Monday, April 30, 2012

English as a Second Language

I am getting more and more frustrated in the way most people speak, or more accurately write, our native tongue here in America, and I am not convinced that it is because of text messages or email.  I don’t know what they are teaching in school these days, but whatever it is, it is NOT working.
So here is your English language lesson for the day:
The word ”lay” means to place or put an object on a surface.  It is also the past tense of the verb “to lie”.  The phrase “I am going to lay on the beach all day” is not the proper use of the word.  Chickens lay, humans lie. By the way, spell check gets this, which is really surprising considering the use it gets even by the press.
The word “YOUR” is the possessive form of the word YOU.  It may sound the same as the contraction of the word YOU and ARE as in YOU’RE, but it is not spelt the same and means two totally different things.  You write “You’re welcome”, not “Your welcome”.
There are three spellings for the word that sounds like the number 2.  The first spelling is for the number, written as “two”.  The second spelling is for the word meaning in direction toward, or “to”.  The third spelling is for the word the meaning in addition or in excess, or “too”.  We say “too much”, not “to much”.
Similarly there are three spellings and meanings for the word “there”.  “There” means to, into, or toward as in “run there”.  “Their” is the possessive for the word “they”.  “They’re” is the contraction for the two words “they” and “are”. You would write “they’re here”, not “their here” (even spell check gets that one, too).
Affect means to simulate or bring about a change.  Effect means something brought about by change – subtle difference, I know.  One writes “the effect of this appearance is due to the steps outlined in this program”, not “the affect of this change…”.  You could say “the program affects the appearance” if you wanted to use that word.
So there you have it.  Learn these five simple rules and you will sound like a college graduate and possibly impress your boss.  Or not.

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