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Grammar Rules!

Updated on September 12, 2014

Grammar, English Language, Spelling, Word Choice Articles

Being a grammar nerd is just about my only claim to fame. I've worked as a writer, editor, and proofreader for, well, just about forever. Check out these articles on grammar rules for a quick English language refresher.

It all started in second grade when I talked my teacher into letting me stay in at recess to write letters to my mom. Since then I've loved writing, and I used to correct people's grammar when they spoke. I've learned it's easier to do it on paper when the person actually cares enough to pay me. Otherwise, I'm just being annoying.

These articles might solve some of the great mysteries of the English language. Or not. But hopefully some of these tips will help someone be a better writer.

Proofreading Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Hyphenation -- Use the Right Word and Use Hyphens Correctly

And Make Yourself Look Smart

Hyphenating words correctly makes you look smarter in your writing. Here are a few examples of when to hyphenate:

- re-create: this means to create again

- recreate: this means to take part in recreation activities

A word about adverbs. Adverbs are words that describe (or modify) an action. They are often used before or after a verb to describe action, like a adjective is used before a noun to describe the noun. An example of an adverb and a verb follows:

Her freshly baked bread was delicious.

The word "freshly" is an adverb describing the bread. Note that freshly baked (an adverbial phrase) is not hyphenated. Similar compound adjective phrases are hyphenated. (In this sentence, The bad-tempered boy had to go to time out, "bad-tempered" describes the boy and is hyphenated.) You'll look really smart if you hyphenate (or not) these phrases correctly.

Grammar Mistakes ~ Mistakes Do Not Rule

Photo at my local post office. Can you find the grammar mistakes?
Photo at my local post office. Can you find the grammar mistakes?

Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs - What's the difference?

Homonyms, homophones, homographs. What are these?

Homonyms are words that are spelled the same and that sound the same but have different meanings like row a boat and get into a row. Row a boat sounds like no. When you get into a row, it sounds like how.

Homophones have the same pronunciation but have different meanings like to, too, and two.

Homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings like desert and desert. Arizona is mostly desert and he decided to desert his wife.


Do you correct people's grammar?

I was an annoying child, correcting people's grammar right and left. I've learned to cool it (somewhat).

Have you ever corrected someone's grammar?

See results

Online Publishing 101 - My Examiner Articles about Correct Grammar Usage

For a few years, I was the National Online Publishing Examiner and have written more than a few articles about basic grammar usage. Here are some of them:

Pennies lined up in a row. Hope there's no row over who's shinier.
Pennies lined up in a row. Hope there's no row over who's shinier.

Heteronyms

Words that are spelled the same but sound different

A reader, dlcass, left this comment on my Grammar Rules! lens:

My husband has a wicked fascination with Heteronyms...words that are spelled the same but sound differently depending on how you are using them. Examples are: lead (to guide or a metal), wind (a gust of air or to turn something...like a watch), wound (having turned something or an injury). We have a contest going to see who can come up with the longest list.

So, in honor of this great comment, here is a list of heteronyms:

dlcass:

~ lead (to guide or a metal)

~ wind (a gust of air or to turn something...like a watch)

~ wound (having turned something or an injury)

ScarlettOhairy (That's Me.):

~ bow (as a noun: the forward part of a ship or an archery tool or an embellishment on a gift ; as a verb, to bend the body forward)

~ content (as an adjective: the baby looks so content; as a noun, the contents of my purse)

~ coordinate (as an adjective and noun, it's pronounced with "nut" as the ending; as a verb, with "nate" as the ending)

~ does (female deer or singular form of do, she does like carrots)

~ graduate (as a noun, a person who has graduated, and as a verb, the act of graduating)

~ live (to be alive, such as "We should live like there is no tomorrow." and having life, such as "It was a real live diamond.")

~ project (as a noun means a certain plan or design; as a verb, to throw or cast forward)

~ read (as a transitive verb [pronounced "reed"] means the act of reading, as an adjective or past tense verb [pronounced "red"] is the act of learning from reading)

~ record (to set down in writing, as in "We should record the date to remember it." and something that emits sounds, such as "I used to have that record, but now I listen to it on my MP3 player.")

~ row (to move an oar and a fight)

~ sewer (one who sews with needle and thread, a conduit to carry off sewage and water)

~ tear (rip or cry)

LabKitty:

~ resume (to start again and curriculum vitae)

Please share yours in the comments section and I'll add it here with a link to your Squidoo (or other online) profile!

Are You a Word Nerd? Leave Your Tales (Not Your Tails) of Misspellings, Grammar Boo Boos, and General Comments Here...

