Is it "Free Rein" or "Free Reign" or even "Free Rain?"

Free Rain?
Free Rain?

It's not Free Rain

 

Well, I can tell you right off, it's not "free rain" so if you came looking for that, you're probably after the music group Free Rain. Here's a link to their website, go hire them for your party. Rock on!

Now, if for some reason you came here actually wondering whether the rain is free or not, well, um, then I can tell you: No, it's not. In fact, your account is past due for the rain you already received. Please include your credit card number in a comment at the end of this article and I will make sure your payment is processed and your account brought current right away. I promise. Act now and you will still be eligible for further rain this year.

 

For the rest of you, I'll answer the question fast so if you're looking this up for a writing project, you can get what you need and get back to work. Question:

Is it free "rein" or "reign?"

Answer:

It's "free REIN." No "g."

 

There you go; good luck on your project. For the rest of you, here comes an explanation why, some insights as to how and why this term got so confused and maybe just enough background to help you keep it straight from here on out.

 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term means: Freedom of action or expression. Chiefly in to give (a) free rein (to). ("Free reign.n.")

 

I'm willing to bet you already knew that part. The thing you need to remember, though, is what kind of rein (reign, rain) we're talking about. That's where this term starts to get muddled up in our memories.

Reign

  • reign 1. To hold or exercise the sovereign power or authority in a state; to rule or govern as king or queen; sometimes in restricted sense, to hold the royal office without being actual ruler, to have a limited or nominal sovereignty. (reign def 1 XIII:532)

That's from the good old Oxford English Dictionary again. Notice the use of the word "sovereign" twice in there, notice what's hanging on to the tail end of that "sove." Reign is about running countries and stuff, even "sometimes in restricted sense" which is true, and which is likely a big part of why this phrase gets mixed up so frequently.

This is what you have to look like to have "free reign."  If you don't look like this, forget it.
This is what you have to look like to have "free reign." If you don't look like this, forget it.

 

The most common misuse of this concept of "freedom of action" is writing the phrase as "free reign," as in a metaphor alluding to allowing the King or Queen or someone else to have an open use of power or rule. The word "reign" is an obviously workable term for this idea as it quite clearly fits for the overall purpose. Not only does it work, it doesn't really change the meaning of the actual phrase much at all, particularly in that these two terms are homonyms or homophones (much the same as bad "rap" and "wrap" in another hub covering a similar set of sound alikes) and as such they really mess you up when you hear someone say this phrase out loud. That stupid "g" doesn't make any noise, so confusion is inevitable.

Between the fact that the King and Queen thing kind of works for the point anyway and that darn silent "g" making a homophonic troublemaker out of "reign" it's not hard to see why people write this wrong.

Sister Mary Merciless
Sister Mary Merciless

 

However, "free reign" is not correct usage and if you write it in the wrong place and time, you might get your hand smacked by Sister Mary Merciless or, at the very least, get your document cast off by some editor who thinks because he or she has nothing better to do all day than learn this kind of trivial English stuff, he or she has the right to blow you and your submission off.

 

As unfair as that might be, it can happen, so there's no reason not to write this term correctly from here on out so long as you can keep it straight in your memory.

A real point of confusion about this term is that you can find it all over the Internet now, and there are even some places advocating that it's "acceptable."

 

 

The fact of the matter is, it probably will become "acceptable" eventually because language evolves over time, which includes incorporating misuse and slang. BUT, it is NOT correct usage at this point in time, particularly if whatever you are writing is going to somewhere or to someone to whom you don't wish to appear ill-informed. The draft in progress at OED online has acknowledged the existence of this spelling inasmuch as that it immediately forces you to "free rein" and it writes "free reign" in big angry red letters.

 

 

 

The Correct Term is “Rein”

The "rein" that is embedded in the purpose of this phrase has to do with riding a horse. A rein, again according to the OED is defined as follows:

  • rein , n1: 1.a. A long narrow strap or thong of leather, attached to the bridle or bit on each side of the head, by which a horse or other animal is controlled and guided by the rider or driver; any similar device used for the same purpose. ("rein" def 1.a. XIII: 535)

Having grown up on a ranch, this is something I can relate to. The phrase really means letting the reins loose so your horse can, as we say on the farm, "Have his head." It just means letting it go, letting it run freely without someone holding it back, guiding it or pulling on its mouth trying to control it. The origin of "free rein" is an equestrian one.

