HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (7)

Please note the difference between HOMOPHONES and HOMOGRAPHS:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Fo example, . . .

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book – something we read and book – to schedule something.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to further your understanding of the homophone word/s.

pexels-photo.jpgPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. write/right/rite

  • right (adj.) means correct: The student gave the right answer to the math question.
  • write (v.) is to make letters: Please write you name at the top of the page.
  • rite (n) means a religious social custom or solemn ceremony or act: The religious rites were strictly followed.

2. road/rode/rod

  • road (n.) is a driving surface: She had difficulties keeping her car on the slippery road.
  • rode (v.) is past tense of ride: We rode the bus for thirty minutes to get across town.
  • rod (n) is a thin straight bar of wood or metal: The walls were reinforced with steel rods.

 3. sail/sale

  • sail (v.) is to travel in a boat: We plan to sail across the bay.
  • sale (n.) is a deal or transaction: The store had a special sale on blue jeans.

 4. scene/seen

  • scene (n.) is the place where an event occurs: A criminal sometimes returns to the scene of the crime.
  • seen (v.) is past participle of see: I’ve never seen so many flowers!

 5. soar/sore

  • soar (v.) is to fly: An eagle can soar higher than many other birds.
  • sore (adj.) means painful: My sprained knee is very sore.

 6. sole/soul

  • sole (adj.) means only: My dad was the sole survivor of the crash.
  • sole (n.) is the bottom part of a foot or shoe: There’s a hole in the sole of my old boot.
  • soul (n.) is the spiritual part, or character, of a person: Those old hymns always comfort my soul.

7. tail/tale

  • tail (n.) is the rear part of an animal’s body: My dog wags its tail when he’s happy.
  • tale (n.) is a story: One popular fairy tale is about a giant, a beanstalk and a boy named Jack.

8. threw/through

  • threw (v.) is the past tense of throw: The kids threw the stones into the stream.
  • through (prep.) means movement from one side to, or past, the other side: Let’s walk all the way through the dark tunnel together.

9. to/too/two

  • to (prep.) means toward: We drove to the theatre.
  • too (adv.) means also: Jimmy likes pizza, too.
  • two (n.) is a symbol for 1 plus 1: Susan spun a two in the board game.

10. waist/waste

  • waist (n.) is the middle of the body: The belt was too large for her small waist.
  • waste (n.) is the discarded material: The factory’s waste products were dumped in the landfill.

11. weak/week/wick

  • weak (adj.) means not strong: The young boy was too weak to lift the box of books.
  • week (n.) is a seven-day period: The worker went on vacation for one week.
  • wick (n) is a piece of string in the centre of a candle.

 12. who’s/whose

  • who’s (contr.) is short for who is or who has: Who’s been drinking my soda?
  • whose (pron.) is the possessive form of who: Does anyone know whose coat is this one?

13. your/your’re

  • your (pron.) is the possessive form of you: It’s your turn to go first.
  • you’re (contr.) is the short form of you are: You’re the person I want to hire.

14. faint/feint

  • faint means temporarily losing consciousness and the adjective . . .
  • faint (adj) means lacking in brightness: Tad’s writing is too faint.
  • A feint is a false attack made to distract the opponent from an even more fatal blow: It was just a brief feint on the opponent’s face.

15. hole/whole/hall

  • A hole is an empty place or opening: A hole opened up in the backyard.
  • Whole means complete or entire: I ate the whole pie.
  • hall (n) is the room or space used for meetings, concerts or other events.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

writing-notes-idea-conference.jpgGood luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (6)

Please note the difference between HOMOPHONES and HOMONYMS:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings.

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone, words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • book           – something we read and . . .
  • book           – to schedule something.
  • Spring        – the season and . . .
  • spring         – to jump up.

pexels-photo-416322.jpegTo help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. than/then

  • Use than for comparisons; eg: Tad is much taller than his brother.
  • Use then to indicate passage of time, or when; eg: We went to the park in the morning, and then we left to pick up lunch.

2. to/too/two

  • To can be a preposition; eg: We are going to the park.
  • Too is an adverb that can mean excessively (too much) when it precedes an adjective or adverb; eg: I ate too much ice cream for dessert.
  • Too is a synonym for also; eg: I ate too much ice cream for dessert, too.
  • Two is a number; eg: Shona ate two pieces of pie.

3. you’re/ your

  • You’re is a contraction for you are; eg: You’re going to absolutely love this new recipe.
  • Your is a pronoun; eg: Please bring your books to class with you tomorrow.

4. fair/fare

  • fair (adj.) means just, proper under the rules, or ample; eg: The judge made a fair decision.
  • fare (n.) means money paid to ride in a bus, taxi or other vehicle; eg: He paid his fare when he got on the bus. OR
  • Used as a verb, fare means to get by, perform; eg: She fared well on the job interview.