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    • LisaNowatzki profile image

      LisaNowatzki 

      5 years ago

      I love grammar and this lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Heck yeah, I'm a word nerd! I think we should have an association, or at least a slogan. Word nerds of the world, unite! :-)

    • profile image

      JoshK47 

      6 years ago

      I am definitely one of those people who corrects people's grammar, though I try not to be too much of a pain about it. Quite a wonderful lens here, blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @LabKittyDesign: Yes, I believe so! I'll add them to the Heteronyms list. Thanks, LabKitty!

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 

      7 years ago

      Do resume (to start again) and resume (curriculum vitae) count as heteronyms?

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 

      7 years ago

      Thank you so much for this grammar lens. I had an interview today and your lens helped me a lot.

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 

      7 years ago

      I keep making mistakes. Your lens is useful for me.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 

      7 years ago

      I always think Misspelled is difficult to get right. If ever you correct someone online people go crazy if YOU make the slightest mistake!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Ramkitten2000: Thanks, Ramkitten. I am always learning new things about grammar, too!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Heteronyms -- that's a new one for me. And I THOUGHT I was a grammar nerd. By george, I think you've got me beat. (And, yeah, I know that's not proper grammar.) This is very good resource you've put together. Nicely done.

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the lens! I used to be in printing, so I have corrected more than a few boo boos in my day! :p

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 

      7 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      Great lens, thank you so much for doin git!

    • profile image

      candy47 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the informative lens! I'll be referring to it often!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      7 years ago from So Cal

      I currently have a writing project where we have been instructed over and over not to use close proximity. It was not a phrase I used so I missed the bullet on that one but have been corrected on other issue. Great lens and one I will refer to when needed. Thanks for the references.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Diane Cass: That's my kind of game, Diane! Love it. All I can think of right now is row and row (to move an oar and a fight) .

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 

      7 years ago from New York

      My husband has a wicked fascination with Heteronyms...words that are spelled the same but sound differently depending on how you are using them. Examples are: lead (to guide or a metal), wind (a gust of air or to turn something...like a watch), wound (having turned something or an injury). We have a contest going to see who can come up with the longest list.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @hsschulte: Oh Heather, you shouldn't have (grammar and spell checked it). You do fine! That's pretty funny. I hear ya about those words. I wrote "write" the other day when I meant "right." I caught it, but you're right, reading it a second or third time is important.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Frischy: Wow, at least you try another language! That's pretty funny.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 

      7 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      My most hilarious grammar and spelling mistakes have taken place while learning new languages. Such as the time I tried to say my mouth was on fire in Spanish and ended up telling my dinner companions I had a fire in my cow. Since this is an English-grammar lens, I will leave those stories for another time.

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 

      7 years ago

      The other day, I wrote "by" instead of "buy." Spell check never catches these things, so I've learned to read over my work again! Of course, I know that you don't "by" things but it's easy make mistakes when you rush. P.S. This is the only comment that Iâve spelling and grammar checked before posting. =)

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Spook LM: I understand. I feel the same way about math and science!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      I was educamated in colonial times and found grammar fierce difficult at the best of times. Very difficult language is English. Sincere apologies for any grammatical errors, but, I'm trying. Seriously, English is a very hard language and thank you for your help.

    • davidber profile image

      davidber 

      7 years ago

      Usefull lens, thanks

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Nancy Hardin: Oh boy, don't get me started, Nancy. That is a perfect example of how hard the English language is to master. I make those mistakes all the time but catch myself sometimes.

    • profile image

      bossypants 

      7 years ago

      This is a great collection of helpful tips! I am favoriting it and know I'll be back to get more grammar wisdom. It probably feels like a thankless job, so thank you!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Karbyn: You know it! I am much better than I used to be. I bite my tongue and store it away for later when I need to vent. ;oP

    • profile image

      Karbyn 

      7 years ago

      I bet people call you the Grammar Police, too, don't they?

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I feel a real shudder when the word "passed" is used for something that happened long ago, or in the "past." Then there's the usual ones of "their" "there" "they're" and "your" "you're," etc. Whenever I'm reading something and I come to those grammar mistakes, I find it stops my understanding of what I'm reading, and I can't get past it. Excellent list!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 

      7 years ago

      Great resources for the budding writer, or, the "accomplished" writer who needs a refresher - like me!

    • Anita Jayne Dale profile image

      Anita Jayne Dale 

      7 years ago

      Like your choice of references! Definatly worth having handy!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      7 years ago

      Lensrolled to my Grumpy Grammar lens

    • mivvy profile image

      mivvy 

      7 years ago

      I did not know about National Grammar Day (interesting suite article)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I was an English major in college, so that helps me but I still keep a dictionary and a few other reference tools at hand on my desk, right by the computer.

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