Category Archives: help

Some common Grammar mistakes.

I apologise for being a few hours late with this week’s blog.


Today’s post is from Clancy Tucker’s blog

I found I couldn’t reblog it as it stands so I copied and pasted it instead. I hope Clancy doesn’t mind. I asked him about reblogging and he said it was fine, but his reblog only goes to Blogger.

Do visit his blog. It’s very interesting. He posts on a variety of things including some of his photography, which is wonderful, information about famous people, historical events, British slang and of course, grammar mistakes.


G’day folks,

None of us are perfect in the English language. I often see mistakes, especially spelling mistakes on advertisements, and on TV. Here are a few that might help, courtesy of Jon Gingerich.


Who and Whom

This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with “him,” “her,” “it”, “us,” and “them.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the object of a clause. Using “who” or “whom” depends on whether you’re referring to the subject or object of a sentence. When in doubt, substitute “who” with the subjective pronouns “he” or “she,” e.g., Who loves you? cf., He loves me. Similarly, you can also substitute “whom” with the objective pronouns “him” or “her.” e.g., I consulted an attorney whom I met in New York. cf., I consulted him.

Which and That 

This is one of the most common mistakes out there, and understandably so. “That” is a restrictive pronoun. It’s vital to the noun to which it’s referring.  e.g., I don’t trust fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic. Here, I’m referring to all non-organic fruits or vegetables. In other words, I only trust fruits and vegetables that are organic. “Which” introduces a relative clause. It allows qualifiers that may not be essential. e.g., I recommend you eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores. In this case, you don’t have to go to a specific grocery store to obtain organic fruits and vegetables. “Which” qualifies, “that” restricts. “Which” is more ambiguous however, and by virtue of its meaning is flexible enough to be used in many restrictive clauses. e.g., The house, which is burning, is mine. e.g., The house that is burning is mine.


 Lay and Lie

This is the crown jewel of all grammatical errors. “Lay” is a transitive verb. It requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” (e.g., I lay the pencil on the table) and its past tense is “laid” (e.g., Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table). “Lie” is an intransitive verb. It needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” (e.g., The Andes mountains lie between Chile and Argentina) and its past tense is “lay” (e.g., The man lay waiting for an ambulance). The most common mistake occurs when the writer uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” (e.g., I laid on the bed) when he/she actually means the intransitive past tense of “lie” (e.g., I lay on the bed).


Clancy’s comment: Hope these help.

Strange English spellings




Today is a day when I address some things about our beautiful, interesting, but strange language.

There are many words in English that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. Also there are words pronounced the same, but spelled differently. Then there are words that are the same in spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings, depending on context.

The strangest, in my opinion, are words ending in -ough.

We have:

 Though, pronounced ‘tho’
 Bough, pronounced ‘bow’. (although that in itself has different pronunciations)
 Enough, pronounced ‘enuf’
 Thought, pronounced ‘thort’
 Through, pronounced ‘threw’

No wonder foreigners have some difficulty with it, although (another one, similar to ‘though’, here) it seems they are able to manage quite well if the number of foreigners who speak the language extremely well is anything to go by.

I was in an Italian restaurant in Germany and was greatly amused to see the German waiter speaking to a French customer in English. This also happened when I was in Croatia. The Croatian receptionist spoke to a visitor I think was Russian in English. These strange inconsistencies seem not to faze them, even if they confuse some native speakers!

Whatever happened to the Bilberry?



I was remembering the bilberries I used to buy from the market in Rochdale, England in the early 70s and got a desire for a bilberry pie. Nowhere can I find anyone who sells them, except for Amazon who sell dried ones.

The little purple berries are about half the size of their cousin, the blueberry, but are packed with so much more flavour. There is nothing quite like it. Imagine a blueberry, then concentrate its flavour into a volume about one quarter its size, then double the flavour for good measure. You might then have a slight idea of the pleasure of eating bilberries.

They were made into pies, jams or stewed and served with ice cream or cream Mmmm, delicious. Their sweet tartness bursts on the tongue like nothing else. I’m sorry, my American friends, but the blueberry is NOT a substitute, but is bland, squishy and watery in comparison.

Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the occasional drink of blueberry juice or fresh blueberries in a fruit salad, it’s just when I think to compare them with the bilberry I feel disappointed. I’ve been searching websites for pictures of bilberries, but there is confusion here and all the ones I could find were actually of blueberries. Some even said they’re  the same fruit!