Notice how taut the reins are.  This horse does not have "free rein."
Notice how taut the reins are. This horse does not have "free rein."

 

The transition from being an idea pertaining to horses to an idea regarding people was gradual, but it's pretty old.

 

The whole rein concept, without the word "free" attached, is associated with "allowing full course or scope" as early as 1568, when it was used to derogatorily describe the actions of the lower class, essentially animals in the view of some, thusly, "A larger reyne of mischeife geuen to the vulgar people." [My translation: A larger rein of mischief given to the vulgar people.] This from the OED, citing Grafton, Chron. II. 927 ("rein" def 2.b. XIII: 535).

 

Usage continued from there forward and the term "free" appears near the word "rein" (if not in conjunction with it yet) in 1621 when Bishop Joseph Hall wrote in Heaven Upon Earth, "Give a free horse the full reins, and he will soon tire." ("rein" def 1.b. XIII: 535). Now while I can't totally say that this particular quote directly led to the phrase we use today, I have to tell you it's an amazing coincidence, particularly since the OED uses the term "free motion" in close proximity with the definition of rein being given in the sub-definition under which that passage appears. The OED does not make the connection formally, but proximity has to at least make the suggestion plausible.

Edward IV
Edward IV

 

The first real use of "free reign" together appears to be found in 1640, in the History of Edward IV by W. Habington, the line being, "He..gave free reines to his injurious ambition." Our phrase popped up again a few years later in 1644, in F. Quarles', Virgin Window, with the line, "At such a time when he was pleas'd to lend free reines to mirth" (Free Rein, n.).

 

The rest is pretty much history. Well, that was history too, but you know what I mean. The transition of the term rein from a riding term to a human action term became eventually associated with the word "free" and the progression through time since then has not changed it much at all (except that people keep sticking "reign" in there now by mistake)

 

So now you know. The term you want is "free rein" not "free reign" or "free rain" and it originally had its origins in letting your horse run free, as in not reining it in or holding it back.

 

I hope this helps you remember how to keep this useful phrase useful in your written work because, frankly, I know how it goes when we aren't sure how to use something or spell something right. We either do it wrong or we leave it out altogether, which I think is worse. Language is fun, but sometimes it takes a little extra work to give us the certainty we need to say what we really mean and to use the familiar phrases we really want to use to make our message clear. We should never let our ignorance have free rein over our creativity, so to speak, especially now when we can just look stuff up on the Internet (and hope that whatever we have found is actually correct).

Free Reign video :)

Free Rain video... well, sort of.

Works Cited

"Reign." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd Edition. 1989.

"Rein." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd Edition. 1989.

"Free Rein, n." The Oxford English Dictionary Online. Draft entry, Sep. 2008. California State University of Sacramento. Sacramento, CA. 21 Oct. 2008. <http://dictionary.oed.com.proxy.lib.csus.edu/cgi/entry/50295516?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=free+rein&first=1&max_to_show=10>.

The Galactic Mage - science fiction meets fantasy in a new and exciting way. Check out the book's video trailer below, see it on my website, or just go straight to Amazon.com.
The Galactic Mage - science fiction meets fantasy in a new and exciting way. Check out the book's video trailer below, see it on my website, or just go straight to Amazon.com. | Source

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Comments 93 comments

spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

*whispers to Christoph*

I think he picked us off when we used "reign" last night while talking about the budgie...have you ever heard of something so rediculous?

:)

brat...


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

lol  :P

All I said was, "Hey, that gives me an idea." Never said what.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

I'm going to hang up a hub sign somewhere next to your avatar that says, "Do not feed the writer (any ideas)!"


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Hey, they're hard enough to come by. I'll take em where I find em. At least these types of hubs get some Google traffic. Makes me feel like my fortune is on the horizon or something. Another couple of thousand grammar faux pas and my retirement is looking good.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Ha! Btw...you asked what server the other day and I told you mine...what's yours? And what have you got?


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

keep reading mine then because I am a treasure trove of bad grammer.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Uldum. 70 ud mage, be rogue, ud priest... smattering of other stuff. Don't really play anymore, but was into it a year or so ago.

