Entries Tagged as 'Reading'

A New Year’s Quote by T.S. Eliot

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. – T.S. Eliot

Signs of Dyslexia

The signs of dyslexia go beyond abilities of decoding symbols. The International Dyslexia Association covers some of the other common problems people with dyslexia encounter including memorizing number facts, learning a foreign language, and correctly doing math operations.  Check out their website for signs of dyslexia among adults, very young children, and older children.

They also have a frequently asked questions page if you are interested in learning more.

Spelling Incorrectly Hurts Online Sales

If you have hired, or if you are, a content manager or editor whose native language is not English, please read this report from Search Engine Watch.  The report spells out how misspellings can hurt online sales, stating that it’s not important if the author isn’t concerned with the spelling.  What really matters is the website visitor’s opinion.  Specifically alarming is is the fact that your visitors will equate good spelling and grammar with legitimacy.

Accurate spelling and good grammar are equated with legitimacy, if not consciously then subconsciously. Some of us may be more aware of this sentiment when it is expressed in the negative: Bad spelling and bad grammar are cause for suspicion. For example, what’s the first clue a piece of email from a stranger is a scam? Many people would say it’s the bad spelling and grammar.

The article is also helpful by providing tips for avoiding such costly mistakes.

  1. Don’t rely on spell checkers. The above heading passes a spell check with flying colors. Spell checkers can be a big help, especially those that flag errors as you type, but they just don’t have the human intelligence required to know which words you should be using.
  2. Use multiple human editors. I don’t know any serious writers who believe they can reliably copy edit their own work. As the writer you tend to see what you think you wrote, not what characters ended up on the page. In a pinch, “multiple human editors” can mean the person writing the copy and one other person, but three sets of eyes are better than two.
  3. Make sure your graphics people use the spellchecker in Photoshop for any images that include words. They need to use it before rasterizing the text layer. Editing typos in flattened image files is a real pain so check before you save to JPEG, GIF, or PNG.

If you are an ESL student, you should know what your instructors’ goals are when grading.  Some might focus more on content rather than on accuracy.  If  your instructor looks more at content and less on grammatical accuracy, ask them what areas you can improve.  There is always room for improvement whether it is working on native English phrasing, choosing the right diction to present the intended meaning, or using the most appropriate verb tense.

Lose vs. Loose

Lose and loose are commonly misspelled.  There are often mispronounced, too, so maybe this will help:

The ‘s’ in lose (a verb) is pronounced with a /z/ sound.  Lose means that you have misplaced something.  Example: Where did you lose your keys?  If I knew where I lost them, I would still have them!

The ‘s’ in loose (an adjective) is pronounced with a /s/ sound.  Loose means the opposite of tight.  Example:  I have to tie my shoe because my shoestrings are loose.

Through or Into?

If you use the preposition through, you are indicating a temporary passage.  If you’re going through something, you usually won’t stay there.  If you use the preposition into, you’re indicating entry to something.  If you are going into something, your intention is to stay for a while.

These prepositions imply movement from one place to another.  So, when a ball flies through a window into someone’s room, it flies through the window briefly, and stays in the room until someone finds it.

Examples with through:

  • He’s going through a phase.
  • We’re driving through a tunnel.

Examples with into:

  • He walked into the room quickly.
  • Put the toys into that box.

No Laughing Matter

Oxford English Dictionary has decided to conserve LOL and OMG in its 2011 edition.  The expressions depict not only our recent use of concise communication, but also demonstrate our tech savvy. Mark Brown from Wired writes of other terms:

There’s also dot-bomb, used to describe web concepts that fizzle out and die. That one derives from the soaring, stock-market dot-com bubble of the late ’90s, and the eventual bubble burst in the early 2000s. Ego-surfing, another new addition, means searching for your own name online.

Do you think these terms are worth saving?  Do they describe real English, or have they stripped the language of its academic and professional integrity?


Commenters’ Corrections Answers to 1-14-11

Here was the comment from Friday 1-14-11:

there use to be a better one what happen to it

  1. Punctuation should appear at the end of both clauses.  A period (.) should appear after one, and a question mark (?) should appear after it.
  2. Once new sentences are created, make sure you have capitalized the first word in each sentence.  The T in there and the W in what should be capitalized.
  3. When “use” + “to” is intended for a past ongoing action that no longer happens, “use” should appear in the past:  used to.
  4. Since there used to be one, and now it’s gone, something happened (in the past) to it.  The commenter is asking what happened, so happen should be in the past simple.
  5. Finally, a better what?  The person uses the word one, but doesn’t specify what one represents.  Basically, you’re looking at a pronoun without an antecedent.  Make sure your pronouns have nouns they can easily refer to.

A corrected version might look like this: 

There used to be a better one.  What happened to it?

Commenters’ Corrections 1-7-11

Here’s the comment from 1-7-11:

she is so pretty, i love this song, she will launch her new album soon, i saw it their pocodot, profile, great site, better than facebook

If this person were in my class I would recommend that they

  • begin a sentence with a capital letter
  • capitalize the pronoun “I”, the name Pocodot, and the name Facebook
  • change this run-on sentence to 3 sentences with three separate topics (loving her, launching the album, and opinions about the website).
  • make sure that every clause contained a subject and a verb.  Instead of “great site”, I would suggest, “it is a great site”.

A corrected version might look like this:

She is so pretty, and I love this song.  She will launch her new album soon, which I saw on their Pocodot profile.  Pocodot is a great site;  it’s better than Facebook.

The semicolon is optional.  I just felt like being fancy.

Commenters’ Corrections

In case you missed it on Wednesday, I posted the first of a series in which I find You Tube comments for you to review for grammatical errors.  Here are the answers from the first installment.

Now for today’s comment:

she is so pretty, i love this song, she will launch her new album soon, i saw it their pocodot, profile, great site, better than facebook

The answers will be revealed on Monday.

Commenters’ Corrections from 1-5-11

On 1/5/11, I posted 4 comments with grammar errors for you to analyze.  Here are the corrections:

  1. MY EARS ARE BURNING AND MY EYES TO. = Using all caps indicates a loud, yelling tone.  I recommend avoiding all caps at all costs.  The word “to” at the end should be “too” which means the same as “also”.  Correct:  My ears are burning and my eyes, too.
  2. Thumb’s up = This isn’t necessarily incorrect, but using the apostrophe means the ‘s represents a contraction of the verb is.  This person is actually saying “Thumb is up.” If only one thumb is up, you need an article or quantifier (My thumb’s up – or – One thumb’s up).  Not to mention, the phrase “Thumbs up” refers to sticking up two thumbs, meaning you like something a lot.  If you put up only one thumb, it’s only good, but not great.  Also, in some cultures putting any thumbs up is considered offensive, so use this gesture with caution.
  3. Anyone noticed Drake in the video? = A common past simple tense error has occurred.  The person put the main verb in the past tense when forming a question instead of using the auxiliary did.  Correct:  Did anyone notice Drake in the video?
  4. fal = Spelling fail correctly would get this person’s point across better.  Correct:  Fail. (Stylistically, I think adding the period puts more emphasis on the statement, although unfortunately in comments, punctuation is often collateral damage in the standard usage massacre we see online everyday).

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Commenters’ Corrections.  More to come on Friday!