Strengthlessnesses—Longest Word With One Vowel

Wordy Wednesday!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday! Did you know that strengthlessnesses is the longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel? Neither did I. And I don’t really care for it. I mean, it is cumbersome to say–and that is a whole lot of e’s and s’s to remember to spell the crazy word.

But I love unique and unusual–and strengthlessnesses is definitely both of those! Here are some vitals about this “longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel”:

1. It is a noun–did you know that when a word ends in ness, it is almost always a noun? This helps with standardized testing greatly. Ness words are nearly always nouns, so in a “fill in the blank” type of assignment, if the word in question ends in ness, it has to go in a spot where a noun fits.

Tricky Trick to Help It Stick: We have students learn key words to remember things. For instance, to remember that ness words are nearly always nouns, memorize a key word or two that you know is a noun and that ends in ness.

Other ness nouns: happiness, hopefulness, craziness, gratefulness, joyfulness, smartness

2. It has to do with having strength–we teach our students to think about what you already know–anytime–but especially when approaching a new word. Is there anything about the word strengthlessnesses that you already know?
     a. You know what its base means. You already what strength means!
     b. You know that less means less or not having that quality. (We do a lot of root and affix studies here!)
Because of those two “things you already know,” you can know that strengthlessnesses has something to do with not having strength (i.e. less strength).

Note: You know more than you think you know! Repeat this over and over to yourself: “I know more than I think I know. I know more than I think I know.” Use what you know to learn more!

3. It can be spelled syllable-by-syllable (if you are a biphonic man or biphonic woman!): strength-less-ness-es.

4. You can also make up a trick to remember how to spell it, such as “It contains four e’s and six s’s. Or that it has four syllables–which tells you that it will have at least four vowels in it (or y’s acting like vowels)–because a syllable always contains at least one vowel. A vowel is what makes a syllable!

5. You can learn the variations of this word–because you can remember from your vocabulary studies with Language Lady that suffixes (affixes added to the ends of words) might change the SPELLING of the base word (pity is changed to piti in pitiful) but does not change the MEANING of the base word. Even with three suffixes added (less, ness, and es), the base word of strength still means strength.
             a.  stengthless–adjective meaning without strength (less words are often adjectives!)
             b. strengthlessly–adverb meaning without strength (ly words are often adverbs)
             c. strengthelessness–a noun describing someone or something that is without strength (ness words are often nouns)
            d. strengthlessnesses–a noun that means more than one someone or something that is without strength (es makes the word plural).

So there you have it–the longest word with only one repeating vowel. Did you know that you could learn so much from one word? You know a lot more than you think you know! Smile…


day 110: more prepositions as other parts of speech

I think I confused more than helped in my last post about “coming with…” I am going to elaborate a bit on the different uses that words that are commonly prepositions might have in writing:

1. First of all, a word is seldom a certain part of speech in isolation. Words are called parts of speech because they are used in a certain way in speech (and writing). Thus, it is often incorrect to say that, for instance, a dog is a noun. You can be dog tired. You can dog somebody to pay you. A part of speech is a part of speech when it is used–not in isolation.

2. Thus, the preposition as other parts of speech problem. We have students memorize lists of prepositions (though we prefer to have them use them in Check Sentences, again, because that is how “parts of speech” are used)–but we have to remember that those prepositions are only prepositions when they are used as prepositions–how is that for confusing? Remember, a preposition must have an object following it in order to be considered as being used as a preposition.

3. Examples!!! I will list prepositions below to show how they may be used as prepositions or how they may be used as other parts of speech–again, in context.

a. Over
    i. I am coming over. (Adverb–tells where you are coming….)
    ii. Jump over the water. (Preposition–begins the prepositional phrase (PP for short): over the water…)

b. Down
  i. He fell down. (Adverb–tells where he fell..)
  ii. We rode down the hill. (Preposition–begins the PP down the hill…)

c. Before
  i. Before we go to class, let’s check our backpacks. (Subordinator–before is used as a subordinator beginning the subordinate clause before we go to class–a subordinate clause is a clause (subject/verb) that begins with a subordinator and is not a real sentence by itself.)

  ii. I heard that story before. (Adverb–tells when you heard that story…)

  iii. He has to go before the leaders. (Preposition–begins the PP before the leaders…)

Hope this helps! Feel free to write in questions–if I don’t know the answer, I will look the question up in my 600 page reference! 🙂

day 109: another pet peeve–“I’m going to come with”

Another pet peeve of mine is popping up everywhere, so I thought I would share with our readers what it is and why it sounds so incorrect to me. 

This pet peeve is people using the preposition with as an adverb (or, in the case of my daughter–with an understood object of the preposition–her way of using grammar terms to justify its use!). 

Here is the run down on what I see as this pet peeve’s problem:

1. First of all,  yes, words have multiple uses and parts of speech everywhere all the time. This is one reason why we advocate only using grammar programs for children that have the words used–not lists of words in which the student is to identify what part of speech it is. A part of speech is determined by the word’s use, not the word itself:
     a. jump–a student might determine that jump is a verb…which it can be. But it can also be a noun (she made a huge jump) and an adjective (it was a jump start program).
     b. to–a student might determine that to is a preposition…which it can be. But it can also be part of a verbal phrase known as an infinitive (to run).

2. With is not one of those “multiple use” kinds of words. With is almost always (and probably always) a preposition. 
   a. With is a preposition because a preposition is a word that shows possession, has an object with it (the object of the preposition), and is the beginning of a prepositional phrase: with her, with the show, with the leader.
  b. With is seldom, if ever, used alone as an adverb (like many other prepositions can be):
      i. She is going along. (Along is an adverb here.)
      ii. She ran along the trail. (Along is a preposition here.)

     iii. I told him to jump down. (Down is an adverb here.)
    iv. He ran down the street. (Down is a preposition here.)

3. With is not an adverb by itself. It is not the kind of word that can stand alone as another part of speech. It is a preposition that needs an object to show a relationship (with whom? with what?).

So…tell who you are going with–and use with as a preposition, the way it was intended to be used! Smile…

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