Things I Didn’t Know

There are lots of things I don’t know, actually, one of which is that there is a Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. Who would have known? I don’t think it’s common knowledge among English teachers… Add to that the fact that March 4th, which just happens to be my birthday, is National Grammar Day and I was hooked.  (It doesn’t take much to amuse me.)

I found out about the society because I read 46 Ways to Embarrass Yourself in Writing. I do try to avoid such things, but the brain is often faster than the pen. Besides, my particular brain still likes to spell phonetically. I was in my thirties before I caught on to the fact that the American spelling of judgment does not have an e, and I was irritated when my father pointed it out to me. During that same decade, the daughter participated in junior high spelling bees, and it was there that I learned what ordnance meant ( once I figured out that ordinance had not been misspelled on the practice sheet).

We break the rules of English all the time, really, but I do think it helps to know what they are and at least work toward promoting them. If you want to challenge your own spelling, you can take this quiz. I think I spell pretty well, but I only got eleven right. To boost my ego (or so I thought), I took the Evil Twin Word Quiz. At least I got seven right. I was reassured that, according to the commentary on the quiz, at least one of my mistakes is commonly made by professional writers. I think that when we write, our use of words reflects both what we have been taught and what we hear. Common usage of the English language breaks rules all the time.

I remember being a teen and thinking that by the time I was thirty, I would know all I needed to know. Ha! I laugh at that young woman now, mostly because I wonder what I was thinking. What fun would it be to live in a world that held no surprises? I doubt I was thinking about spelling or grammar at the time, but if such little things can trip me up, I guess there’s a lot more left for me to learn.

And now I am going to quit writing so I don’t drive myself crazy looking for mistakes I didn’t know existed. Have a good weekend! 🙂


3 Responses to “Things I Didn’t Know”

  1. 1 Carol January 27, 2008 at 1:29 am

    I got 12 right on the spelling and 7 on the evil twin quiz. I can’t resist these kinds of test, although the older I get, the more they seem to humble me. I can still remember the word on missed in the 8th grade spelling bee.


    I wasn’t familiar with the word and spelled it “futilism”.

  2. 2 Becky January 27, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Isn’t it funny how we remember words we have missed? My hangup was on the SAT. The word was cacophony, and although I was a four year Latin student, its origin was…Greek. I didn’t misspell it. I just couldn’t answer the vocab question related to it.

  3. 3 realworldmartha January 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    This is an area I need work so I’ll pass on the tests.. 🙂

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January 2008
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