Tag Archives: grammar

Some great definitions of linguistic devices


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May 27, 2019 · 10:04 am

The Pedants’ revolt

A little combined history and grammar joke for Christmas!



pedants revolt

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Cute slightly rude*(don’t read if easily offended) joke borrowed from Andrea Buginsky


On his 74th birthday, a man got a gift certificate from his wife.
The certificate paid for a visit to a medicine man living on a nearby reservation who was rumored to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction.
After being persuaded, he drove to the reservation, handed his ticket to the medicine man.
The old man handed a potion to him, and with a grip on his shoulder warned, ‘This is a powerful medicine. You take only a teaspoonful, and then say ‘1-2-3.’
When you do, you will become more manly than you have ever been in your life, and you can perform as long as you want.”
The man was encouraged. As he walked away, he turned and asked, “How do I stop the medicine from working?”
“Your partner must say ‘1-2-3-4,'” he responded, “but when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon.”
He was very eager to see if it worked so he went home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom.
When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, “1-2-3!” Immediately, he was the manliest of men.
His wife was excited and began throwing off her clothes, and then she asked, “What was the 1-2-3 for?”
And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition, because we could end up with a dangling participle.

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Who v whom

Just saw this on Facebook and thought it was fun. Just ignore the occasional US spelling!


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Punctuation picture


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July 4, 2013 · 10:36 am

Audere est facere

Apart from helping one to translate Tottenham’s motto what use is a knowledge of  Latin nowadays?

I think it’s a matter for regret that so many schools no longer offer Latin as an option. Just from the point of view of widening one’s vocabulary a grasp of Latin is really advantageous. I often do work with pupils on derivations and prefixes/suffixes (usually derived from Latin)  to help with their vocabulary.

Another way in which Latin (and to a lesser extent French or other modern languages) can help with English is through an understanding of parts of speech. These days many pupils do not learn about parts of speech in English – maybe the basics of noun, verb and adjective, but not much more than this. When you learn Latin you have to understand terms such as Passive Voice, 1st person plural, sequence of tenses etc. Writing fluently and effectively in English is not just a question of imagination and inspiration. You have to understand sentence structure and be able to logically connect and sequence paragraphs. In fact, one of the disadvantages of the modern approach to teaching languages such as French is that grammar can only too easily be sidelined or completely disregarded. Obviously the emphasis on communication and situation French (e.g. at the baker’s) is a good thing. Yes, today’s pupils probably have much better spoken French but grammar should not be forgotten. I have had pupils in their GCSE year who have asked me the difference between ‘le’ and ‘la’!  Pupils who want to take their language learning to a higher level – A level and beyond – often struggle. Many universities have to put on special introductory courses to bring students upto the required level.

Latin is an extremely logical language; it follows patterns and rules with few exceptions. It appeals to those who enjoy puzzles and maths as well as those with an interest and flair for language. So even if your son or daughter is attracted more to  science/maths, don’t rule out Latin as an option for GCSE. It is highly rated by universities and, indeed, used in the past to be obligatory for studying certain subjects.

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