I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I was a pretty lousy English major. I couldn’t diagram a sentence to save my life (or my self-respect) and I would not read anything that bored me, which was nearly everything (I arrived at class early to eavesdrop on my classmates, from which I gleaned enough details to pass quizzes). I did well on essays because, despite reading precious few of the assigned pieces, I could hone in on some key point and belabor it with zeal. I attended class faithfully, wrote well, and had an excellent memory for the few things I learned along the way. Those few things have not served me well. Continue reading
Category Archives: 10 o’clock Scholar
If you’re looking for the best advice on grammar and word usage, I recommend you check out the Grammar Girl. But what I can offer you are my silly tricks for remembering when to use reign or rein.
Rein applies to horses…or, perhaps, to other sled-pulling animals: reindeer.
Reign includes a “g” as does the word king. Reign is also found in the word “sovereign.”
I do highly recommend the Grammar Girl’s website and podcast. Unlike me, she tackles all grammar problems with confidence and aplomb. (I, on the other hand, will abandon any problem that cannot yield to a silly trick. Affect vs. effect? I won’t use either of them!)
From time to time I’m going to tackle words/topics/terms that have either tripped me up or that I’ve seen give others trouble. Let’s take the maiden voyage with the word “irony.” Like plenty of other people, I have made the mistake of using irony in place of “coincidence” or “unfairness” when it, in fact, means neither. Continue reading