Why has this delicious little fruit fallen out of favour? Who knows. I suspect it’s something to do with the low-growing habit of the plant. Gathering bilberries is back-breaking work, and not one that many people would relish except for gathering a few wild ones for their own consumption.

They grow on heath and moorland. wild country where few go these days, when people don’t move more than 50 yards from their cars and think themselves adventurous for driving up into the hills and walking so far. So people don’t see these little beauties. Anyway, we have grown so far from nature that unless something comes in a neat package from a supermarket, many are afraid to gather the wild bounty of our hedgerows. (I don’t see many people gathering blackberries from the hedges or picking mushrooms from the fields these days.)

I’ve picked wild stuff since I was a child. Going mushrooming was a delight. we quickly learned to recognise a delicious field mushroom, and to eat them fresh for breakfast, with egg and bacon, well, it makes my mouth water just to think of them. They, like the bilberries, burst with lovely mushroomy flavour.

To make a pie with blackberries you’ve gathered yourself is a pleasure. To be out in the countryside, listening to the birds singing and watching the butterflies and bees–there’s nothing like it, quite apart from the health benefits of the walk.

I do see people gathering blackberries, but they are picking them from the roadside with lorries, cars and buses hurtling by and throwing up dust to coat them, Not to mention those lower down that I’ve seen people picking, just at dog pee level.

I’ve picked elderberries and made wine and jam from them, and the fluffy white umberellas of blossom also makes a lovely cordial as well as elderflower wine.

I’ve digressed from my original thought about bilberries. I long to eat another bilberry pie before I die, but they seem to be a forgotten fruit. Even Word is putting a red squiggly line underneath it everytime I write ‘bilerry’, but it doesn’t under ‘blueberry’.

Amazon’s dried bilberries, at nearly £11 for 250g seems rather a lot. and one of their products is called ‘blueberry juice (bilberry), which isn’t the same thing at all. The only review of the dried bilberries says they are horrible.

I’ve looked on the websites of all the major British supermarkets and none of them stock even jars of the fruit, even though I’ve come across websites that say they do.

So if anyone out there knows of somewhere I can get them, please let me know. I’ll be forever grateful.

20 commonly mis-spelled words

Here are some commonly misspelled words in English. 113biggestbookdubai

 Acceptable, not Acceptible
 Accessible, not Accessable
 Achieved, not Acheived
 Acquire, not aquire
 Analysis, not Analasis
 Business, not Busness
 Ceiling, not Cieling
 Consistent, not Consistant
 Definite, not Definate
 Discipline, not Disipline
 Exhilarate, not Exilarate
 Exceed, not Exeed
 Forfeit, not Forfit (or Forfiet)
 February, not Febuary
 Height, not hight (or hieght)
 Heirarchy, not Hierarchy (or Hirarchy)
 Independent, not Independant
 Inoculate, not Innoculate
 Leisure, not Liesure
 Liaise, not Liase

English is a very odd language as far as spelling is concerned. This is because it has words and roots from many other languages. There are still a few Celtic words, although not very many. Then the Romans came bringing Latin.


Latin was the language of scholars and it is only within living memory that it was a requirement to gain entry to Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. The Roman Catholic Church used Latin in its services until comparatively recently, and many mottos are still in Latin.


After the Romans left these isles, we were invaded by Scandinavian. These brought their own languages with them. Today, in Scotland in particular, there are many words similar, if not the same, as those in the Scandinavian languages. Dialect words often very old and date back to those languages.

There were also the Saxons. they brought Germanic languages to this country and we have many words that are very similar to the German equivalent. An example is Mutter, meaning Mother, and Haus, meaning House.


After the Saxons came the Normans. They were, incidentally the last people to successfully invade these isles. This was in 1066. They brought French. The Normans became the ruling classes and spoke French. The workers spoke Anglo-Saxon. This explains why we have differences in the names of food we eat and the animals it comes from.

The French for a bull is Boeuf from which comes Beef. But in the field it is called a Bull, cow or in the plural, cattle.


The French for a sheep is Mouton, from which comes Mutton, but in the field it’s still the old word, sheep.

The French for a calf is Veau from whence we get Veal.

You get the picture.

Then Dutch engineers were brought in to drain what is now the Fens in East Anglia and they brought words with them. The British Empire was a source of words too, especially India.

So our language is something of a hotch-potch, hence the different spellings and pronunciation.

I will add to these words in a future blog. I hope you find this useful.