of American poet Carl Sandburg who said, “I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it.”

SO, OFF WE GO…but first…

PLEASE  NOTE: There are approximately 250 000 words in the English language (see Oxford English Dictionary for more details). We are welcome to use each and every one of them when we speak, write or just plain think about things.

FURTHERMORE: All of these quarter of a million words are organized into FAMILIES or PARTS OF SPEECH depending of their function or position within a sentence.

FINALLY: There are only 8 PARTS (FAMILIES) OF SPEECH (so it shouldn’t be that difficult to learn their names).

The easiest way?  Memorize the following word: PAPA VINC (which, from this day forward, will serve as our godparent of all the families or parts of speech). Actually, PAPA VINC (which sounds a bit like an Italian godfather), will be our mnemonic (don’t pronounce the ‘m’) device or aid for learning and REMEMBERING the 8 PARTS OF SPEECH (You wouldn’t want to disappoint PAPA VINC now, would you?).

Let’s get started. Keep in mind that our goal is to learn the names of the 8 PARTS OF SPEECH (or FAMILIES OF WORDS) and get an idea what each does. We’ll add more detail as is necessary. Think of our first lesson as looking at a car engine for the first time. We can’t possibly know the names of each of the parts nor how the parts are interconnected. What we must understand, however, is that each PART does have a NAME and a PURPOSE. (All right, let’s peek ‘under the hood’ and get our first look at the engine that drives the English language)…Take it away Papa Vinc!

P is for PRONOUNS.  These words replace nouns and help us avoid unnecessary repetition in sentences. ***Once we get a handle on the mechanics of sentence structure, you will know when to use ‘I’ or ‘me’, ‘who’ or ‘whom’, ‘its’ or ‘it’s’. The Pronoun Family is a big one as you will learn later.

A is for ADJECTIVES. They describe (modify or limit) nouns. Examples: beautiful, evil, large, freckled, awful. Adjectives, well used, can spice up or tone down communication.

P is for PREPOSITIONS. They start or introduce phrases. Examples: to, on, of, for, from. Learning how to recognize prepositions, and thus phrases, will help us to choose the correct pronoun which often follows (‘I’ vs. ‘me’).

A is for  ADVERBS. They describe (modify or limit) verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Most adverbs end in ‘ly’ and indicate how, when, where, or why something happens or happened. Like adjectives, they can breathe life (or death) into any sentence.

V is for VERBS. They indicate an action or a state of being and are the heart of any sentence. Examples: jump, ran, is, were, think, seem. Being able to recognize the difference between action or state of being verbs will make help us to determine the correct follower.

I is for INTERJECTIONS: They express emotions or sentiment. Examples: Wow! Whew! Ouch! Kaboom! (Go get ’em Batman!)

N is for NOUNS. They name people, places and things. Nouns and verbs love to hang out together. Take any noun ( or pronoun), add a verb and bingo, a complete thought (sentence) is born. Examples: rain, men, women, Bob, Paris, city, cat. Nouns (or pronouns) and verbs are the mechanical basis of English (subject/predicate).

C is for  CONJUNCTIONS.  Conjunctions link or join words, phrases or clauses. Examples: and, but, although, however, because. As you will learn later, conjunctions can compound matters or create complexity in sentences.

There you have it: THE 8 PARTS OF SPEECH! To review: Pronouns, Adjectives, Prepositions, Adverbs, Verbs, Interjections, Nouns, Verbs…THE 8 PARTS OF SPEECH OR FAMILIES OF WORDS…

***BEFORE WE GO TOO FAR, LET’S GET ONE THING STRAIGHT. 

Language can be spoken or written on different levels. It really depends on a given situation. Most of us communicate using colloquial or informal language in which the rules of formal language are somewhat relaxed, or, in the case of slang, egregiously (how’s that for an adverb?) ignored. No one really cares if it’s ‘who’ or ‘whom’, ‘he’ or ‘him’ and so on; that is, until one finds him or herself in a situation (i.e. writing a resume) where proper spelling or grammar is expected and, in some cases, demanded. Therefore, it is very important to be able to communicate on every level…don’t you agree?