Gwendy, of course I'll keep reading yours. I'll even read them if you forget to pepper in some source material for me, but do feel free to drop the occasional homophonic mix up every so often just to help me out.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

:) You like the way the UD play air guitar....right?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

No, they were the only one's on UD that had decent cleavage when I started back when the game first game out (all my toons are chicks, and they are all named with boob euphemisms, "Taters," "Seacup," and "Aecup.")  The last one is my rogue, pretty hawt for a cartoon.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Ok, I haven't read this one yet, so I guess I am not getting part of the conversation. I am sorry I haven't read it yet but like I said I am on sleeping pills and a little grogy. ( I proably spelled that wrong)


pgrundy 7 years ago

Well, I guessed right. But now, after reading your hub, I can say I know the answer, I'm not guessing--I can even quote the OED.

I love this etymology stuff. You could do a regular blog on just this stuff. Have you tried the make-you-own-website business with ad revenue and so forth? I bought a domain name and am putting off trying to install WordPress there because I know it will take me all day and make me throw up and cry. So, you know...it's not coming together real fast. You could make a killer blog out of these.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Oh, oh, oh! *raises hand* I know some grammar faux pas! :X But I'm not gonna share cause I need money too. ;) Ah heck, who am I kidding, you know them all anyway.

Nice hub Shades. I admit that I would have needed to look rein/reign up in the dictionary, so thanks for saving me the time. :) Oh, and very funny hub about plants! I've been having some ISP problems and never got to comment on that one.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I already knew the "free rein" thing, although a "free reign" sorta works, too. Hm. But, I've been misspelling "ridiculous" for as long as I can remember...

Shit!


Jerry G2 profile image

Jerry G2 7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

Great hub...I'd pay you for more rain, but I'm more of a snow guy, lol. Keep up the great work.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Gwendy, it's ok. It usually takes me three or four days to get to hubs from my favorites too, sometimes more if it looks like a long one (Like Christoph's Banksy one... but well worth it when I did get to it). So, no worries. It's just nice to know there's a few people out there who will get to em eventually, makes so it doesn't feel like I'm just writing to amuse my cats (who lay on my arms while I type sometimes and try to correct my grammar... speaking of which, Slayer just jumped up lol. Must have heard me typing. He's the white one from the catbox picture :)

Pgrundy, I would love to do something like that, but I have no idea how and I guess I'm not motivated enough to learn all the crap I'd have to know to do it. I bought a domain name too, lol, but that's as far as I ever got. Maybe a few years from now they'll just invent a module or template that does all the marketing and other stuff for you. I like to create. Marketing my writing makes me feel like my work isn't worthy or valuable on it's own, like it has to be pimped like some ugly, meth-faced whore because it's not pretty enough to be loved on its own. I know that's stupid and the thought process of impending poverty, but meh. In the time it takes me to learn all that stuff I could have written something else.

Pam, you'd be surprised how many grammar boo-boos I catch myself in. The worst part about that stuff is that "you don't know what you don't know" so, anything we do wrong but think is right, we just keep doing till someone points it out. The only thing we can hope for is to stumble upon a correct version privately in some credible source, or that whoever points it out to us is gentle. heh. (And thanks, I'm glad you like that plant one... I was pretty happy with that one, one of those hubs that I believe is not a meth-faced whore kind of things lol).

YEah, CW, it does work with "reign" which is why I bet in another 30 or 50 years, they'll probably have it in the OED. I mean, it made it into the draft version in red, so.. hell, who knows, when it comes out in print, they may have decided to use it (although that looks doubtful). Language evolves fo sho.

Jerry G2, think about what you're doing, before you let your account get too far in arears. You don't want bad credit or other weather types, including snow, may decide you aren't worth the risk.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Shades you will be happy to know that I do know what rein is as I am a horse owner and use this word fairly often. (clapping her hands and feeling proud of herself). This was really clever. I guess things like that don't bother me, the misuse of words, when someone else does it, but when I do it I feel really stupid. I try to look them up first before writing them unless it's in a comment and then I don't take the time.

