I can't believe this is my 25th Spoonful of Grammar!
If you missed one along the way, don't fret. Below is a listing of Spoonfuls #1-24, with hints about what each one covers. Click on a blue title, and you'll be linked to the corresponding Spoonful.
To allow everyone a chance to catch up, A Spoonful of Grammar will take a hiatus until after Labor Day. But I always welcome your comments on my existing posts and suggestions for future ones.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing my blog!
Spoonful #1: WELCOME!
Welcome to A Spoonful of Grammar. This includes a fun, snappy refrain.
Spoonful #2: VERBS
Action verbs vs. forms of "To Be." Plus, a comment on passive vs active sentences.
Learning how to identify the subject of a sentence
Spoonful #4: SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
Hear ye, ye, calling all SAT students: this is one of grammar's most important rules!
Spoonful #5: INDEFINITE PRONOUNS
A list of indefinite pronouns, split between singular and plural forms
Spoonful #6: USING INDEFINITE PRONOUNS
Sentences using indefinite pronouns. Useful for everybody.
Spoonful #7: SEMICOLONS SPEAK OUT
You'll never get semicolons confused with colons again! I promise.
Spoonful #8: COLONS TAKE A STAND
Formal vs. informal colon usage. Here's a hint: this is the formal way, but the informal way is used frequently in this post.
Spoonful #9:MEET THE FANBOYS
Comma Rule #1: When FANBOYS stand between two independent clauses
Spoonful #10: FANBOYS STRIKE AGAIN
Comma Rule #2: When FANBOYS stand between an independent clause and a fragment
Spoonful #11: AND TAKES CENTER STAGE
Comma Rule #3: Using commas to separate items in a series
Spoonful #12: THREE CHEERS FOR PARALLELISM
This is my favorite grammar rule. Using parallelism will make your writing and speeches sing! The SAT likes this rule, too.
Spoonful #13: AND DESERVES A BREAK
Comma Rule#4: When multiple adjectives describe the same noun
Spoonful #14: COMMA, COMMA, DASH, DASH
Comma Rule #5: Comma usage with appositive phrases. Learn how to identify an appositive phrase, and dare to use one yourself.
Spoonful #15: DON'T EAT GRANDMA
Comma Rule #6: Comma usage with direct addresses. Avoid tragedy and embarrassment by learning this rule!
Spoonful #16: HE SAID, SHE SAID
Comma Rule #7: when dialogue tags come first. This is the first of a three-post series on dialogue tags, helpful for writers of all ages.
Spoonful #17: TAG, YOU'RE IT!
Comma Rule #8: when dialogue tags come last
Spoonful #18: "SAY WHAT?" FINALE
Comma Rule #9: when dialogue tags appear in the middle
Spoonful #19: COLLECTIVE CONFUSION
Learn when to treat collective nouns as singular or plural.
Spoonful #20: HOMOPHONE FUN
The trickiest homophones concern contractions, like its vs. it's.
Spoonful #21: THE GREEK ROOT PHON
12 words rooted in SOUND, plus a fun fact.
Spoonful #22: ALL ABOUT TIME
The Greek root CHRON - a great post for summerTIME.
Spoonful #23: THE MOST HELPFUL LATIN ROOTS
Let's hear it for BENE (good) and MAL (bad). They have my vote!
Spoonful #24: BON APPETIT!
The French influence behind many of our favorite food words.
I wish you all a delightfully sweet summer break.
Laura Fineberg Cooper
How to contact me:
My website: laurafcooper.com
Facebook: Laura Fineberg Cooper
It should come as no surprise that many words derived (or borrowed) from the French concern good food!
So grab a fresh, flaky croissant and pay homage with me.
Next up is my favorite dessert: a warm chocolate soufflé. (You may be interested in learning that "chocolate" hails from Spain, courtesy of Hernan Cortes and his Aztec discovery.)
After watching all these cooking shows, you might be tempted to add alcohol to a hot pan and watch it flambé. But here's a tip: sautés are easier and usually don't require a backup fire extinguisher.
Have you noticed how many cafés and bistros there are in the U.S.? They serve the best warm, crusty baguettes. Ironically, we went to a bistro on Saturday night, and yes, the baguettes were wonderful.
I'm sure many of you have attended events that served food à la carte instead of serving pre-selected menus. Regardless of which way the main course was presented, I hope your hosts passed around tasty hors d'oeuvres and offered vinaigrette dressing for the salad.
