Let’s face it. English doesn’t always make sense.

HOMONYMS sound the same, but don’t mean the same

TO-TOO-TWO all sound the same. The first is a pronoun. The second means “also” and the final is a number. ONE-WON – unless only one person won the event, the first is a number, the second? Victory! YOUR-YOU’RE are related, but different. Your means it belongs to you, but you’re is a contraction and means you are.

THERE-THEIR-THEY’RE. There means over there, in that place, the place at which I am pointing. Their is a possessive pronoun. Their books belong to them. They’re is a contraction and like all contractions that end with (word)’re, it belongs to someone. Those people. How about EIGHT and ATE? You mean he ate all eight hot dogs?

GRATE-GREAT. One is definitely cheese-related while the other means terrific, fabulous, the best. Or something like that. Just to keep things orderly, there is GAIT-GATE. The first is how a horse moves and the second opens the pasture so the cows can go in or out. Meanwhile, my SON is the SUN if he’s also Apollo. SHOO means go away, but that’s hard when you’re missing a SHOE.

There are a plenty more but I just finished dinner and my brains are busy digesting.

What’s with the “GHT” at the end of the word? Or even the “GH”? Or KN at the beginning of a word?

You don’t pronounce them, but once upon a time, long, long ago, English wasn’t English. It was Westphalian Saxon, and then it was a localized Germanic version of what was once some kind of German(ish) language. The “gh” was a guttural, just like the KN was a pair of letters in which both letters were pronounced.

KN is currently pronounced without the K — so really, it’s an N. GH at the end of the word isn’t pronounced at all. It just hangs there like the single sock you retrieved from your dryer. Should you save it in case the other one shows up? If you throw it away, the other one will definitely appear.

Adjectives and Adverbs: what are they?

Adjectives describe nouns which are things, items or other stuff. An adjective describes things. Adverbs describe verbs which are actions. Running, jumping, leaping, walking, crawling and dying are all verbs. Most adverbs end in “ly” except for those that don’t.


I’ve never figured it out. No one taught grammar in any school I attended, from elementary through college. It’s no wonder no one knows exactly how it works. And just when we think we’ve figured it out? Someone changes it.


So lets make it simple. Get rid of all of those homonyms. Pick one word and make it mean whatever you decide. Lose the ght and gh since we don’t use them anyway. Dump adverbs. Stop worrying about parts of speech. Add ING to any noun (or really, any word) and suddenly it is a verb.

Anything that’s hard to spell, we can eliminate the word or simplify the spelling. PHOTO will be forever FOTO and LIGHT will be LITE. I’m not sure how we’ll deal with lightning and lightening (the first being a bolt out of the blue and the second to take something dark and make it lighter.

If we aren’t going to teach grammar, lets get rid of us. Yes? No? Maybe? You think?

Categories: #Writing, Anecdote, Editing, language, Words

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4 replies

  1. Great post Marilyn.
    Hubby is always asking me how to spell certain words and I admit I have to rack my brain cell to remember or try to visualise it on paper. My 1964 school report said I had made a great improvement on my spelling (I was 8)!


  2. IDKY but for me grammar is pretty easy. I’m not perfect, of course but for the most part it makes sense to me. I’m not sure why because as you say, it really doesn’t make sense. Yet math I have to think hard, even look up formulas because I can not remember them. Yet logically math makes more sense than grammar. I’ve always been bewildered by this conundrum.


    • If you read a lot, you more or less pick up grammar. If you don’t read — and many kids only read things on social media — you learn anti-grammar. College teachers despair at kids who turn in papers using media terms like “LOL” or those weird abbreviations. I can do math as it pertains to bills and when I was working, I used a lot of it — all of which I have since forgotten. I was never good at math, but I learned what I needed when I needed it. That’s probably what’s wrong with the way math is taught. It’s out of context. Most of us could not figure out what it was supposed to do.

      My first hint was realizing I needed a formula to figure out how much rug I needed for inside my tepee. It was oval. I worked it out but FINALLY I knew what those formulas were for.

      Liked by 1 person


  1. English Ain’t Easy, So Let’s Simplify It. – This, That, and the Other

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