There are so many oddities in the English language that I could write a whole blog just about them, but how boring would that be? Instead, here is installment two, and I may do another from time to time.
The rule that I have never in my life heard of about abbreviations is this: that if the last letter of the abbreviation matches the last letter of the entire word, no punctuation is used.
That makes it Dr Weasel, not Dr. Weasel.
What??? What do you mean there is no dot after abbreviating the word “doctor?” Not only does my spell check hate Dr with no dot, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done that way. Maybe it’s done that way all over creation and I’ve just never noticed, but this rule shocked the hell out of me.
To be clear, the other side of the coin is that if our fine Mr. Weasel is a professor, then he is Prof. Weasel rather than Prof Weasel, as “f” is not the final letter in “professor.”
Articles in Front of Nations
It’s The United States, and it’s The Netherlands. That’s it. Before no other country does one put a “the.” It’s not The Canada, or The Luxembourg. If one is travelling to Strongbadia, one can assume one is not travelling to The Strongbadia. (Home of Trogdor, the burninator.)
“I” before “E” except after “C,”
–unless it is one of this humongous fucking list of exceptions. Honestly, there shouldn’t even be a rule.
Ok, I just made it to the “c’s” and then I got tired. One can find a giant list of exceptions here: Exceptions
I’ll leave you today with a few often misused words in the English language:
Aisle- a small passageway
Isle- a small island
All together- refers to a group. “All together, the Johnsons were not fond of rabid wombats.
Altogether- entirely. “Rabid wombats are altogether distasteful.”
Palate- roof of the mouth, taste.
Pallet- a low, movable platform.
Palette- a range of colors, a board to hold paint.
Cannon- a large, mounted gun.
Canon- a rule or commandment.
Team- a group that is on the same side, like a team for a sports game.
Teem- a swarm.
My team of wombat hunters is heading to the haunted forest because we heard it is teeming with rabid wombats.
As always, I remind you that I am not a grammar queen. There may be mistakes in this very post! Until next time, I dare you to try getting away with writing Dr without the dot! There will be grammar-Nazi nerdrage, guaranteed!
Actually, Mr. is American. Mr is British. But it may vary depending on a given publication’s stylesheet, as punctuation tends to.
When it comes to “the”, afaik, it’s always ‘the’ in front of country names that contain a common noun: not only in the case of the USA, but the United Kingdom of B & NI, the Republic of Kongo or Poland, the Czech Republic. The Netherlands is plural and contains “lands” in the name, I’m not sure which is more important here, but there you go.
In the plurals of words ending with “cy” the order is obviously different than in cases of “ei” occuring in the middle of the word, and when e and i come from different syllables and are both audibly heard, obviously “i before e” is not a rule, but rather a mnemonic device to help with spelling in cases of confusion.
It’s interesting to hear these seem oddities to native speakers, because students of English as a second language have numerous problems with English but these are not it 😉
Wow, I’ve never come across that punctuation rule. I’m just going to have to keep doing it incorrectly, because Dr looks wrong to me.
It looks wrong to me too!
I love grammar and never realised the thing with the dot and the abbreviations. So this is why we are not Mrs. Smith and Mr. Jones. Aha.
Lovely Daughter #2 often complains about i before e.
Like the sunset in The Canada.
That I before E rule shouldn’t even be a rule, it’s so crazy!
When I’m not writing for a living, I teach English to speakers of other languages (so many of us writers have other jobs) and am endlessly fascinated by the ins and outs of English. As fascinating as it is though, it can at times be “pretty ugly”. 🙂
I hear that English is a tough language to learn because of all the exceptions. I don’t envy you your job!
I’m a certified Teacher of English and have been teaching privately for close to 10 years. It is definitely a skill.I enjoy the work. Nothing so wonderful as when the light of understanding goes on for a student. The great secret is that students show us how to teach.