Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sit and Set Pop Quiz With Answer Key!

      Sit Down While I Set Up a Quiz For You!

Sit and rise have I's--and lie does too.
"Coz these are things that I, all by myself, can do.
Set, raise, and lay are words that you choose
When each one has an object after it to use.

Fill in the blanks below with the correct forms/tenses of sit/set.

  1. She _________ down and wept when she heard the news.
  2. They _______ down.
  3. They _______ the plants out.
  4. They will be _______ the clothes out beforehand.
  5. Yesterday, he ________ down to rest.
  6. They will ________ the clothes out to dry.
  7. He _________ down.
  8. He is ____________ down.
  9. They will be _________ the clothes out beforehand.
  10. She has _________ the clothes out beforehand.
  11. They have __________ down.
  12. He has ____________ down.
  13. They __________ the trap to catch the bear.
  14. They are __________ down.
  15. They will ________ the tent up at .


  • She sat down and wept when she heard the news.
  • They sit down.(or sat)
  • They set the plants out.
  • They will be setting the clothes out beforehand.
  • Yesterday, he sat down to rest.
  • They will set the clothes out to dry.
  • He sits down.
  • He is sitting down.
  • They will be setting the clothes out beforehand.
  • She has set the clothes out beforehand.
  • They have sat down.
  • He has sat down.
  • They set the trap to catch the bear.
  • They are sitting down.
  • They will set the tent up at .
  • Wednesday, December 25, 2013

    Merry Christmas from Language Lady!

    This time of year we see a plethora of spelling, capitalization, grammar, and usage errors--on signs, catalogs, greeting cards, and more:
    1. merry Christmas on a greeting card (which technically isn't wrong, but just doesn't look right either!)
    2. "This line is for eight items or less"--even though it should be "eight items or fewer"
    3. Xmas--even though the Associated Press itself says to never use this abbreviation!
    4. Seasons' Greetings (which indicates that you are offering someone greetings for more than one season--the plural noun seasons)
    5. Happy capitalization guy or girl--Christmas Tree, Christmas Decorations, Christmas Ham, etc.

    Many holiday greetings and terms are subjective (shocking, huh?); however, here is a list to help you see the most common ways that greetings and holiday words are expressed this time of year:

    1. You can write any of the following:
    a. Seasons Greetings (no possession shown at all--more of a noun describing another noun)
    b. seasons greetings (same as a., but no capitalization--not recommended for greeting cards and headers)
    c. Season's Greetings (the most common way, showing that the season {one season} possesses the greeting; note the capping here)
    d. season's greetings (like c but not capped)

    2. Of course, people also write Merry Christmas in different combinations (with and without the M capitalized; however, Christmas should always be capitalized because it is a proper noun by itself:
    a. merry Christmas
    b. Merry Christmas

    3. To cap or not to cap greetings? This is a stylistic preference, but if it is in a header or greeting card, you definitely want to capitalize:
    a. Season's Greetings or season's greetings
    b. Merry Christmas or merry Christmas
    c. Happy Holidays or happy holidays
    d. Happy New Year or happy New Year
    e. Happy Christmas or happy Christmas
    f. Happy Christmastime (all one word) or happy Christmastime (again, all one word)

    4. Words that are already proper nouns should remain proper nouns in every context and should retain their capitalization:
    a. Santa Claus
    b. Poinsettia--This is traditionally capitalized because the flower is named after a botanist and physician who was also the first US Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett. In 1828, he introduced the plant to the country.
    c. The actual holidays
         i. Christmas or Christmas Day
          ii. Christmas Eve
         iii. New Year's Eve (one year--singular YEAR.....hmm...."that doesn't end in an s, so I need to put apostrophe s")
         iv. New Year's Day

    d. North Pole (Remember--you capitalize directions when they are part of a proper noun already--but not when giving directions. No "Turn West at the corner"!)
    e. Jesus, Jesus Christ, Messiah--most Christian publications capitalize names for or references to God and Jesus
    f. All locations associated with Christ's birth and life as they are proper nouns already--Bethlehem, Nazareth, etc., and, of course, King Herod, Joseph, and Mary (but not shepherds or wise men)
    g. When describing decorations, only capitalize the original proper noun:
         i. Christmas tree
         ii. Christmas wreath
         iii. New Year's Day dinner
         iv. Christmas Eve party

    h. Nativity is capitalized when it stands alone or when it is combined with non-proper noun elements
         i. Nativity scene
         ii. Nativity pieces
         iii. Nativity story

    i. Advent is capitalized in all contexts 

    Merry Christmas from Language Lady! 

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    Raise vs. Rise

    RAISE a toast! Use an object with RAISE....toast is the object.

    Sit and rise have I's--and lie does too.
    "Coz these are things that I, all by myself, can do.
    Set, raise, and lay are words that you choose
    When each one has an object after it to use.

    I like to start with the simplest Wacky Word pair—RAISE AND RISE--though I have often thought sit/set was the easiest pair because all of the set forms are the same. However, raise and rise are less often misspoken or mis-written, so I have changed my thoughts on this. 

    Remember these RISE and RAISE tips:

    1. Rise has an I—and I alone can do it (it is not done TO something else).
      1. I RISE early.
      2. Yesterday I ROSE early.*
      3. Before that I had RISEN early.
    *Just think I RISE early, and Rose ROSE early...

    1. RISE means to head upward—anybody or anything can rise, as long as it does it by itself (i.e. it is NOT RAISED)
      1. The sun ROSE early...all by itself.
      2. I RISE before dawn (not really!).
      3. They are RISING up in protest.
      4. She has RISEN from that position one time.
      5. They are RISING in honor of the king. 
      6. We have to wait for the bread to RISE.

    1. RAISE does not have an I (first)—it is done TO something.
    2. RAISE must have an object following it—something that it is being RAISED.
      1. RAISE the flag..
      2. Did he RAISE a toast?
      3. They will not RAISE the drawbridge today.
      4. She had some definite opinions to RAISE at the meeting.
      5. The kids RAISED a raucous to get attention.
      6. We RAISED our voices in protest.
      7. How much money did we RAISE?

    1. RAISE is the same base word for all of its tenses: RAISE, RAISE, RAISED, RAISING.  That is why I recommend teaching this Wacky Word pair first (of the three), along with the fact that people do not usually say, "I rose my glass for a toast," so it is more familiar, thus making it easier to learn (going from the known to the unknown, the familiar to the unfamiliar).

    Okay…the tenses for the pair:

    1, RISE
                a. Base form: RISE—Today I RISE early.  (Remember—no object; early is an adverb here, not an object.
                b. Past simple: ROSE—Yesterday I ROSE early..
                b. Past participle: RISEN—Before that, I had RISEN early.
                d. Third person singular: RISES—He RISES early.
                e. Present participle/gerund: RISING—I was RISING early.

    2. RAISE
          1. Base form: RAISE—Today I RAISE my voice in the meeting.  (Object—voice)
          2. Past simple: RAISED—Yesterday I RAISED my voice in the meeting.
          3. Past participle: RAISED—Before that I HAD RAISED my voice in the meeting.
          4. Third person singular: RAISES—She RAISES her voice in the meeting.
          5. Present participle/gerund: RAISING—I am RAISING my voice in the meeting.