Yearly Archives: 2013

Jan 28th 2013

Monday Mistake: Let’s All Get On the Shool Bus!

What does it tell you about a city and education system when the sign for the school is spelled wrong? English grammar and spelling can often be confusing, but there is no excuse for incorrect spelling of a sign. Think of the children!

This image, literally, illustrates just how important it is to teach proper grammar and spelling in schools. Online grammar and spell checkers make it easy to fix mistakes like these before they hit the pavement.

If you are painting a sign on the road, spell check it first, ESPECIALLY if it is for an educational institution.

What is your favorite public spelling fail?

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Jan 21st 2013

Monday Mistake: The Mysteries of English Spelling

It is no secret that English spelling and pronunciation are very difficult. In fact, it’s easy to misspell “truck” with a CH – “chruck”!

For instance, why is there a K in “knife” or “knight”? One reason is that many, many years ago in the Middle Ages, the K was actually pronounced in KN words… Did you k-now that?

Same with the word “gnat” (those pesky little bugs). What is there a G at the beginning? Why is not pronounced Guh-Nat? The answer also comes from the dusty days of medieval English when it WOULD have been spoken as Guh-Nat!

When it comes to this 5th grader’s spelling test, the strange ways that we spell words in English are not obvious, and the big question is which spelling is better – the 5th grader’s or conventional English?

It isn’t this kid’s fault that modern English is made up of medieval words and spelling rules borrowed heavily from other European languages. Yet these English words still continue to evolve today.

While English can be very difficult to understand at times, and even harder to spell, it is very important to always use correct grammar and spelling.

What do you think?

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Jan 16th 2013

Wednesday word: Complement VS Compliment


Complement and compliment are two words that, despite being just one letter off and sounding nearly the same, mean entirely different things.

It is very easy to mix these two up. What’s the difference?

Compliment can be a noun meaning a polite expression of praise or admiration. It can also be a verb meaning to congratulate or praise someone for something.

You can receive both a compliment and compliment someone.

“I wanted to compliment you on your beautiful new shoes Mary,” said Jan.

“Thanks for the compliment, I bought them in New York,” replied Mary.

Complement is also both a noun and a verb. In its role as a noun, complement is something that brings completes or brings something to perfection, just like the word “addition”. As a verb, complement mean to add, enhance or improve something much like the word supplement.

For example, “wasabi is a complement to many sushi dishes”.

To quickly remember the difference between these two words, think of the “E” in complement as standing for EXTRA and you will never forget that means to add to or enhance something.

Remember that if you are a nice customer (or know the owner) and receive a free dessert or glass of wine at a restaurant it is “complimentary” with an “I” even if it does complete a perfect night out on the town.

Have you ever mixed these two words up? What is your secret to remembering the difference?


Jan 9th 2013

Wednesday Word: Anyway vs. Anyways

anyways vs any way

Who knew that a simple S could cause so much confusion? Where and when do we use “anyways,” and is it the same as “anyway”? We often hear “anyways” in conversations, on the news and read it online, but is it correct? NO, and here is why:

“Anyway” is an adverb meaning regardless. Simply put, “anyway” without an S is correct. Always use it without the S.

“Anyways” with the S is considered slang, and is a part of nonstandard, colloquial, or informal English. Furthermore, since “anyway” is an adverb and it is impossible for adverbs to be plural.

In newspapers or in any example of formal writing, you will almost never see the word “anyways” used. If it is used, like in this New York Times article on the New York City Council “anyways” is used to give the article a much more casual tone.

While the examples below SOUND perfectly fine with “anyways” rather than “anyway” they are correct without the “S.”:

1. Anyway, even with all the nice parks, I think that this city is awful.

2. Whose line is it anyway?

3. Even though it costs more, let’s go with the hardwood floor anyway.

Enjoy the rest of the week,

The Ginger Team


Jan 7th 2013

Monday Mistake: Great Rats!


Great Rats!

Great RATS? No thanks! This week’s Monday Mistake.

There are many hilarious websites that display the countless contextual errors that we make when texting on our cell phones. These mistakes occur when we are on the run using our tiny touch screen devices in a casual SMS, email or Facebook chat.

What happens when you take away the E from RATES? You got it, you get RATS; “GREAT RATS” if you are staying at the Cadillac Motel! Not the best thing to have your potential customers see as they drive by your motel, is it?

Vowels are the building blocks of the English language. When vowels are missing from words, the context can completely change. Adding an E to HAT gives you the word HEAT or HATE; likewise, MAT can be MEAT or MATE depending on the where the E is added.

Another lesson we can learn from this incident is that we need to step back from our work to properly examine it. By taking the E out of RATES, they also took the E out of EXCELLENCE, making their motel look shabby and unprofessional!

The person who made this sign made a significant error. This sign literally illustrates the need to always spell check our writing!

Have a great week,

The Ginger Team

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Jan 2nd 2013

Wednesday word: Affect vs. Effect

Affect and Effect are two of the most confusing words in the English language. How and when to properly use them in writing is a challenge for even veteran writers. Judging by the sheer number of posts online that offer great advice on this subject, people are frequently turning to the internet to find a solution to this grammatical dilemma.

Affect with an A is usually a verb that means “to influence”. For example: “The caffeine AFFECTS his energy levels”.

Effect with an E is usually a noun which means “result.” For example: “Caffeine has many side EFFECTS, such as insomnia and dehydration”.

Remember: one thing AFFECTS another thing, thus producing an EFFECT.

As with most concepts in the English language, there is one major exception, Although this usually is restricted to the world of Psychology.
In this case, Affect is a noun meaning “feeling” or “emotion.” For example: “the new patient had a negative AFFECT.”

We hope this tip will affect you!

The Ginger Team

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