Affect vs. Effect

Affect vs. Effect

I can remember learning about affect and effect in school–and being completely confused all of the time. Is that how you feel? Well, get ready to be relieved of your affect/effect phobia!

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Rise/Raise and Sit/Set and Lie/Lay Tips

Rise/Raise and Sit/Set and Lie/Lay Tips

Many hands rising the sky together, children and adults - stock photo





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 am going to take sit/set; rise/raise; and lie/lay one pair at a time over the next few days; however, I wanted to start the series (or at least this second post) with teacher tips.
I have watched kids with glossed over eyes as I have tried many techniques and order to teach these tricky pairs, and have had many difficulties “rise” up and confuse them (and me!):
  1. People lie; things get laid down—sort of works, but it’s not just people who lie—the sun lies on the horizon; the city lies asleep in the early morning hours; the animal lies in the middle of the road….you get the idea
  2. People lie; things get laid down—but it still didn’t help with the sit/set and rise/raise dilemma
  3. The past tense of lie (as in yesterday I lay down to take a nap…don’t I wish!) is the same as the current tense of lay (as in I am going to lay the book on the table)—poor kids!
  4. And so many more!
So here are a few tips that I would like to pass along to those trying to teach these rules:
  1. Consider a rhyme or mnemonic like the one above to reinforce the I’s in sit, rise, and lie—when we remind students that I do those things—and they have I’s in them, we are helping them remember that these do not have objects following them.
  2. Do NOT start with lie. It is by far the most confusing of the trio—and I try to do that one after rise and sit (with fewer exceptions, etc.) are established in students’ minds.
  3. DO start with sit. Set has the same tense for all—present; past; and past participle. Today I set the table; yesterday I set the table; before that I have set the table.
  4. If you are teaching from a Christian standpoint, Jesus and God are prime examples of rise/rose/has risen and raise/raised/has raised:
    1. Jesus will rise from the grave. God will raise Jesus.
    2. Jesus rose from the grave. God raised Jesus.
    3. Jesus has risen from the grave. God has raised Jesus.
  1. Suggested order: sit/set; rise/raise; and lie/lay.
Happy teaching—and learning! J

Lie vs Lay

Lie vs Lay

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.
Here we are at the end of our Wacky Word pair—lie and lay.
Remember these lie and lay tips:
  1. Lie has an I—and I alone can do it (it is not done TO something else).
    1. I lie in bed at  wide awake.
    2. Yesterday I lay awake half the night.
    3. Before that I had lain down when the cat jumped on me.
  1. Lie means to stretch out in a flat position—anybody or anything can lie, as long as it does it by itself (i.e. it is NOT laid)
    1. She lies down with a headache every day.
    2. The sun is lying low.
    3. She has lain down for a nap.
  1. Lay must have an object following it—something that it is being laid down.
    1. Lay your book on the table.
    2. He laid his money down.
    3. She has laid the towels in the sun.
Okay…the tenses for the three:
1. Lie
            a. Base form: lie—Tomorrow I will lie down early. (Remember—no object; down is an adverb; early is an adverb here, not an object.
            b. Past simple: lay—Yesterday I lay in the sun. (Tricky part: past tense of lie is lay; lay is also the present tense of lay—to lay something down!)
            b. Past participle: lain—They have lain low ever since then.
            d. Third person singular: lies—The dog just lies under the tree all day long.
            e. Present participle/gerund: lying—The sun was lying on the horizon for so long today.
2. Lay
      1. Base form: lay—I lay the kids’ clothes out every day. (Tricky: lay is the base form of lay (to put something down; it is also the past tense of lie—to stretch out by yourself or itself.)
      2. Past simple: laid—Yesterday I laid the pink pants out for Jon.
      3. Past participle: laid—Before the dog came in, I had already laid his bones out.
      4. Third person singular: lays—He lays the book down every night at ten.
      5. Present participle/gerund: laying—I am laying the swim suits out to dry.
Tricky Tricks to Help It Stick
  1. Again, do sit/set first (all same base word for tenses of set!) or rise/raise (since many people get this pair correct even if they do not know sit/set and lie/lay very well).
  2. Do rise/raise after sit/set or sit/set after rise/raise (saving lie/lay for last).
  3. Memorize acronym/rhyme to cement the fact that all three with I’s are the ones that are done by someone or something (not to something).
  4. When you get to lie and lay, to lie first all by itself until it is memorized. Then do lay. (I am starting to wait a week between the two with lots of practice on lie during that week before moving on to lay.)
I’m officially done with sit/set; rise/raise; and lie/lay! Time to move on. I feel that I have risen to the occasion and am glad that I did not sit idly by and lay these tricky ones aside. Glad I did not let people lie in agony over these Wacky Words. I would like for all of us to set our grammar burdens aside and raise a toast in honor of sit/set; rise/raise; and lie/lay! J (Last time for a while, honest!)
WORDY WEDNESDAY–Prefix ir