5. flew/flu/flue

  • flew (v.) past tense of fly; eg: The bird flew past my window.
  • flu (n.) short for influenza; eg: Sam missed three days of work because he had the flu.
  • flue (n.) passage for smoke in a chimney; eg: The chimney flue needs to be cleaned regularly.

6. heal/heel/he’ll

  • heal means to make healthy; eg: Extra rest and fluids will help to heal your sickness.
  • heel is the back part of the foot; eg. Place your heel firmly into the boot.
  • he’ll (contr.) he will; eg: He’ll be happy when he comes.

 7. lone/loan

  • A loan is money lent; eg: The car loan was for $5,000.
  • Used as a verb, loan means to lend something; eg: Can you please loan me enough money for lunch?
  • lone means single, only; eg: The truck driver was the lone customer at the all-night diner.

8. male/mail

  • mail are items sent in the postal system; eg: I received six letters today in the mail.

Used as a verb, mail means to send something by mail or e-mail; eg: She will mail her car payment today.

  • male (n.) a boy or man; eg: There were ten male passengers on the train.

Used as an adjective, male means related to a man or boy; eg: I heard a male voice on the telephone.

 9. main/mane

  • main (adj.) means most important; eg:The speaker’s main point was that we can all fight poverty.
  • mane (n.) is the long hair on the neck of an animal; eg: Shona hung on to the horse’s mane when it started galloping.

10. meat/meet

  • meat is edible flesh from an animal; eg: We eat meat nearly every night for dinner.
  • meet is to get together; eg: Let’s meet for coffee tomorrow morning.

Used as a noun, meet is a sports competition; eg: Athletes from ten schools will compete at the track meet.

 11. pail/pale

  • A pail is a bucket; eg: That pail holds five gallons of paint.
  • Being pale means lacking color; eg: The sick child’s face was very pale.

 12. pain/pane

  • pain is physical distress; eg: Her back pain prevented her from bending over.
  • pane is section of a window; eg: The window pane was covered with frost.

13. passed/past

  • passed is the past tense of pass; eg: The teenager finally passed his driving test.
  • past means later, or in a time gone by; eg: Her financial worries are now all in the past.

14. patience/patients

  •  patience is the ability to wait; eg: The kindergarten teacher’s patience is remarkable.
  • patients are people under the care of a doctor; eg: Five patients were waiting to see the doctor.

 15. raise/raze

  • To raise is to build up; eg: Let’s raise the sign a bit higher so it can be read more easily.
  • To raze is to tear down; eg: The city plans to raze the vacant building.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (5)

Please note the difference:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings, eg:

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • club            – somewhere to dance and . . .
  • club            – large, heavy object that people get hit with.
  • rock           – a type of music and . . .
  • rock            – made of stone.

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book is something we read and book is to schedule something.

pexels-photo.jpgTo help you improve spelling skills for each word listed below, I have included the most homophone common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

  1. which/witch/wich

  • Use which as a pronoun when referring to things or animals.
  • Use witch to mean a scary or nasty person.
  • Wich is to do with minerals, salt works; a salt producing town.

Using the correct use of which/witch/wich, fill in the sentences:

  1. Tad wore his favorite brown shoes, . . . he received as a birthday gift.
  2. The Halloween . . . decorations must finally come down off of the wall!

2. principle/principal

  • Use principle as a noun meaning a basic truth or law.
  • Use principal as a noun meaning the head of a school or organization, or a sum of money.

 Using the correct use of principle/principal, fill in the sentences:

  1. Many important life . . . are learned in kindergarten.
  2. The . . . is a well-respected member of the community.

3. stationary/stationery

  • Stationary means unmoving.
  • Stationery refers to writing materials, eg: pens, books, pencils, etc

Using the correct use of stationary/stationery, fill in the sentences:

  1. The revolving door remained . . . because Shona was pushing on it the wrong way.
  2. Tad printed his résumé on his best . . . .

4. rain/reign/rein

  • rain (n.) precipitation; (v.) drizzle, shower.
  • reign (n.) time in power; (v.) to rule.
  • rein (n.) a strap to control an animal.

 Using the correct use of rain/reign/rein, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . . poured down all day.
  2. The king’s . . . was very brief.
  3. Pull on the . . . when you want the horse to stop.

5. stair/stare

  • stair (n.) step.
  • stare (v.) to look intently in one place.

Using the correct use of stair/stare, fill in the sentences:

  1. The bottom . . . is broken, so please be careful when you go down.
  2. I couldn’t help but . . . at the man as he came down to us.

6. main/mane

  • main (adj.) most important.
  • mane (n.) long hair on the neck of an animal.

 Using the correct use of main/mane, fill in the sentences:

  1. The speaker’s . . . point was that we can all fight poverty.
  2. The little girl hung on to the horse’s . . . when it started galloping.