Let’s take a peek at the three levels using the ever-popular ‘Knock, Knock’ joke format:

First, on the slang level…

Knock, Knock…

Who dat?

Me! You mother-fu..er! Open dis god-d..n door!

(Hmmm, a bit sloppy, wouldn’t you say?)

Now, we switch to the colloquial level…

Knock, Knock…

Who’s there?

It’s me bonehead! Open the friggin’ door!

(Ahhh, the sweet sound of street talk.)

Finally, we reach the top or formal level…

Knock, Knock…

May I ask who is there?

It is I, your beloved friend. Would you kindly unlock the door?

(Yes, it is does sound a tad alien but ‘I’, not ‘me’ is the proper choice)

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you again soon at which time we’ll get into the mechanics of language. This is when you’ll truly begin to understand how the English language works.  See you again soon…and do keep in touch!

Bloggingfrog & Lily

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? (Go ahead, take the test)

Pssst! How’s YOUR grammar? (Not so good?)… didn’t think so! Oh, we (blogging frog and friend Lily) know… grammar and spelling are going the way of the dinosaurs and thanks to the likes (or dislikes) of Facebook and Twitter, a new means of communicating is emerging. It goes something like this:

XME…AYT?…GR8!…PMFI…JW, (TIC)…HOW’S UR GRAMMAR?…DKDC?…YGTBKM!(RME)…BION, BTDT!…CMIIW, IS GRAMMAR AND SPELLING A CWOT? DTS! E123 (EWG)…FICCL! HOAS…(and here’s the translation: Excuse me, are you there? Great! Pardon me for interrupting…just wondering (tongue-in-cheek)…HOW’S YOUR GRAMMAR? Dont’t know? Don’t care? You’ve got to be kidding me! (rolling my eyes)…Believe it or not, been there, done that!…Correct me if I’m wrong, IS GRAMMAR AND SPELLING A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME? Didn’t think so! Easy as 1, 2, 3 (evil wicked grin)…Frankly, I couldn’t care less! Hold on a sec…

No, we DO care! Call us TRex if you must, but we’re of the Old Guard, those raised and educated with the King’s English. For years, however, we have seen an abysmal deterioraton of the English language. We think you’ll agree that one cannot play a game without rules and, in the same way, one cannot communicate effectively without the same.

SO WHAT ARE WE PLANNING TO DO ABOUT IT? GQ! (good question…we made that up ourselves). Let’s start with a basic check-up. Take the quiz below and see how you do. If you ace it (45 out of 45), forget everything we’ve said and return to your favourite website which encourages creative letter formations and hackneyed expressions. If, however, you don’t do too well, then we invite you to follow our upcoming blogs which will get you back in the game; that is, teach you the true basics of the English language.

Everyone from grade 5 and up is invited.

We promise to teach you in a simple, direct way and guarantee that your writing, spelling and speaking will improve. Good luck and enjoy! Here we go…

Choose the correct word(s) in brackets.  Answers and brief explanations will follow:

1. There appears to be a problem between you and (I or me).

2. It takes (alot, a lot or allot) of (practice or practise) to master the English language.

3. I’ve (saw or seen) the error of (there, their, they’re, thier) ways.

4. One of every twenty users (think or thinks) that Facebook babble is the (way or weigh) of the future.

5  (To, too or two) many people think (its, it’s) a joke.

6. Grammar has (its or it’s) rules and each of us (has or have) a choice (whether or weather) to go along (with or whith) them of not.