I really enjoyed reading this, fo sho!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Yeah, I'm with you. I hate finding out that I've been saying or writing something wrong. I used to think "epitome" was pronounced like it's spelled up until I was like 24. I thought the word prounounced eppi-tome-ee was different than the one pronouned (in my head) epi-toe-mm. lol. Learning is a process, heh.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

My ears were burning. Oh...hi everybody. A nice, informative piece. I must confess, even though I knew the etymological origin from the equestrian usage, I still would have voted for "reign". Glad to be straightened out (and you did such a good job of it, I'll never get it wrong again.

Speaking of having always pronounced a word wrong, until a few years ago, I had always thought that "awry" was pronounce "aw'-ree" instead of "a-wry". I had only ever read it and never heard it spoken before. To this day, I think my way sounds more like what it means. Such as, "the whole place has gone aw-ree!" Not "the whole place has gone a-wry." A-wry what? A-rwry remark? A-wry piece of toast? A-wry whisky? I think they should change it!

Anyway, another great english usage hub. Here's some more ideas for you:

Quotation Marks and Commas: Where the F***'s the Comma Go?

When to Use Who or Whom: To Whom it may concern.

I or Me: How to Refer to Yourself (you egotistical bastard)

Really, I think you would do well with these, and God knows, I need to read them. Great job as usual! I love these usage hubs too.

Pam Roberson: Sorry about you LISP problem. I've had a lot of voice and speech training...maybe I can help.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Christoph, I get confused over the whole who and whom thing too. I think I might use to many commas and how about two, to and too.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

I used to think Don Quixote was a story about a little ass named Hody. And Chris, you aren't the only one that pronounced "awry" that way :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

ROFLMA at Donkey Hoty  lmaoa godamn that's funny I'm choking.  Jesus.  Thats a cartoon character right there.   Wow.  I broke a sweat again.  That's twice in a few days.  (Christoph's stupid Barkus thing almost killed me I laughed so hard.) Toss in Gwendy's hub from this morning and I'm just damned jolly today.  You guys rule.

I suppose I could do some hubs on those.  They're all pretty well established elsewhere though.  I do these other ones because they're sort of obscure.  I guess I could make them funny though with examples that are less academic than people are used to.  Perhaps that way readers might actually read.  Hmm... maybe I  will do them. Especially who/whom, that is a hard one for most people, even after they read up on it.  Oh, and Christoph, I can cure your comma/quotes thing easy... the confusion is because the comma/period goes inside in America and outside in the UK (and most of the rest of the world).  So it's:  He was so funny, just a real "wit".  (Just remember it this way, you live IN America, so your punctuation is inside too.)


Marian Swift profile image

Marian Swift 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

I love these, because so far you've always picked one I knew already.  (Hey, when it comes to feeling superior, I'll grab what I can get.)

I used to think "subtle" is pronounced "sub-tle."


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

I looked up the comma quote thing a long time ago, and what I got was it goes inside when the quoted part is an entire sentence or thought that can stand on it's own, and outside if it's just a word or two, which is what I try to do. But I have noticed that it always seems to be inside in stuff I read, so I was curious and confused.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

I always put it inside...only because I hate it when things just dangle out there in the breeze.  Keep it tidy!  That's my motto!

Unless it involves hot wax...then tidiness no longer becomes an issue.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Yeah, it's just always inside in America.

And, Marian, I agree with you on that one. English is on crack as a language.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

I went through a phase for a long time of calling Aloe Vera plants 'Allowee Vera', until someone fell about laughing and explained it should be pronounced 'Alo Vera'.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hello, Vera! Hello everyone!

Thanks for solving this, Shadesbreath. I will admit to thinking the correct term was REIGN. Never been much of a horse person, but I did grow up believing I'm a princess. So the royal we just naturally assumed....

If you're open to other hub suggestions, I'd love to see your take on some very basic ones: Your vs. You're; Its vs. It's; Their vs. There vs. They're. Seriously-- I know we all think way faster than we type, but next time you're reading through a comment thread, count the number of entries from folks who who don't know their they'res from their theres... or maybe they just don't care. Or cair. Or cay're.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Marian, until about ten years ago I sang a certain line of a certain Christmas Carol, "In the frost-free air!"


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

LOL! Thanks CW...you reminded me of my sister's stunning childhood rendition of Jingle Bells:

Jingle bells, jingle bells...jingle all the way!

