Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WORDY WEDNESDAY: peak, peek, pique

Picture by Lisa Rivera

Oh my word! My tips and tricks for peek, peak, and pique aren't nearly as cute and memorable as the ones Lisa Rivera has created in the picture above! In our curriculum materials, and on the web, I don't have access to that kind of graphic representation of words. I might have to look into that in the future!

In the meantime, her picture says a thousand words--okay, well really just three:

1. Peek
    a. Verb meaning a secretive look--And then I am going to peek into the package.
    b. Noun meaning a small glance--She took a peek into the package.
    c. Thus, the two EYES in the middle of the word peek in the graphic. (We do have that in our books, but we just tell it not show it--showing it is so much better!)

2. Peak
   a. Verb meaning to reach the highest point---They said that the dancer was going to peak at just the right time.
   b. Noun meaning the highest point---They reached the mountain's peak.
   c. Adjective meaning highest point---They were at their peak performance.
   d. Love the graphic with the A being a high, mountainous point. 

3. Pique'
   a. Verb meaning to arouse curiosity--They really tried to pique' our attention with those pictures.
   b. Noun meaning resentment--He slammed the door in a fit of pique'. (Use it interchangeably with "quick anger."
   c. Noun or adjective meaning nubby fabric--He wore his pique' bright yellow polo shirt.
   d. The verb is the most common meaning; and thus, we see the cat at the bottom of the q in the picture because "curiosity killed the cat." CLEVER!

If you don't have that great picture above, here are ways to remember these three:

1. Peek--has two e's, and we have two eyes and peek with our eyes
2. Peak---not two e's OR They have a lEAK in the pEAK of their roof.
3. Pique'--Ends with que---question begins with que

Happy Wordy Wednesday! If you like our blog, share it with others! Put the FB link on your timeline, so others can learn with Language Lady each week! Smile...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WORDY WEDNESDAY: Write, Right, Rite, and Wright

In my complete language arts books, I have a weekly lesson called "Wacky Words." When I began writing language arts books for a different publisher fourteen years ago, I did not have this section in my books. 

Then I began testing...and testing...and materials. As I tested them, I discovered that even mature writers have difficulties with homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings). Then along came message boards, email groups, and FaceBook, and I discovered EVERYBODY has trouble with homophones. From these experiences, the Wacky Word lessons were born.

This week I was thinking of the plays that our daughter is directing for a community youth program called The Young Playwrights. I have seen the word playwrights before, but this week, it struck me that we do not have that word in our Wacky Word lessons with write, right, and rite.

Then, of course, I thought more (thinking is what I do!) and wondered why, if the children are writing plays, the term is not playwrite. So...that takes us to this Wordy Wednesday/Wacky Word post!

The picture above gives us some idea of why the word is playwright and not playwrite. The picture is of a wheelwright shop--that is, a shop in which one crafts wheels.

Though the word "wright" is most commonly associated with crafting with wood (wheelwright), the word "wright" is used in other contexts to indicate crafting or creating as well:


In that way, a playwright is not simply "writing" a play, but he or she is "crafting" something--perhaps he or she is even meticulously creating the script, like a wheelwright meticulously creates wheels.

So our four "Wacky Words" for "Wordy Wednesday" can be remembered with the following tips:

1. Write--to pen or scribe the written word

2. Right--correct; opposite of wrong; from the fight, might, light family, phonetically speaking

3. Rite--a ritual or ceremony; a rite of passage (This makes the Rite-Aid stores all spelled wrong--unless they mean "aid" for a ceremony or passage, which I don't think they mean. I think they want to say that their stores give the "right" kind of aid/assistance.)

4. Wright--a crafter, especially of wooden creations    


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Comma Clue #4: Commas With Subordinate Clause Openers Part III of III

Do you remember what a subordinate clause is from yesterday? A subordinate clause is a sentence (independent clause-can stand alone) that has a subordinator added to the beginning of it (which makes it a dependent clause-is dependent upon something else in order to be used {has to have a real sentence put with it in order to be used}).

Think of subordinate clauses by either of their two names:

1. Subordinate clause--subordinate to the rest of the sentence
2. Dependent clause--dependent on something else to go with it (a real sentence/independent clause) in order to be used

Click here if you need to brush up on subordinators via our Subordinator-Check Sentence or subordinate rhyme.

Subordinate Clause Opener: Now for the opener part.

If you have been reading Language Lady for long, you have learned that a sentence opener has the following characteristics:

1.      It gives a sentence more information.

2.      It comes at the beginning of a sentence, which gives a paragraph a
different rhythm than if it included all subject-verb patterned sentences.

