Tag Archives: homophones

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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PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: The shepherd led them to the brook….

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE—plus a couple of other errors for you to find!

The shepherd lead them to the brook and they drank alot, because they were very, hot, and thirsty.

Here is the answer with an explanation for each aspectbelow: The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.

 LED vs LEAD: The shepherd LED them to the brook……

      1.  LEAD (pronounced ledd with as short e) is only pronounced ledd when it refers to a metal or pencil graphite.           2. Otherwise LEAD is pronounced leed (long e) and is the current tense of the verb lead (LEED).                                     3. LED is the past tense of the verb LEAD (pronounced LEED, with a long e).

CS ,cc CS–Do you remember these rules for compound sentences? 

1. CS stands for complete sentence; cc stands for coordinating conjunction. 

2. You can join one CS (complete sentence) with another CS by using a comma-cc (,For/ ,And/ ,Nor/ ,But/ ,Or/ ,Yet/ ,So). 

3. You may not combine two complete sentences into one with a cc only–you must put a comma before it: The shepherd led them to the brook, AND they drank….

 ALOT vs A LOT:  ALOT is not one word; it should be two words–A LOT—meaning a bunch or a large amount: The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot….

No comma before a subordinator at the end of a sentence unless it is a WHICH clause-

1. You do not need a comma before the BECAUSE. 

2. You do not hear a pause (like you would if it were a WHICH clause): The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.

No Comma Between an adverb and the adjective it describes—

1. Or more clearly put, no comma between a qualifier and a describer: VERY hot and thirsty (not VERY, hot, and thirsty).

2.  Very is an adverb telling how hot (an adverb describing an adjective or qualifying it). 

3. Tip for this: 

     a. If you can put an AND where you are trying to put the comma, then a comma is needed (in place of the and): they were muddy, hot, and thirsty (muddy AND hot AND thirsty). 

     b. If you cannot put an AND, do not put a comma: very AND hot—NO!). 

     c.  Also, do not use a comma when you have only two adjectives and you are placing an AND in between them–either use a comma (hot, thirsty) OR place an AND (hot and thirsty) but not both.

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…

WORDY WEDNESDAY: Write, Right, Rite, and Wright

In my complete language arts books, I have a weekly lesson called “Wacky Words.” When I began writing language arts books for a different publisher fourteen years ago, I did not have this section in my books. 

Then I began testing…and testing…and testing…my materials. As I tested them, I discovered that even mature writers have difficulties with homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings). Then along came message boards, email groups, and FaceBook, and I discovered EVERYBODY has trouble with homophones. From these experiences, the Wacky Word lessons were born.

This week I was thinking of the plays that our daughter is directing for a community youth program called The Young Playwrights. I have seen the word playwrights before, but this week, it struck me that we do not have that word in our Wacky Word lessons with write, right, and rite.

Then, of course, I thought more (thinking is what I do!) and wondered why, if the children are writing plays, the term is not playwrite. So…that takes us to this Wordy Wednesday/Wacky Word post!

The picture above gives us some idea of why the word is playwright and not playwrite. The picture is of a wheelwright shop–that is, a shop in which one crafts wheels.

Though the word “wright” is most commonly associated with crafting with wood (wheelwright), the word “wright” is used in other contexts to indicate crafting or creating as well:


In that way, a playwright is not simply “writing” a play, but he or she is “crafting” something–perhaps he or she is even meticulously creating the script, like a wheelwright meticulously creates wheels.

So our four “Wacky Words” for “Wordy Wednesday” can be remembered with the following tips:

1. Write–to pen or scribe the written word

2. Right–correct; opposite of wrong; from the fight, might, light family, phonetically speaking

3. Rite–a ritual or ceremony; a rite of passage (This makes the Rite-Aid stores all spelled wrong–unless they mean “aid” for a ceremony or passage, which I don’t think they mean. I think they want to say that their stores give the “right” kind of aid/assistance.)

4. Wright–a crafter, especially of wooden creations    


WORDY WEDNESDAY: Capitol vs. Capital

The Only use for the word capitOl with an O is when referring to the capitOl building/buildings!        

Yep, you read that caption correctly! Contrary to what many people believe, capitOl does not refer to the head city, a good idea, or money invested. CapitOl Only refers to the capitOl building.

Here is the rundown:

1. Capitol
    a. Only has one use that we widely implement.
    b. Means the building or group of buildings in which the functions of government are carried out.
    c. Think. CapitOl Only means Office buildings for gOvernment–that is the Only meaning.

