Sunday, May 27, 2012

These are a few of our favourite things

Dear Gramm-o-philes (or Grammarphiles, or Grammarians if you prefer)

'Sound of Music', 1965  National Publishers Inc

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things (Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1959)

Those readers who participated in our our little poll about how they used the Grammar Gang, gave the most number of votes (34) to the question which said 'to help me with my academic writing'. 

We did our own whip around and - in no particular order - made a selection of our favourite 'writing at university' resources.

From our colleague Lisa at Massey University in New Zealand:

APA interactive

From Julia at Adelaide University:

Adelaide University Learning Guides

Julia particularly likes the ones on articles and literature reviews.   She also recommends Oshima and Hogue's 'Writing academic English' and Murphy's 'English grammar in use'.

And I really like these simple resources from the University of South Australia:

Linking words and phrases

Objective and subjective writing

Reading log

I hope you like these as much as we do.  Please add your own comments and contributions.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Double, double, toil and trouble

As Shakespeare's witches said in 'Macbeth': 'Double, double, toil and trouble.'
But wait a moment. Should that be 'Duble, dable, toil and trible'? Of course, a spell checker helps, but even spell checkers aren't perfect.

Do you have difficulty spelling words ending in -ible, -able and -uble? You're not alone. There are so many homophones (words which sound the same but may be spelt differently) in English that choosing the right one is not always easy. Other commonly confused words are 'effect' and 'affect', or 'they're' and 'their'.  How can you be sure which is the correct spelling? As always, I'd recommend a good online learner's dictionary. The seven listed here are available free of charge:

If you spell a word incorrectly in the dictionary search box, you'll be given suggestions which prompt you to find the right word - perfect for difficult spellings!
Another way to remember confusing spellings is to use a mnemonic, or memory aid, such as 'i before except after c, except in certain cases'. This rule helps with words like 'friend' and 'receive'. Another suggestion made to me was the mock warning given by a primary school teacher: 'Spell "friend" properly, or I'll "fry" your "end"!' Sounds painful, but I've never forgotten it!

What memory aids for spelling do you know? Please add your suggestions in the comments box below and help make a discernible difference to our reputable blog!