3.      It is often set off with a comma-again, adding to the rhythm of your

4.      It si usually non-essential, meaning that the senence is still a
sentence without the addition of an opener.

5.      It shows advanced writing skills because a writer who has a handle
on the many varieties of sentence openers has a large toolbox of sentence structure at his disposal.

So...if a subordinate clause is a group of words that contains a subordinator+subject+verb, then a subordinate clause opener is a subordinator+subject+subordinate clause that is used as a sentence opener.

Simple enough, huh?

The tricky parts of subordinate clause openers are

(1)   Be sure that you never use a subordinate clause opener by itself,
thinking it is a sentence. (It will sound like something is missing-because it is-the real sentence!)

(2)   Be sure that you put a comma following a subordinate clause opener.

When you start a sentence with a subordinate clause, 
Put the comma in when you hear the pause!

Here are some complex sentences created with subordinate clause openers attached to "real" sentence. In grammar lingo, each one is a complex sentence because it has a dependent clause (subordinate clause) at the beginning attached to an independent clause (real sentence).

If you learn subordinators well, you may write sentences with subordinate clauses.

If you put a dependent clause at the beginning of a sentence, put a comma in before writing the real sentence part.

As you learn more and more about sentence structure, your writing will improve.

Since people are impressed by good grammar and strong writing, you will become an impressive person as you learn grammar usage.

When you start a sentence with a subordinate clause, put the comma in where you hear the pause.

Although many people do not remember much about dependent and independent clauses, this does not make these clauses unimportant.

Because I want to write well, I am working on my usage skills.

Though some consider analyzing sentences as outdated, I know that it helps me write better.

If you lasted to the end of this lesson, you will be able to write well with subordinate clause openers!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day! Or Happy Mothers' Day?

The history of the holiday known as Mother's Day is an interesting one. It was founded by a single lady who wanted to honor her mother. Anna Jarvis arranged two ceremonies in 1908 to honor mothers and initiate the holiday. 

Soon thereafter, the holiday was catching on and Mother's Day services were held in 45 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. For four years, Jarvis continued to advocate for a national holiday to honor mothers until she founded her own association in which white carnations were the icon and the terms "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day" were branded. 

President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1914 calling for the observance of the holiday (and other countries followed suit). Once the holiday became official, however, Mrs. Jarvis was unhappy with all of the hoopla. Evidently, she had planned for it to be a simple day in which a mother would receive a single white carnation and a handwritten letter. The gifts, parades, restaurant meals, parties, large bouquets etc. Jarvis actually wrote letters of protests and even tried to sue those celebrating the holiday in a manner in which she disagreed--stating that she had made the holiday herself. 

What does this history lesson have to do with English? Well, it turns out, in addition to feeling strongly about how the day was to be celebrated, Jarvis also felt strongly about the punctuation of the name of the holiday. She stated that it should be Mother's Day--one mother possessing one day. It should be a day to honor one mother at a time, not a mass holiday, as in Mothers' Day (in which the day belongs to many mothers). 

Nowadays, of course, we see the holiday punctuated both ways, though more often than not, it is the way Jarvis intended it to be--however, I dare say that the one carnation and hand-written letter policy are not still followed, judging by the crowds in restaurants today!

1. Mother's Day---one mother--we write the word mother, and seeing that it doesn't end in an s, we place the apostrophe then s Mother's

2. Mothers' Day--many mothers--we write the word mothers, and seeing that it does end in an s, we place the apostrophe on the outside of the s+

+Note that some handbooks say in this instance, we should still use an apostrophe s: Mothers's Day, though rarely. Others say that if the addition of the possessive makes another sibilant, then use s's. In our programs we teach the following:

1. Write the word you want to show possession to without considering the possessive part: Donna (or McDonalds)

2. Ask yourself if it ends in an s. If it doesn't, add apostrophe s (Donna's desk). If the word does end in an s already, just place an apostrophe on the outside (McDonalds' fries).

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WORDY WEDNESDAY: Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots, Oh My!

 When Joshua and I teach vocabulary, we try to do a few things:

1. Relate the word to anything we think the students might already know. ("Aquaduct? Well, you know what aquatic means, don't you?")

Of course, this is where we say, "You know more than you think you know!"

2. We ask the students if they can tell us anything about the word based on the context. Is it happy or sad? Is there a word near that word that helps you?

3. We help them examine the type of word it is. We say over and over to them that OUS words are often adjectives (delicious) and ATE words can often be verbs.

4. We help the students examine roots and affixes.
    a. Prefix--an affix ("stuck on") to the beginning of a word
    b. Suffix--affix added to the end of a word

We also give the students tools all the time. Below is a list of prefixes and suffixes that we give to our students and discuss with them, along with their meanings.

Be a lifelong student! If you are an adult, these vocabulary tips will still help you every day.