Do you prefer a picnic? Or going out to a restaurant? Either way, please invite me along.
Bon appétit!! Make sure you check in next Sunday for a review of Spoonfuls #1-#24 (with helpful links).
Laura Fineberg Cooper
Latin roots abound in the English language. But if you had to choose the two most helpful roots, which would they be? IN, AN, ANA, ANTI, and A are all quite popular, because if you stick them in front of a bunch of words, they create the opposite. AUSPICIOUS becomes INAUSPICIOUS; MORAL becomes AMORAL; and WAR becomes ANTIWAR. But does that tell you what the words mean? NOT unless you know the meaning of the underlying words! My vote for the two most helpful roots goes to BENE (good) and MAL (bad). If a word starts with either of them, you'll have a mighty good clue as to the word's definition.
Here are some examples:
BENEFIT: As a noun, this means a party held to raise money for a group (a very good thing). As a verb, it means to have a good outcome.
BENEFACTOR: the generous supporter of an organization or individual
BENEVOLENT: good, kindly, well meaning
BENEFICENT: doing good or resulting in good
MALODOROUS: "bad odor" means really, really smelly
MALADY: really bad illness
MALADROIT: "bad fingers" means clumsy
MALEVOLENT: the baddest of the bad
Of the bunch, MALADROIT is only one that requires some interpretation. Learning these roots is a great way to decode unknown words...like the ones guaranteed to show up on the SSAT, ACT, and SAT. One more thing: has anyone seen the movie MALEFICENT? Disney clearly had fun coming up with that name.
I hope you found this spoonful useful...and easy to swallow too.
Laura Fineberg Cooper
The Greek Titan Chronos is known as the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth), the youngest of the 12 Titans, the one who separated Heaven from Earth, and the one who ate his godly offspring. On top of all that, his name literally means TIME in Ancient Greek. The Greek root CHRON, old as it is, forms the basis of some interesting time-oriented words still used today.
CHRONOLOGY - a record of events or dates in order of occurrence
(Teachers often ask students to list historical facts in chronological order.)
CHRONIC - constant, acute
(Did you know that millions of people suffer from chronic bronchitis?)
ANACHRONISM - hails from a previous time period
(In literature, a common anachronism is dropping a character into a different time period.)
CHRONICLE - written account of a series of events, usually nonfiction
(Newspapers chronicle each day's most important events on their front pages. This is known as front page news!)
SYNCHRONIZE - cause to occur at the same time or rate
(Don't you just LOVE to watch synchronized swimming?)
CHRONOMETER - a marine instrument for measuring time
(The chronometer manages to keep accurate time despite weather and motion fluctuations.)
Now it's TIME to enjoy the beach, vacation with family, relax in your backyard, host a cookout, read, write, volunteer, go to camp, walk the dog, hit the outlets, run a 5K, or whatever makes your heart sing. Enjoy!
Laura Fineberg Cooper
Much of our language is derived from Greek and Latin roots, and the more roots you learn, the easier it will be to decode unknown words. In honor of the last spoonful about HOMOPHONES, this highlights ten words derived from the Greek root PHON (sound).
HOMOPHONE = HOMO (same)
Definition: words that sound the same but typically have different meanings and spellings
TELEPHONE = TELE (far, far away, distance)
Definition: a device that transmits sound over a distance
SYMPHONY = SYM or SYN (together).
Definition: harmonious musical composition for a full orchestra
PHONICS = ICS (a body of facts, knowledge, or principles)
Definition: a way to teach reading that breaks words into letter sounds
XYLOPHONE = XYLO (wood)
Definition: wooden bars struck by mallets to produce sound
EUPHONIUM = EU (good, well); EUPHONOS (sweet-voiced)
Definition: like a tuba with a tenor voice
MICROPHONE = MICRO (small, tiny)
Definition: small device that amplifies voices or other sounds
CACOPHONY = KAK (bad)
Definition: = harsh, discordant mixture of sounds
MEGAPHONE = MEGA (very large)
Definition: = large device that makes loud voices even louder
PHONOGRAPH= GRAPH or GRAPHY (to write)
Definition: = machine that can convert records to sound
FUN FACT: Both the SAXOPHONE and SOUSAPHONE are named after their creators. Belgian inventor and musician Adolphe Sax might not be a household name, but I'm sure many of you are familiar with American composer/conductor John Philip Sousa and his military marches!
Happy Summer! I hope you enjoyed this spoonful.
Laura Fineberg Cooper