While editing the weekly newsletter at work today, I found myself at Dictionary.com once again, this time attempting to assure myself that I was correct in using ensure. Or was it insure? Usually I can keep track of whether the foul weather hurts the fowl. But loose usage of words in the past can cause me to lose the habit of proper grammar in the years that have passed since my 2nd grade encounter with ABeka’s Language Arts book. This leaves me in dire straits, far from the straight and narrow path of proper grammar that my Grama was taught. I’m sure the rise of improper grammar principles these days would cause the principal of my grandmother’s school to ask, just as Professor Kirke of Narnian lore, “What do they teach them at these schools?”
Well, you get the idea… 🙂
Today I discovered Suite 101’s helpful articles on “Snare Pairs”. I printed out their definitions of assure vs. ensure vs. insure, as well as affect vs. effect, and pinned them above my computer. Those are the words that I am forever mixing!
Thanks to Grandma and the Internet, I’m finding more and more tricks to help me remember my grammar rules. “The Wonderful Writing Skills Un-Handbook” taught me this simple sentence: “I can affect the effect.” (Just remember that in this sentence, the words in question are in alphabetical order.)
I used to get stationery and stationary mixed up, until my grandmother taught me to remember the e‘s: stationery refers to the material with which you write letters.
Grandma also had a hint for complement vs. compliment, but with the i‘s this time: I give you a compliment.
Thank God for Grandma who can answer my grammar questions, and the Internet that’s there when Grandma isn’t!