(a)   GEN--birth, race, kind
generous, generate, generation, geneology, gender

(b)   DIC, DICT, DIT--tell, say, word
dictate, verdict, edict, contradict, predict, diction, indict

(c)    SPEC, SPIC, SPIT--look, see
perspective, aspect, spectator, spectacle, suspect   
(d)   SUPER, SUR, SUM—above
surpass, summit, supersede, superstition

(e)   TENT, TENS, TEND, TENU--stretch, thin
tension, extend, tendency, tendon, tent, distend

(f)     TRANS—across
transfer, transient, transitory, transgress, transport

(g)   DOC, DUC, DAC--teach, lead
conduct, document, doctrine, induce, indoctrinate

(h)   CO, CON, COM-with, together
company, collaborate, comply, congruent,

(i)     VERS, VERT—turn
convert, revert, subvert, divert, diverse, extrovert, versatile

(j)     LOC, LOG, LOQU--word, speech
eloquent, logic, apology, monologue, dialogue, prologue

(k)   SEN--feel, sense
sensitive, sensation, consent, dissent, assent, sentiment        
(l)     DE--away, down, off
denounce, defraud, decry, deplete, devoid, defile

(m) NOM, NOUN, NOWN, NAM, NYM--name, order, rule
anonymous, nominate, renounce, renown, misnomer         
(n)   CLA, CLO, CLU--shut, close
closet, enclose, disclose, include, conclude, seclude

(o)   VO, VOC, VOK, VOW—call
vocal, advocate, vocation, convoke, revoke, avow         
(p)   MAL--bad
malicious, malady, dismal, malign, malevolent

(q)   FRA, FRAC, FRAG—break
fracture, fraction, fragment, fragile, frail, fractious          
(r)    OB—against
objective, obsolete, obscure, obstruct, obstinate

(s)    SUB—under
submissive, subordinate, sublime, subtle, subversion       
(t)     AB--from, away 
abandon, abhor, abstain, absolve, abstruse, abstract 

(u)   GRESS, GRAD—step
progress, regress, gradual, digress, degrade, transgress

(v)   SEC, SEQU—follow
second, sequel, sequence, consequence, prosecute

(w)  PRO--much, for, a lot
prolific, profuse, prodigal, prtracted, prodigy, propensity     
(x)   QUE, QUIS--ask, seek
inquire, question, request, quest, query, acquire, querulous 

(y)   SACR, SANCT, SECR—sacred
sacrifice, sanctuary, sanctify, sanction, consecrate

(z)    SCRIB, SCRIP—write
scribble, describe, script, prescribe, ascribe, inscribe 

(aa)  PATHY, PAS, PAT—feeling
apathy, sympathy, empathy, antipathy, passionate

(bb)  DIS, DIF—not
disdain, dissuade, dismay, disparate, disparage

(cc) CIRCU—around
circumference, circulation, circumstances, circumvent 

(dd) NON, UN, IN, AN, A--no or not
nonviolent, uncooperative, inappreciative, anonymous 

(ee) AD--to       
adhere, adjective, addict, adverb                       

(ff)  INFRA—below
infrastructure, infraction, infrared, infra-bass

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

COMMA CLUE #4: Comma Following a Subordinate Clause Opener Part II of III

Did you memorize subordinators, so you can write with subordinate clause openers properly? If not, you can find the post on there here.

Once you memorize subordinators, you are ready to write with subordinate clauses. Specific to this lesson, you will be ready to write subordinate clause openers (subordinate clauses that are added to the beginnings of sentences).

As far as a subordinate clause is concerned, it contains a subordinator and a subject and a verb.

Subordinator + Subject + Verb

When she drove,

As he said,

After she left,

When they arrived,

Because he smiled,

Did you notice anything about those subordinate clauses? If you noticed that each one would be a sentence if the subordinator were removed, you are correct!

A subordinate clause is a sentence (subject + verb) that has a subordinator at the beginning of it!

Sentence: She drove.
Subordinate clause:  When she drove,

Sentence: He said.
Subordinate clause: As he said,

Sentence: She left.
Subordinate clause: After she left,

Sentence: They arrived.
Subordinate clause: When they arrived,

Sentence: He smiled.
Subordinate clause: Because he smiled,

So....a subordinate clause is a sentence (independent clause-can stand
alone) that has a subordinator added to the beginning of it (which makes it a dependent clause-is dependent upon something else in order to be used {has to have a real sentence put with it in order to be used}).

Think of subordinate clauses by either of their two names:

1. Subordinate clause--subordinate to the rest of the sentence
2. Dependent clause--dependent on something else to go with it (a real sentence/independent clause) in order to be used

So....that is enough of subordinate clauses for today. In the next and final installment of this Comma Clue #4, we will attack the subordinate clause used as a sentence opener--the subordinate clause opener.