Thursday, February 4, 2010

I before E except after C and sometimes Y and......

Oh, the English language. The genius that spoke and wrote it first must have thought we were all going to be born with super intelligence. So. Not. Right.

I thought I would share with you some common words that give me pause until I associate them like so:

Friend: Friends are there until the -end (fri always comes first)
Desert vs. Dessert: The desert is an isolated place (only one S), while we always want seconds of dessert(two Ss)
To vs Too: When we have TOO much, there's extra. (like the extra O). If you want to add to the list, add an O too.
Than vs Then: If you explain what happens nExt in time, use the E. Any other time it's the A.
Vacuums sUck, that's why there's an extra U
Lose vs. Loose: When we lose something it's only with one O. We lost the other one. When we find it, we realize that extra O is quite LoOse.
When using They're vs. Their...take apart the contraction to see if it still makes sense in your sentence. Also, Their is possessive, it's takes the E and hides it with the I. There has nothing to do with people, only a place. Over there. :0)

Do you get confused when writing sentences like these?  She and I went to the store together. OR She gave me and my friend a lollipop. Take apart the sentence and you'll know which to use. She went to the store/I went to the store. Okay, those are two complete sentences so I know I used the correct pronoun, I. For the next one; She gave me a lollipop. She gave my friend a lollipop. What if I had written, She gave my friend and I a lollipop? Wrong! Here's why. She gave my friend a lollipop. She gave I a lollipop. Hmmmm nope.

What about you? Any neat tricks you use to remember spelling or possesiveness? Leave us a comment! :)


  1. Oh how I hate the word vacuum!

    It screws me up every time. Patients & Patience throws me off too.

    I'll have to keep an eye on this posts to see what hints people give.

  2. These make me smile - pops me right back into my day job :)

    Where? Here or there. - all spelled the same

    "We'll go to-get-her together."

    I have a picture of a witch up beside that spelling in my class as well.

    There's "a rat" in separate

  3. Vacuum always gets me!!! Thanks for the little extra tips, they always help me! I love your examples... :)

  4. Tomorrow and terrific used to get me when I was a kid. Couldn't remember which consonants to double. So I used to remember 'Tom' and 'Terri'.

    I know there are others, but those are the two that come immediately to mind.

  5. Those are so, so funny! I LOVE the lose/loose one! It made me laugh!

    My kids use some of these. I hate to say I never remember having a problem with any of them... I was the idiot savant of word confusion. Which, I guess, is why I decided to teach English. Then I realized everyone didn't love it like me, and I got out. :)

    Its and it's still annoy the heck out of me. I know the difference, but my hands are so conditioned to add that apostrophe if it's possessive, so I almost always spell it wrong and have to go back and correct it. Grrr!

    Why can't English just follow a set of rules?? You know... ALL the time??

  6. I struggle with so many word. The worst is definitely. I always try to spell it definately.

  7. Natalie: Me too! I finally said, FINITE, something is FINITE, set in stone add the DE

    Heidi: Its and it's are two evil twins, I'm telling you. It seems habit to put apostrophe there. I'm always having to fix that in my ms

    PJ: Good thinking! I like that. I'm famous for trying to put an extra m in tomorrow

    Jemi: I had never heard the Where? Here and There thing. That is cool!

  8. I struggle with then and than. I'm trying to teach my daughter to read and I find myself saying that's an exception to the rule a lot.

  9. Alas I have no secrets. I just keep on running tally of the ones that get me and try to catch them in the rewrite. Then/than is the worst for me. Though I just found out I also need to watch for lose/loose.

  10. I am hearing the word asinine a lot more lately. And I'm not even sure what it means! :/

  11. Patti: Yes, having to explain the exceptions over the rules are so difficult with children! My oldest really struggles with spelling for that reason.

    Angelia: lose and loose were my worst in high school, I had a teacher tell me the little O rule. :)

    Dean: That was my step-father's favorite word. Asinine. It means foolish, or a stupid rule/relating to someone being an ass too. :)

  12. I learned that trick about I vs. me a long time ago; it never sound correct to me in a sentence but when I took it apart then I 'understood' it. ;-)

    Great play on words!

  13. Ha! Your desert/dessert took me straight back to elementary school! But I can't remember if it was Mr. T or Mrs. Copper that taught us that.
    two things...I can never write vacuum correctly, I can type it because the computer gods tell me it's wrong, but on my to-do list at home? NEVER!
    and...I HATE it when I see then/than misused, which occurs almost daily.

  14. I'm pretty sure it was Mrs. Copper(coppersmith?) Wow, you took me back. LOL I wonder what Mr. T is doing these days? And I too hate to see then and than misused which is the MOST common.

  15. There's a few of these that trip me up from time to time. But I do finally have the word 'savvy' down. I know, you needed to know that:)


Your spotlight on R.A.W. :0) I strive to respond if you have your email address attached!