Oh what fun it is to ride...when one horse opens its legs!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

OMG Spryte, that is so funny, yet the image it produces in my imagination is so horrific !!!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Wait, Spryte, you mean that's not how it goes?

And Mighty Mom, you know what, I think you are the deciding vote. I figured most of these were over-done online already, but maybe they aren't on Hubpages so, I'll dash them off. Maybe combine them into one or something. I'll mess with it.

Misty, lol@ Alowee Vera. See, that's seriosly how it looks like it should be said. I'm telling you, this language needs an enema.

And I can't even respond to CW because if I do, then you guys will find out how a-musical I am that I don't even know what song that is to start with. /sigh. God forgot to give me rhythm and musicality.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

*whispers to Shadesbreath*

Jingle Bell Rock...


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

I am sorry but I have to throw a song in here, my daughter completely ruined it for me. The song is pour some sugar on me by Def Leppard and my daughter sang it as pour some shook up ramen. I cannot hear this song without singing at least one line like that now.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Oh, thanks Spryte. Still don't know the words by heart, so, I can't actually say I am equipped to mock CW yet. I'll just mock him on principle and we can keep the fact I don'nt know any of the words between us.

LOL Gwendy. I used to think Manfred Mann's "Blinded By the Light" where the line goes "revved up like a deuce / another runner in the night"... I thought it was "ripped up another douche in the rumor of the night." LOL. I always sang that and was like, "WTF kind of a line is that?" even as I sang it again next time around.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

That damn song, It sounds like douche. I sang it like that too. LOL.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

This appeared in my inbox today.

You think English is easy?

Read to the end . . . a new twist

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.


Marian Swift profile image

Marian Swift 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

Constant Walker wrote:

"Marian, until about ten years ago I sang a certain line of a certain Christmas Carol, "In the frost-free air!""

Uhhhh, you mean that's wrong??? 

(Psssst ... the song's "Frost-Free the Snowman.")

Spryte ...  Your sister raised "Jingle Bells" to a whole new level.  Now I can see the noble steed lifting its leg every twenty paces or so, to mark the snowy trail for the return trip.  And running off to chase every wagon, bicycle or cow that comes its way.

("... I see a bab-boon writhing ...")


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Crap, I got that wrong, It was actually a song called mirror mirror or take a look into my eyes, and my daughter sang take a bite of my chicken pot pie. I new it had something to do with food.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Marian!!! OMG...I had the same problem with that song too...only it was...

"There's a Baboon on the right."

:)

And I love the jibe "Frost Free the Snowman"

Heheheh!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

"Up on the housetop, reindeer paws" Waitaminit-- reindeer have hooves, not paws.

Free rein-deer.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Yeah but hooves doesn't rhyme with Claus. Geesh, Rochelle! :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Hi Rochelle, welcome to the silliness.


Marian Swift profile image

Marian Swift 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

Umm, what silliness?

All reindeer gotta be free!

(... "ripped up like a douche, ya know ya roll 'em in the night" ...)


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

I love the study of words and this is so interesting, shadesbreath, trust you to take it to the funny level...

I know it's nerdy, but when I was a young girl I would read pages from the dictionary; it paid off in so many ways; however I've gotten out of the habit now and have noticed the slip in my vocabulary. One way I've remembered the use of these two words was by picture association; as I did all words that way. "Rein" brought to mine controlling a horse's direction, and "reign" brought to mind rule over or by someone, such as a king or queen.

When teaching school, I tried to create word pictures in kid's minds, we drew pictures of words constantly and it was extremely funny to see what kids thought of things. I remember a first grader - during a spelling test - getting upset because she couldn't remember how to spell "I" as in "I saw the cat."

Course I was one of the bad teachers who just gave her the "letter" and talked about it later with her...but all of us in class laughed WITH her (not at her.) We do tend to overlook the easy or obvious.

Thanks for teaching me shadesbreath, and making me giggle at the same time, a unique gift. =)) your fan always, Marisue


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Thanks Marisue. Everything is more fun with... uh.. fun. Even learning. And kids are hilarious like that. Not as in laughing at them, just in the mistakes they make. They're so honest and sweet when they do stuff that if you or I did it, we'd get picked on. And giving that little girl the letter "i" just makes you one of the nice ones.

