WRITING: HOMONYMS–THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

WRITING:  HOMONYMS–THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY      June 21, 2017 Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different spellings, meanings, and purposes. In writing, they bring with them the good, the bad, and the ugly:   THE GOOD:     for rhyming, esp. when writing a poem THE BAD:         wrong word/wrong place/wrong time THE UGLY:       when people don’t care and don’t know the differences, and don’t check or correct their writing   For example, let’s look at “effect” vs. “affect,” which often cause confusion and trouble: “Effect” is a noun (What effect will this issue have on my job?) more often than it’s a verb (I will effect [produce] a solution to the problem today); “affect” is a verb (How will that problem affect my job?). Correct pronunciation helps to clarify spelling and usage: “ee-fect” (effect) vs. “uh-fect” (affect).   Remember: Using Spell Check while writing won’t catch homonym errors because the words sound alike. Two of the most-common homonym errors occur among the following groups of three:  to/two/too AND their/there/they’re. Writing the wrong word can result in embarrassment! When a contraction is involved, think about what it means. So, you’ll have to slow down a bit to think about meaning/intent and spelling while you write, and then you’ll have to proofread objectively and carefully. If you’re not sure, grab a dictionary and look it up.   Some other common homonyms:  are/our/hour, ball/bawl, bear/bare, beat/beet, been/bean/bin, board/bored, berry/bury, brake/break, chilly/chili, dear/deer, do/dew/doo, fairy/ferry, flee/flea, flower/flour, guest/guessed, hare/hair, him/hymn, hire/higher,  horse/hoarse, made/maid, merry/marry, might/mite, night/knight, no/know, new/knew, oar/ore, pain/pane, pair/pear/pare, peak/peek, peal/peel, rap/wrap, raise/rays, red/read, sore/soar, rain/rein/ reign,, sale/sail, steak/stake, see/sea, seen/scene, sell/cell, son/sun, scent/cent, steel/steal, so/sew, tail/tale, time/thyme, toe/tow, wait/weight, waste/waist, whale/wail, we/wee, whole/hole, wring/ring, you/yew.   Which homonyms are bad or ugly for you? What tricks do you have to keep certain ones good?   For more on homonyms, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homonym or https://www.abcteach.com/free/h/homonym_list_free.pdf. If you need additional help with spelling, grammar, or more, our low-cost online campus at www.writestyle.com may benefit you. Questions?  Comments?  Let me know through blog comments or via e-mail to writestyle@mindspring.com.   See you next...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 21, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 21, 2017 Welcome, Dancing With The Stars/blog fans! I have a little more news and a few reminders for you. “Little Big Shots”:  A recent episode of “Little Big Shots,” hosted by Steve Harvey, featured a couple of juvenile ballroom-dance experts from Italy who have danced together for some years. And they’re not even 10 years old! The girl’s 8 and the boy’s 9. Fantastic and so cute! You may want to find a replay. New EP:  Mark your calendar for June 26! That’s when the new EP by Dancing with the Stars pro Mark Ballas and his wife BC Jean (Alexander Jean) will hit shelves and air! Also, contact your local entertainment venues for tickets if you want to see them in concert with R5! “World of Dance”:  If you love dance in many different forms, you’ll LOVE this show. Dancing with the Stars pro Derek Hough is a judge alongside WoD producer Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo. 10 p.m., on NBC, right after “America’s Got Talent.”   Wedding  Bells: This summer: (1) Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy on July 8. (2) Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich, the center pro hockey man for Canada’s Washington Capitals, on July 8. (3) Erin Andrews and NHL free agent Jarret Stoll (date undisclosed). (4) Carrie Ann Inaba and actor Robb Derringer. Within the next 12 months?:  Emma Slater and Sasha Farber may wait until next year; Emma said that because so many others are tying the knot this summer, she wants to wait and stand out.   “Health Magazine”:  Dancing with the Stars Co-Host Erin Andrews is on the cover of the July/August 2017 issue, looking extremely fit and happy. No wonder! The 39-year-old has come out on the bright side of cervical cancer, she’s marrying the love of her life this summer, and she may be able to have a baby, after all, because she froze some of her eggs before receiving her cancer diagnosis last year. Go, Erin!   David Ross:  Don’t forget David’s book, which landed a month ago: “Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages.” Available on Amazon.com and probably other large mainstream sources.   Dancing With The Stars Live! Hot Summer Nights Tour:  The first two opening nights, in Atlantic City, were sold out! Get your tickets before they’re gone! Here, again, is the list of cities on the performance schedule. If you want to go in your area, get your tickets ASAP and be...

