Our local high schools and most colleges around here have just wrapped up graduation festivities, but I know some kids in other parts of the country are actually still in school for another couple of weeks. So, in honor of those who haven’t yet walked across the stage as part of the Class of 2015, let me share a quick spelling lesson.
It’s one of those lessons that I want to share every year, without fail. One of those misspellings that absolutely drives me crazy. What is it, you ask? It’s simple.
The word is “congratulations,” not “congradulations.” Yes, that’s a “T” in the middle of the word, not a “D.”
I realize some marketing agencies and greeting card publishers think it’s cute to play off the word “graduate” by changing the “T” to a “D.” And some of these groups can actually get away with it by writing the word in a way that makes it clear they’re using a play on the word.
But for the rest of us who are posting signs outside businesses or writing notes in cards or decorating cakes? Keep the “T,” folks, because otherwise you look illiterate.
End of my annual springtime rant that embarrasses my family and makes them roll their eyes. ConGRATulations to all you graduates!
I’ve seen it three or four times in the last week – mix-ups of “affect” and “effect.” So, since little things like that drive the editor in me crazy, here’s a quick grammar lesson on what the words mean and how to correctly use them.
The basics: In everyday language, “affect” is a verb that most commonly means to influence something. For example, “The storms will affect whether the tennis team plays its match.” “Effect,” on the other hand, is normally used as a noun that shows an outcome – the result of something happening. “She began to feel better when the medicine took effect.”
Of course, like many words in the English language, both affect and effect can have other meanings and be used as other parts of speech. “Affect” can be used as a noun to describe facial expression. (“She affected a blank expression.”) “Effect” might sometimes take on verb form. (“The new principal effected some positive changes in the school.”)
A trick: And, as Vocabulary.com suggests, one way to keep “affect” and “effect” straight is to remember that “affect” comes first alphabetically, and an action (to affect) has to occur before you can have a result (an effect).
Your turn: What words do you often see getting mixed up (either by you or by other people)? Let’s straighten them out!
The guys in my house (aka, husband and son) are longtime fans of Weird Al Yankovic and his crazy song parodies. They are funny and I’ve had plenty of laughs over them (and my guys’ renditions of them). But Weird Al has completely won me over with one of the songs from his new CD that was released this week.
Every writer, word lover, and book enthusiast will appreciate “Word Crimes” (which, I might add, is much better to me than the song it parodies). Watch it and get ready for your Friday afternoon laugh. Then I’d love to know which of the crimes drives you the most crazy.
Each year, I set out with fabulous, high-aiming writing goals. I’m going to finish at least one manuscript (of the umteen partially written ones saved on my collection of flash drives). I’m going to write a certain number of words each day/week/month. I’m going to spend a hour each day/every other day writing.
And on and on and on.
Then life kicks in and some of the goals I made some progress toward in the early weeks get sidetracked. Worse yet, they get thrown in the ditch and forgotten.
And then the guilt sets in.
I can’t always write a certain number of words every day. I have trouble finding uninterrupted blocks of time for writing (even 10 or 15 minutes, some days). I might be able to carve out some time for writing late at night, but I’m worn out from the day and can’t seem to keep my eyes open once I sit at my keyboard. I get excited about a new idea and toss my current project aside to follow the new path.
I’ve decided that this will be the year I don’t let those roadblocks and rabbit trails defeat me. Here’s why.
- Maybe I can only write a couple of paragraphs while waiting to pick up my kids from school. But some words are better than no words, and they eventually can make a book if I string enough of them together.
- Maybe the new idea gives me a chance to explore a new genre or writing from a different point of view (POV) or connects me with wonderful people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
- Maybe I’m too tired to write some nights, but I can toy with ideas while doing all the usual mom stuff that I want to finish before collapsing in bed.
The point is, I can set all the goals I want — and that’s a good thing to do! — but maybe I need to be more realistic with them. I have a full-time job, a fairly busy freelance writing/editing business, and a family to love and enjoy. My husband helps with a lot of things, but I’m usually the one to take care of grocery shopping, errand running, and kids’ activity logistics. I’m active in church, help at my kids’ schools, and try to find at least one day a month when I can exercise. 🙂
I’m busy. We’re all busy. But if I want to write, then I’ll do it when I can and not feel guilty about when I can’t. Because I’m not Wonder Woman, I’m Real World Mom. And if I stop wasting so much time kicking myself for not writing more, maybe I’ll actually get some other things done and clear a few minutes for — gasp! — writing a few more sentences.
Your turn: What do you think? How do you juggle it all and not feel guilty? I’d love to know!
Every January, I think about how fun it would be to keep a list of all the books I read that year. That’s as far as it usually gets – an idea that gets lost in the shuffle of life – but maybe this will be the year I actually do it!
To kick things off, I thought I’d share some books I’m looking forward to diving into this year. 14 books, to be exact – which you probably figured out since this post is titled “14 for 2014.” Some of these books will be new to me even though they’re not necessarily new titles. Others are on my waiting list because they won’t be released until later in 2014. And a few will be re-reads of books I enjoyed years ago.
Of course, I’ll read some nonfiction along the way, too, but this list is focusing on fiction. Partly because I read a lot more of it and partly because it’s easier for me to come up with 14 titles. So, here goes (in no particular order)!
New (or new to me) titles
Bird Face by Cynthia Toney (a young adult book by one of my critique group partners; this will be her debut novel – I’m so excited for her!)
Bash and the Chicken Coop Caper by Burton Cole (the second in Burt’s middle grade series about zany cousins Bash and Beamer – and I’m proud to call him a critique group partner, too!)
Doon by Carey Corp and Laurie Langdon (a young adult fantasy that has two friends traveling to an alternate world in Scotland)
The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill (nerdy girl Ellie writes her first novel and learns that her real and imaginary worlds might intersect more than she thought)
A Beauty So Rare by Tamara Alexander (the latest historical romance from one of my all-time favorite authors)
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (the latest in his Heroes of Olympus series with Percy Jackson and friends – my son and I will probably spar over who gets to read it first)
And a few classics
Pride and Prejudice (I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I’ve seen a couple of movie versions but have never actually read the book)
The Scarlet Letter (I remember loving this book in high school once I slogged through the beginning – we’ll see if that still holds true)
Fahrenheit 451 (another one I enjoyed reading in high school – plus my son will be reading it next semester so I thought it’d be fun to run through it again)
The Hobbit (yes, this is partly because of the movie series – it’s been so long since I read the book that I can’t remember which parts of the movies are accurate and which are just Hollywood)
To Kill a Mockingbird (I liked this in high school and my son really enjoyed reading it last year; since it’s on our bookshelf, why not enjoy it again?)
Your turn: What books are you planning to read in 2014? Any particular reason why? I’d love to know, because then I’ll probably add them to my own list!
Happy New Year! 🙂