When I was a kid, I wrote a story for the local library story contest. The newspaper did a little piece on the contest and a few of the winners got their stories in the paper. I was a lucky one too, but they included the stories as written, including spelling. And I had spelled "laugh" as "laff." Well, the article used "laff" for the final punchline too.. summing up the contest saying roughly, "children are fun, these stories were fun, and we could all use a laff." My misspelling was world famous! :)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Not a spelling mistake, but one funny thing I did as a young child was to write a letter to God. I explained to my Mum that I wanted to post it, but she pointed out that 'God was in my heart'. Thinking about it for a moment, I piped up with, 'Okay then, I will swallow it'.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

LOL Misty!!! I love that one. It reminds me of how a Sunday school teacher told our class that we could pray to God anyway we wanted to...so I tested the theory by standing on my head that night to say my prayers. So of course, Mom and Dad come in to say goodnight and find me standing on my head... My Dad was like "WTF?" and my mother was all "why are you standing on your head honey?" So I told them...and then they told the priest...who then told the entire congregation the following Sunday...and I wanted to crawl under the pew.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

I used to type articles for our local newspaper and every year at Christmas we had letters to santa clause from our first, second and third grades classes. Typing those letters was really difficult and took me forever because they needed to be just as the child wrote them, mistakes and all. It paid off though, the letters were always very cute and the kids loved seeing their names in the paper.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Spryte: That story is adorable.

Gwendy and all: I have read a lot of those letters in articles, on the internet, etc., and they're great!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

marisue: I signed up for 4 different Word of the Day things with various online dictionaries, so I get some everyday. (Of course, some you would never use in a million years, some you already know (but it's still good to look and see other ways the word can be used), and some are totally cool. I save the one's I want to keep, and review every few days to help my recall of them. I have been very lax in keeping up lately, but they are there waiting for me in my email when I get around to them.


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

Great stuff peeples!

Here's my pathetic contribution:

Good King Wenceslas visits the Pizza Hut:

"The usual please.

[Sings]

Deep Pan, Crisp, and Even"


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia

You guys are just two to too much!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Aww, Spryte. You used to be such a sweet little girl. What happened? /ducks

Christoph, I used to have a calendar that had a word of the day, but that is a bit overwhelming. I just try to look up words I don't know when I'm reading, ones I've seen before and thought, "I should look that up," and didn't. I write them down, check them in the dictionary (so I know I've been there lol), and make a point to say them three times before the week is out. Usually they stick after that. Sounds lame, but it works.

Gwendy, I bet it is hard to actually type all the misspellings. It's probably a lot like trying to type dialogue in dialects/accents (like my Christoph puppet). You're fingers get used to blazing across the page with words that are nerve and muscle memory already, neurons fire automatically in sequence for a given word.

Eric, good to see you, dude. I have no idea what song that is, but then, I didn't know anyone else's either, so don't feel bad.

Agvulpes: It's true. They are.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Someone is using free rein with your name and avatar (or is it your alter-ego?) Look for ShadesbreaDth.

I think this sould be a copywrite (sic) infringement.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

ruh-roh... stinkin' Spryte is on the loose!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Ah-- I shoouda known from the profile.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

She's paying me back for writing that hub under the name of "Spyte" which I only did as pay back for her writing the hub about me and Thalia.

This is her unprovoked assault on my perfect innocence:

http://hubpages.com/literature/Interview-with-a-Mu...

Which I responded to artistically with this:

http://hubpages.com/misc/Yet-Another-Inexplicable-...

And, well, apparently she's going to be a deviant and use bad grammar in my name now, LOL.  It's diabolical I tell you.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

AHA-- I thought that didn't quite fit her-- and even though I noticed the avatar change-- you fooled me (somewhat).  I posted a fa mail to ShadesbreaDth-- asking her to remove the mustache and hand over one of the beers-- not approved as yet.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Yeah, with me around, you gotta check avatars and spelling close. I put Christoph's finger in his nose. LOL.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Saw that. Rielly.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Shades great Hub. reminds of the story of the Russian weather man on TV named Rudolph. Threw away the script one day and said "It is going to rain today". Much argument with the producer ensued after the broadcast. She said the script from the weather bureau did not mention rain. More So in Minnesota at christmas time. he replied " Trust me, Rudolph the red knows rain dear!"