WORDY WEDNESDAY–Prefix ir

The prefix ir is an interesting prefix for a number of reasons:

1. It means not. There are many prefixes that can mean not, such as de, a, un, non; however, ir also means not, which is interesting to me because I don’t think it sounds like it should mean not! To me, it sounds like it should mean again or repeating or something besides not!

2. It only comes before base words that begin with R. In other words, you do not put ir in front of most any word to mean not, like you often do with un or non. 

3. This isn’t really interesting–but I like to say it whenever I teach about prefixes. A prefix is a letter or group of letters that you “affix” (which is why it and suffixes are called affixes) to the beginning of a word. It is important to remember that a prefix does not change the spelling of the base word. That is especially crucial in spelling ir words because the ir precedes an R already–and you must keep the base word’s spelling, so when you add this prefix to a word, you will ALWAYS have two R’s in a row: irregular, irresponsible, etc.

4. It is most often put before a word that is should never come before: regardless. We hear people constantly say irregardless, which is, of course, an oxymoronic word because less means without (or not) and ir means not. I guess that makes it sort of like using a double negative! You do not put ir before regardless because regardless already means without regard. With ir in front of it, you are saying not without regard, I guess…. Anyway, irregardless is not a word. So don’t use it. Okay? 🙂

Note: It is correct, however, to use irrespective, which is a substitute (some of the time) for when you are tempted to say irregardless.

However, there are many base words that begin with R that can have ir put before them to mean NOT or the opposite of what the base word means before ir is added to it.

Here is a list to get you started. Notice how if you take the ir off, you have a positive base word (or one that means yes–yes regular, yes responsible, yes revocable, etc.) However, with the ir, the word means notnot regular, not responsible, not revocable, etc.

Remember: You know more than you think you know!

And remember: Use what you already know to learn even more!

  • irregular
  •  irresponsible
  • irrevocable
  • irrefutable
  • irradiate
  • irreconcilable
  • irredeemable
  • irreducible
  • irrefutable
  • irregularity
  • irrelevant
  • irreverence
  • irreligious
  • irreparable
  • irreplaceable
  • irreversible
  • irresolute
  • irretrievable
  • irresistible
  • Irrelevant
  • WORDY WEDNESDAY: peak, peek, pique

    Picture by Lisa Rivera

    Oh my word! My tips and tricks for peek, peak, and pique aren’t nearly as cute and memorable as the ones Lisa Rivera has created in the picture above! In our curriculum materials, and on the web, I don’t have access to that kind of graphic representation of words. I might have to look into that in the future!

    In the meantime, her picture says a thousand words–okay, well really just three:

    1. Peek
        a. Verb meaning a secretive look–And then I am going to peek into the package.
        b. Noun meaning a small glance–She took a peek into the package.
        c. Thus, the two EYES in the middle of the word peek in the graphic. (We do have that in our books, but we just tell it not show it–showing it is so much better!)

    2. Peak
       a. Verb meaning to reach the highest point—They said that the dancer was going to peak at just the right time.
       b. Noun meaning the highest point—They reached the mountain’s peak.
       c. Adjective meaning highest point—They were at their peak performance.
       d. Love the graphic with the A being a high, mountainous point. 

    3. Pique’
       a. Verb meaning to arouse curiosity–They really tried to pique’ our attention with those pictures.
       b. Noun meaning resentment–He slammed the door in a fit of pique’. (Use it interchangeably with “quick anger.”
       c. Noun or adjective meaning nubby fabric–He wore his pique’ bright yellow polo shirt.
       d. The verb is the most common meaning; and thus, we see the cat at the bottom of the q in the picture because “curiosity killed the cat.” CLEVER!

    If you don’t have that great picture above, here are ways to remember these three:

    1. Peek–has two e’s, and we have two eyes and peek with our eyes
    2. Peak—not two e’s OR They have a lEAK in the pEAK of their roof.
    3. Pique’–Ends with que—question begins with que

    Happy Wordy Wednesday! If you like our blog, share it with others! Put the FB link on your timeline, so others can learn with Language Lady each week! Smile…

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