7. The tired man (laid, lied,or lay) on the sofa thinking about (mispelled or misspelled) words.

8. For (who or whom) is this test designed?

9.  Michael Phelps has (swam or swum) in many Olympic races.

10. He must (of or have) been born under the sign Pisces (actually he was born June 30…Cancer.)

11. I (don’t or doesn’t) have (no or any) homework.

12. She is older (then or than) (he or him) and is the (youngest or younger) of the (too, two or to).

13. One of the ladies (has or have) (saw or seen) the movie.

14, The murderer was (hung or hanged) for the crime.

15. Please (accept or except) my (complements or compliments).

16. The book is (entitled or titled) “Grammar is Good!”

17. Neither he (or or nor) she (like or likes) to read.

18. Fifteen dollars (was or were) left as a tip for the waitress.

19. The movie’s special (affects or effects) were amazing.

20. Persistence (affects or effects) any outcome.

21. “(Bring or Take) these cookies to your sick grandma, Little Red!” said mother.

22. “She has (lay, laid or lain) in bed for days,” she added.

23. It was (he or him) (whose or who’s) responsible.

24. (Who or Whom) would you choose to (accept or except) the award?

25. (Who’s or Whose) car is that?

26. (He or Him) and (her or she) should follow you and (I or me).

Now it’s time to face the truth. Scroll down for the correct answers:

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1. me (object of the preposition…you’ll soon learn all about it)

2 a lot (meaning much), practice (the noun form since it too is the object of the prepostion)

3. seen (past perfect of saw), their (possessive pronoun)

4. thinks (agrees with singular subject ‘one’), way (as in direction)

5. Too (more than enough…an adverb), it’s (contracted form of ‘it is’)

6. its (possessive pronoun), has (must agree with singular ‘each’), whether (conjunction)

7. lay (past tense of lie), misspelled (prefix ‘mis’ + spelled)

8. whom (object of preposition ‘for’)

9. swum (past perfect of swim…I swim. Yesterday, I swam. I have swum)

10. have (auxiliary verb…’of’ is a preposition)

11. don’t (do not), any (if a person claims he or she doesn’t have no homework, then it creates a double negative and reverses the intended meaning)

12. than (conjunction), he (subject form…you wouldn’t say ‘him is’ would you?), younger (since there is only two siblings), two (the number)

13. has (must agree with ‘one’, not ladies), seen (past perfect of saw)

14. hanged (people are ‘hanged’; pictures are ‘hung’)

15. accept (verb), compliments (praise)

16. titled (‘entitled’ means to furnish with a right…many (except His Majesty) believe the two are interchangeable.

17. nor (always goes with ‘neither’), likes (‘neither, nor’ implies a singular subject)

18. was (singular form is used when referring to a sum of money)

19. effects (‘effects’ is a noun)

20. affects (used as a verb)

21. take (this is always a tricky one…more later)

22. lain (past perfect of ‘lie’)

23. he (subject completion), who’s (contracted form of ‘who is’)

24. Whom (direct object of verb phrase ‘would choose’), accept (receive)

25. Whose (possessive adjective)

26. He (subject pronoun), she (ditto), me (direct object of verb ‘follow’)

POKE A PREZ…

WHY DO THE ISRAELIS AND AMERICANS WANT TO SEE PRESIDENT BASHIR AL-ASSAD REMOVED FROM POWER? (THEY CLAIM HE’S A SYRIA KILLER!)

ASK ANY CITIZEN OF CAIRO WHY HE OR SHE TOOK PART IN LAST YEAR’S REVOLT AGAINST  PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK (MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PIECES) AND YOU’RE LIKELY GET THE SAME ANSWER: “BECAUSE EGYPT ME!”

“HEY PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD…WHAT DID YOU DO WHEN YOU HEARD THOSE BUNKER-BUSTING BOMBS BLOWING YOUR UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR PLANTS TO KINGDOM COME?”

“I DID WHAT ANY BRAVE COWARD WOULD DO? IRAN!

***Note to readers: Let’s hear your Presidential joke…It’ll help get your mind off any nasty thoughts of impending Armageddon…