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

ROFL, that's hilarious.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Eric's song is "Good King Wenceslas"...you must be a riot at Christmas time. That's two carols you have missed now. Didn't they celebrate Christmas on your planet? /duck

:)

Thanks for being Shadesbreadth's fan Rochelle! Keep an eye on him...I expect good things to come.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

I have this peculiar inability to focus on a song long enough to learn the words. If the writing is good, the first clever line causes my mind to run off with it, and if the music is good as pure sound, I rarely even try to listen to the words, just savoring the sound for the sake of it. Weird, probably, but, I can't even listen to a whole song when I try to, even concentrating on it hard.


Rein it in# 7 years ago

It's not 'you're account is past due for the rain you already received.' I mean, come on, if you're gonna give spelling advice at least learn when to use your and when to use you're!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Oh goody, a spelling Nazi monitoring a comment/forum/chat on the Internet: the first sign of someone who can't write , fancies themselves smarter than they are, and hasn't seen a woman naked in real life yet. With a lot of practice, you might be able to improve on the first; you likely have no chance of fixing the second (genetics can be cruel, so sorry); and, well, with a few bucks and a trip down town you can probably take care of number three. Good luck with those.


Humble Pie 7 years ago

Thanks for a very witty and entertaining clarification of this issue.

I apologize, my account is past due for the rain that I already received, but I don't have a credit card. Will you take a check?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Yes, checks are accepted, but we do have a 50% processing fee. Just add that, and we're golden. :)


bernda 7 years ago

everything said is good and well written.

watch your their/there.

bottom of third last paragraph misuses it.

if you're going to appear well-versed and well-informed don't slip up that obviously.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Hey, thanks for the heads up on that, Bernda. That's the hard part of self-publishing. You have to write, edit and proofread your own stuff. It never ceases to amaze me the little things that get by me, even after I've read through a zillion times. (Probably BECAUSE I've read through a zillion times). Thanks again.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Thanks for clearing this one up, Shadesbreath. I have been known to get confused and could make the argument for reign over rein. The way I've learned to remember the correct word is to relate it to horses and reins and telling myself I don't want to look like a horse's behind by using the incorrect reign:).

Here's one I always struggle with. Do you know the answer? Is it "speak your piece" or "speak your peace"???


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

It's "piece." I thought about writing a hub on that, and combining it with "peace of mind" vs. "piece of my mind" and "hold your peace" etc. Still might.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

The grammar standards here on HP definitely lapsed while you were gone, Shadesbreath. Good to have you back! So it's hold your peace but speak your piece. Gotta love English! Thanks for answering. I'll read that hub 4 sure if you write it. MM


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Another one I've heard, is people say they're bleeding like a stuffed pig, when it is actually a stuck pig.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Actually, not grammar but just damn hilarious on the same sort of ... repeating what you think it is ... type speaking is the lyric in that new Pitbull song that talks about making a movie like Albert Hitchcock. I lol'ed.


Singular Investor profile image

Singular Investor 7 years ago from Oxford

How about a hub on 'would of' 'could of' etc... we get that all the time here in the UK - don't they know it should be 'would ov' and 'could ov' - it drives me nuts ! And the best one I saw was Best Wish's - ugh.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

lol I've been listening to music lately and cringing about the stuff they do like that, Singular. I don't mind rules being broken on purpose, but when they clearly just don't know wtf they are saying it makes me shudder.


Somethinggood4 7 years ago

Not to be nitpicky, but if you're going to write a long diatribe about the misuse of the English language, you should make sure that you use of "You're" in the second paragraph is correct (it isn't), and that your use of "directly 'lead'" doesn't make you look foolish (it does).


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the proofread, Somethinggood4. I am famous for missing those little typos and homonym errors (your and you’re, there and their, and my worst “from” and “form”). Sigh. I’m the worst proofreader of my own work and hubpages refuses to supply one for free. Maybe someday.