WRITING: CORRECT PRONUNCIATION = CORRECT SPELLING

WRITING:  CORRECT PRONUNCIATION OFTEN LEADS TO CORRECT SPELLING (And, practice makes perfect!)                        June 14, 2017   Way back in the fourth grade, I placed third in the school’s spelling bee. A mere two-syllable word that I’d never heard before sent me packing. After the Bee was finished, I ran to my classroom and got a hug from my teacher, which gave me a little comfort. Which word took me out? “Adage.” Hear that heavy “d” sound in the middle? It’s heavy enough that I guessed in an extra “d,” which was one too many. As you can tell, heavy-sounding consonants, among many other potential difficulties, can cause uncertainty for spellers of any age.   What causes so many misspellings? Lack of spelling skills/knowledge AND/OR mispronouncing the word In a hurry/guessing/not consulting a dictionary Don’t care/don’t want to know   Here’s an example from an ad that I saw last week:  “Sterling Silver Jewellery Set.” In my opinion, “jewelry” is one of the top misspelled words of all time. My response: For most people, there’s no excuse. If you say it correctly (“joo-el”) and if you already know how to spell “jewel,” you CAN correctly spell “jewelry” (jewel + ry, “joo-el-ree”).   Many years ago I sometimes did small favors to ease the workload in another office. Whenever I did, a certain staff member there said with a grateful smile, “You’re a jewel.”   Practice saying the entire word, or start with the root word. In this case the root word is “jewel” (joo-el). Next, use it in a sentence: “You’re a jewel,” or one that you make up. I know this much: If you work in making, repairing, or selling jewelry, you’d better be able to pronounce it and spell it correctly.   Here’s my favorite, but also most-annoying, example of how mispronunciation can majorly mess up spelling. Some USA folks mispronounce names/words, especially if they’re from the South; although I might excuse or learn to tolerate their mispronunciation, I don’t excuse a misspelling of those names. Some of you blog fans are in other countries, and you might not know the names of many USA cities. So, if you were to hear a name pronounced as “Loo-vuhl,” would you know what that city is and how to spell it? Most likely, you would not. But, if I were to say “Loo-ee-vill,” how would you spell it? Everyone has heard of a King Louis, and everyone has heard “vill.” So, should the correct spelling be “Louisville”? Yes, you’re right!...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON: June 14, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 14, 2017 Hello, again, Dancing with the Stars fans! I hope that your week is going well. The Hough and Ballas Families: Last week I promised to follow up by telling you about the Hough and Ballas families. What I actually meant was that I’d tell you how they’re connected. Not by blood, but rather by years of circumstances that seem to have made them become as close as blood-family members. Let’s start by remembering this spring’s season of Dancing with the Stars, when Derek and Julianne performed an exquisite and emotionally charged dance about their parents’ divorce when they were growing up in Utah with three other siblings. In the referenced year, 1999, the parents sent Julianne (the youngest) and Derek to London to live and study with their dance coaches. Who were those coaches? Corky and Shirley Ballas, Mark’s parents! The Ballases participated in tutoring all three kids. The kids were trained in various forms of dance and gymnastics, in singing, and in theater. Just a few years later, the three formed 2B1G (2 Boys, 1 Girl), a pop-music trio that they took to a UK TV show and to dance competitions in the UK and the U.S. These three extremely talented performers have been through a lot and on stages since they were kids, with Julianne competing since she was only nine. (BTW, you may recall that Corky Ballas served as dance pro one season to actress/comedienne Cloris Leachman. As a funny guy, he was a good match for her.) The connection between the Houghs and the Ballases evidently will be for life in dance and in music and song. Derek and Julianne are second cousins of musicians Riker, Rydel, Rocky, and Ross Lynch from R5. Remember when blond Riker competed on DWTS a few seasons ago with Allison Holker as his pro? I liked him a lot, and he did very well. Adopted family member Mark Ballas and his wife BC Jean will tour with R5 this summer—cool! We’ve heard Mark and Julianne sing; even though Derek, too, sings, I have yet to hear him. Have any of you heard Derek sing?   Gleb’s New Baby:  I haven’t found a straight answer about when the new baby is due. Last September a story reported the pregnancy, which would have the baby either born by now or coming around the corner.  But then a report in March of this year said that it’s due in August. Stay tuned. “World...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 7, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, POST-SEASON 24: June 7, 2017 Judge Derek:  Did anyone else get to watch the first episode, last week, of Jennifer Lopez’s “World of Dance” show (10 p.m. on NBC)? If so, what did you think of it? Fantastic dance expression, for sure! Judge Derek Hough, our own Dancing with the Stars mega talent,  was as sweet as ever. I didn’t always agree with the judges’ comments and scoring, though. My fave dance was the one by the married couple, which was cute and fun while expressing their love. The 11-year-old girl dancer/contortionist who performs with tremendous heart for dance was something to behold, too. I’ll watch our recording of last night’s episode at some point this week and then report on that. Maks and Peta:  I read a while back comments from both Maks and Peta saying that they wanted to spend $1 million on their wedding.  $1 million! Why $1 million? Even in LA, that money could buy a nice house. Oh, well, it’s their hard-earned money. Reminder: The wedding is July 8. May they and Baby Shai be healthy and happy! Mark Ballas:  Dancing with the Stars’ Mark Ballas and singer-songwriter wife BC Jean together have a new EP coming out shortly. Word is also that they plan to go on tour this summer with R5. Like R5? If so, get it all in one show. Enjoy! DWTS Pros:  Even when the DWTS pros are and aren’t in season, they’re touring with DWTS or other dance groups, attending red-carpet events, and doing many other things both artistic and domestic. Do these people ever really get enough rest?! True, they’re professional athletes and in great shape. Even so, sufficient rest for body and brain is critical. DWTS Fall Season Wish List:  Have you ever hoped to see certain celebrities dance on DWTS? Are you sometimes disappointed when your favorite pro is absent for a season or two? Let’s talk about it. Think about celebs from some of the TV shows and movies you’ve liked recently, or over the past 10-20 years, and maybe produce a list of both male and female celebs you’d like to see compete on the show. And, which pros can you not wait to see again? I’d like to see pro Keo get some well-deserved teaching time with a celeb who’s really worthy of him. Also, I’m having withdrawal symptoms for the patient, tactful and ultra-talented Tony. Wouldn’t it also be nice to have Kym back for another consecutive season?...

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