Posts filed under ‘Language and grammar tips’

Adding Groove to Grammar

How to get people under 25 who grew up with texting and email to consider grammar important? Or even listen to the rules? Sing them to a popular song of course!  In this instance maybe Weird Al Yankovic isn’t so weird but just a little bit brilliant?





July 29, 2014 at 8:43 am Leave a comment

Pause, punctuate!


Is it the age of SMS? Could it be the urgency with which we comunicate? Or perhaps it’s the annonymity of online chat that encourages the younger generation to be so relaaxed with punctuation, whatever the reason there is a need to pause and think about punctuation and its importance for clear communication. But don’t just take my word for it, I was prompted to post this after reading a good, clear article on punctuation posted by English professor Janis Bell from the USA. Now I know we have our own versions of english but on punctuation we (mostly) agree, so take a read of her article and prosper!

Punctuation article




November 19, 2013 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

There, their, they’re!

Now I know the title of this post sounds like an old aunt reassuring a teenager after a break-up, “there, there there, dear it will all be OK” and sadly many people might even read it that way but our fabulously tricky english language has actually given us three words that sound exactly the same but mean very different things. The problem is, it seems that the difference is no longer taught at school as anywhere between 50-100% of students I teach that come straight from their (yes, their, not they’re or there) final year of school do NOT seem to know when to use which. So apologies if I am preaching to the converted here but I just had to add a few tips to my blog in case it can help even 1 more person get it right.

Here and There 

You should use there when you are refering to a physical or abstract place.

He is over there./  I will meet you there. / The cafe is there. / There is the dog.

A ‘there’ can often be replaced with a here and it will still makes sense

They are – They’re

They’re is a contraction for they are. The a is replaced by the apostrophe and the sentence should make sense if you say it out loud as they are .

They’re going to be here any minute. / They’re both coming for dinner. / They’re here!

Be possessive with their

A trick I always use is that their has an i in it so it is possessive. It is the only their with an i, which helps! Their is commonly followed by a noun and can usually be replaced with our and still work.

Their hats are on./ It is their turn to set the table. / Where are their shoes?

And now for the ultimate challenge – to wrangle all three into a meaningful sentence…..

“There is no chance they’re going to be allowed to use their ignorance of spelling to incorrectly use their, they’re and there in my class any more.”

Now for the next challenge: to, two and too!

February 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment


December 2017
« Nov    

Posts by Month

Posts by Category