As for looking foolish, I think you worry too much for me there. Only very angry folks or those with lots of pent up insecurities would make such an assessment as "foolish" based on that sort of thing. First they would have to totally miss the light-hearted nature of this piece to think it a diatribe (which would require a total lack of sense of humor on such a person’s part), and then they would have to have no real experience creating readable, pleasant prose and would therefore have to obsess about minutiae rather than appreciate content, likely due to a literary life trapped in the land of criticism without the ability to create real art or even just to entertain. There are so few of those, I'm not worried.

But I do appreciate your concern that someone might think that, and I appreciate the careful reading eye to spot those little glitches that are so common that entire professions of editing and proofreading came into being. Feel free to point out others as well. It is, as I said, very hard to edit your own work to absolute perfection. I’ve actually never heard of a good author that could. Having read a ton of original manuscripts, I like to think I am in very good company considering the sorts of errors writers a million times better than I am have made.


Jule Romans profile image

Jule Romans 6 years ago from United States

Thanks for this. It is a useful way of addressing one of my many language pet peeves.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I have to admit, it isn't one of my pet peeves because I didn't know for sure what was right until I researched for this. So I can't be too much of a stickler all things considered. LOL.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Ah!! A fellow grammarian and usage maven! LOL Glad to see there are others who actually know their way around this crazy language.

The problem with many of these goofy words is this: English is a 'bastard' language..(am I allowed to say that in here???) Well, it's true! We've borrowed from nearly every other language on the planet, including long-dead Latin.

My mother and I used to have great fun playing with just such word sets. One of our favorites: "Ambulatory" means able to walk under one's own power. "Ambulance," which sounds as if it surely must have the same root or origin, is a conveyance for transport of someone who is certainly NOT 'ambulatory.' Why? It has been too many years, but if memory serves, I believe we found the answer to be that while similar-sounding, the two words actually have their roots in two different languages!

LOVED the set of incongruities by MightyMom! I've seen that before, and it makes me chuckle every time!

(As for the Reindeer up on the housetop...I believe it's "...reindeer pause..." another of those danged tricky homophones that confuse people mercilessly.)

Thanks for sharing this!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

You aren't kidding about the bastardized language. We cobbled this language together from everywhere, and like the quote from the urban dictionary I used on the Buck Naked hub, "us yanks can't speak it" so we butcher it even more here in the states. Oh well, the upside is it gives me something to write about. If it made sense, I'd be limited to satire and marketing stuff, which means I'd be down to satire. lol


Baileybear 6 years ago

Never really thought about it until I saw your hub. I was pleased to find out that my thinking it was "free rein" was correct - and a reference to horses. Agree English is a bastardised language - even get the variations in spelling for US or elsewhere. English must be an appalling language to learn as second language. I learnt German - much more logical and there were consistent ways to pronounce vowels etc


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yes, I can see how German might be easier to learn. It's one of the ones English was cobbled together from. And I also share your assessment of how horrendous it must be to learn English as a second or third language. As someone who is a native speaker AND who studied the damn language formally, I don't even claim mastery of it either. Frankly, it's a big blob moving through the language landscape of time, accreting new forms and twisting old ones, dropping some and leaving them behind. I just try to keep some order in the little patch of it around me. LOL.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

This is a very funny and interesting play on two different words. Rain and Reign and can get confusing for some. I just read on the Net that Louisiana is getting FREE RAIN but not the kind of FREE rain they want or need. It's raining oil, killing crops and endangering farm animals. I do hope this REIGN of terror for those folks ends very soon. Peace


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

LOL, yes, Saddlerider, it seems they need to rein in the oil spill soon. :D


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the Great post!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

You're welcome. Thanks for having a look at it. :)


Nick 5 years ago

Deep-seated vs. Deep-seeded

To one's heart's content vs. Till one's heart's content


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Yeah, those are often seen floating around, aren't they? Good pull, Nick. Thanks.


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Great post..Thanks


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 4 years ago from California Author

You're welcome. Can I assume this is one of your personal grammar demons in the same way I continuously battle "effect" and "affect" no matter how many times I read it? lol. I know "effect" is a noun, and "affect" is a verb, but, "effect" gets to be a verb if it means bringing about change, which is the most common usage of the damn homonym so, bleh... who thinks that hard when they are speaking, since they sound the same. So when I write it, I always crash into the f-ing rule. LOL.

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