Other Stuff To Remember

"English words don't end in I" - We use Y instead (this applies to English words, eg, "spaghetti" is an Italian word to which English rules don't apply, obviously). Exception: The personal pronoun "I".

"English words don't end in V or U, including OU" - the only exception is the word "you". This is why we use "OW" at the end of a word instead of "OU"-- "cow", not "cou", or "plough", now often Americanised to "plow"-- and add a silent E to "have" and "revue".

"Y when used as a vowel replaces the I". This is usually, at the end of a word. This is why we replace the Y with I when adding a suffix (except "ing" where we'd double the I): Eg, fry to fried but not frying: in "fried" the I is no longer at the end of the word so it's okay to use it. We sometimes forget that Y is sometimes a vowel, but when it is, it follows all of the rules for I.


"When C has a sound by itself (ie, not ch, for example) C may only say 'S' before an E, I or Y. Before any other letter it says 'K'." This will help you decide whether you should write disk (short for "diskette") or disc (short for "discette"). The second one is obviously incorrect, as it says "disset". It is also why "sci-fi" is not pronounced "skiffy", no matter what the Spec Fic pundits say.

"CK is used only after a short vowel sound." Eg, "peck, sack, Rick, knock, duck."

"I am/he/she was disorientated":

This one irritates me badly
This one is my own personal bugbear.

"To orient" is the personal verb, meaning to get one's bearings. "To disorient" is the negative verb, meaning to lose one's bearings. Therefore, the past tense is "disoriented".

There is no TATED about it. Leave the taters for the Irish Stew.

"Disorientation" is a noun, used thus: "She was in a state OF disorientation." In prose, that's passive, and wordy. Use an active verb instead (ie, "She was disoriented").

"Orientation" is the positive form of the noun.

So, you may go to your school's Orientation Day, but if you get lost there, you'd be disoriented.


Screwed up by newspaper journalists around the world in an attempt to save print space, the misuse of the word "less" has spilled into common usage even though saving print space is no longer necessary.

"She had less things to worry about" is wrong. It is: "She had fewer things to worry about." Or, better, "She had fewer worries."

It's quite simple, really. When you use a plural form, ending in s, use "fewer". If you use a plural form that is a group, or a non plural, use "less".

Fewer coins. Less money.

Fewer deaths. Less mortality.

Fewer misuses of these words, less brain trauma and fewer kill-my-TV tantrums during the news from me.


A couple of others:

It's all right not alright.

It's no one not no-one or noone.

It's although not allthough or all though.

It's a lot not alot.

Next - Formatting with Paragraphs

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