2. Capital
        a. All other uses of capital are the a one—capital is for all other uses

        b. ALL other uses of capitol/capital are the word capitAL.
        c. Adjectives
            1) Upper case letter: capital letter   
            2) Chief or primary: capital idea or the capital (most important) thing for us                             to     remember
            3) Die by the court: capital punishment
            4) Primary city: the capital city
        d. Nouns
            1) Stock of goods or income: to have capital in the bank
            2) Capital used by itself for the city: go to the capital of the state (i.e. the city that                 is the capital–not the building–the capitol building).

Watch the blog and Facebook page tomorrow for a quiz over this Wacky Word pair–and over last week‘s vane, vein, and vain! Better start studying!



 “Homophone, homophones, homophones…homophones!” (Veggie Tales)

Adults and children alike make homophone errors. They are probably some of the most common grammatical errors. We like to teach our students little tricks to help them remember which word to use in which situation. Below you will find some tricks–followed by a quiz! Smile…

Here are some serious and some funny tips to help you remember some homophones:
           a. their—heir is in it; their shows ownership; heir shows ownership too
           b. there—here is in it; here and there; use for there are and there is
           c. they’re—contraction they are; say contracted words uncontracted to be sure that you are             
              using the correct word for the job
           d. wandering—you wander in an area; you wander around
           e. wonder—you ponder when you wonder
           f. scent—cats have a certain scent when their litter box needs cleaned
           g. sent—envelopes are sent
           h. farther—farther refers to area (has root far)
           i. further—further refers to understanding                                                                       
            j. bear—a bear is a creature                                                                                             
          k. bare—ends in an e; when we bare something, we expose it

Part of being a good learner and a good student is knowing how you learn—and working in those areas. For example, the author of CQLA loves mnemonics and tricks. (Can you tell?) Other people are distracted by that type of learning.

What kind of learner are you? What helps you learn homophones the best? What helps you learn to spell difficult words? Work in those areas to help you learn better, faster, and more thoroughly.

Wordy Wednesday: Conscience vs Conscious

I try to use mnemonics, tricks, songs, and jingles to teach parts of speech, homophones, and any other grammar and usage tips that I can. Students (of all ages, including adults!) often remember usage better when a trick or tip is applied.

One of my students’ favorite tricks is for the confusing word pair (sometimes considered homophones, though they do have slightly different pronunciations) conscience/conscious:

The student’s conscience bothered him because he tried to con the science teacher. 

He wasn’t conscious enough to enjoy the delicious treat. 

 In today’s assignment, my students had to write sentences using conscience and conscious (one sentence each). My amazingly clever students had fun with this! Three of them used both words in one sentence and included the “trick” in that sentence too!

1. I conned the science teacher while I was conscious, and my conscience bothered me.

2. He wasn’t conscious of the fact that he conned the science teacher; once he realized he had, his conscience bothered him.

3. He had a guilty conscience after he consciously conned the science teacher. 

Wordy Wednesday: Homo (same); phone (sound)

We tell our students all the time that you know more than you think you know! And that if you take what you already know and apply it to what you do not know, you will soon know even more!

Take the word homophone, for instance.
Homo—means same
Phone—means sound
Thus, homophones sound the same what you hear them. Homophones are words like their, they’re, and there and to, too, and two—words that sound the same when they are spoken but only look different when written. 

I tell my students that homophones “sound” the “same” when you are talking on the phone (and all you can do is hear–you can’t see the words written–either how they are spelled or in context).

We will do a lot of “word dissecting” on LL 365! That is something we begin teaching early in our curricula as it can unlock the meanings of so many words—and helps everybody learn to take what they already know and add it to what they are trying to learn.

Everyday vs Every Day

Do you like to read Language Lady everyday or every day? Let me help you with that!

Every day
1. Two words
2. An adjective (every) describing a noun (day)
3. Used when you want to say EACH day or ALL days.

1,. One word
2. Usually an adjective together (the entire word is an adjective–everyday)
3. Used when you want to say something is NORMAL or TYPICAL.


1. Every day is an adjective and noun together already–do not use these two words to describe another noun! (NO: Those are our every day dishes.)

2. Everyday is an adjective alone–use it to describe another noun. (YES: Those are our everyday dishes.)

Tricky Trick to Help It Stick: A wise grammarian recommends “testing” your words by seeing if you could put the word “single” in between every and day. (EACH single day):

1. If you can put “single” in between the two words, then you want the two separate words meaning EACH day…every single day:

a. I went to the mail box every SINGLE day. I went to the  mail box every day.
b. She wrote him a letter every SINGLE day. She wrote him a letter every day.

2. If you cannot put “single” in between the two words, tehn  you want the one word meaning typical or normal:

a. I wanted to use the every SINGLE day dishes. NO. I wanted to use the everyday dishes.
b. She is the every SINGLE day kind of gal. NO. She is the everyday kind of gal.

So…to answer the first question: You like to read Language Lady every day (each day) because she is not your everyday (typical) grammar teacher! Smile…