7. stake/steak

  • stake (n.) a thin pointed stick or post that is driven into the ground; mark off.
  • steak (n.) a piece of meat or fish.

 Using the correct use of stake/steak, fill in the sentences:

  1. Since we were missing a . . . , we couldn’t finish putting up the tent.
  2. He ordered a sirloin . . . and baked potato.

8. steal/steel

  • steal (v.) to take something without permission.
  • steel (n.) a strong metal made of iron and carbon.

 Using the correct use of steal/steel, fill in the sentences:

  1. It is not good to . . . money from anyone.
  2. Many buildings are constructed with . . . frames.

 9. imminent/eminent/immanent

  • imminent is something likely to happen.
  • Eminent can refer to a person of high rank or repute or anything that noticeably pokes out like “an eminent nose.”
  • immanent is an inherent or inborn; ingrained, built-in.

 Using the correct use of imminent/eminent/immanent, fill in the sentences:

  1. The rainy season is . . .
  2. Kofi Annan was an . . . person in resolving many conflicts.
  3. The protection of human rights is . . . to many governments around the world.

10. exercise/exorcise

  • Exercise is a physical activity; to do physical activity.
  • Exorcise is to drive out an evil spirit

 Using the correct use of exercise/exorcise, fill in the sentences:

  1. They . . . the troublesome spirit.
  2. Ted took the . . . seriously.

11. insolate/insulate

  • Insolate refers to an exposure to the sun’s rays.
  • Insulate involves using various materials to prevent the leakage of heat.
  • NOTICE: Insolate to get warm and insulate to stay warm!

Using the correct use of insolate/insulate, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . . paper may turn red when exposed to the sun.
  2. We always . . . and draught proof our caravan before winter begins.

 12. tortuous/torturous

  • tortuous comes from the Latin tortu meaning full of twists and turns.
  • torturous pertaining to the cause or experience of extreme pain.

 Using the correct use of tortuous/torture, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peal found the route remote and . . . .
  2. We had a . . . five days of boot camp.

13. foreword/forward

  • Foreword is an introduction to a book.
  • Forward is onwards, ahead.

 Using the correct use of foreword/forward, fill in the sentences:

  1. Dr Giddings gave a . . to my book.
  2. It’s will be raining next week, so the baseball game will be moved . . .

14. flaunt/flout

  • Flaunt is to display ostentatiously; show off.
  • Flout is to disregard a rule.

 Using the correct use of flaunt/flout, fill in the sentences:

    1. The young man constantly . . . his riches.
    2. The advertising code is being openly . . ..

15. flounder/founder

  • Flounder is to move clumsily; to have difficulty doing something.
  • Founder is to fail; a person who establishes.

Using the correct use of flounder/founder, fill in the sentences:

  1. The soldiers . . .  about in the mud.
  2. He is the . . . of a popular website.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) which b) witch #2. a) principles b) principal #3. a) stationary   b) stationery #4. a) rain b) reign c) reins; #5 a) stair b) stare; #6 a) main b) mane; #7 a)stake b) steak #8 a) steal b) steel #9 a) imminent   b) eminent c) immament  #10 a) exorcise b) exercise  #11 a) insolate(d) b) insulate  #12 a) tortuous  b) torturous  #13 a) foreword b) forward   #14 a) flaunted  b) flouted  #15 a) floundered b) founder

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (4)

HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.

In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even spellchecker will not flag even one of them.

Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?

I herd the reign ruined there picnic.

 One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones.

A large percentage of spelling errors at High School are actually homophone usage errors.

Written correctly, the sentence should, of course, read:

 I heard the rain ruined their picnic.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s. 

pexels-photo-416322.jpegPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. defuse/diffuse

  • Diffuse is to spread over a wide area; lacking clarity
  • Defuse is to make a situation less tense

Using the correct use of defuse/diffuse, fill in the sentences:

  1. Mr Jones . . . the prevailing tension among the villagers.
  2. The . . . community centred around the church.

2. desert/dessert

  • Desert is a waterless, empty area; to abandon someone.
  • Dessert is the sweet course of a meal.

 Using the correct use of desert/dessert, fill in the sentences:

  1. How did that car get over the Egyptian . . . .
  2. They enjoyed their . . .  after the main meal.

3. discreet/discrete

  • Discreet means being careful not to attract attention.
  • Discrete means separate and distinct.

Using the correct use of discreet/discrete, fill in the sentences:

  1. We made some . . . inquiries about the issue.
  2. Speech sounds are produced as a continuous sound signal rather than . . . units.

 4. disinterested/uninterested

  • Disinterested means impartial; unbiased, uninvolved.
  • Uninterested means bored or not wanting to be involved with something:

Using the correct use of disinterested/uninterested, fill in the sentences:

  1. A panel of . . . judges who had never met the contestants before judged the singing contest.
  2. Marwa was . . . in attending Hilda’s singing class.

5. die/dye

  • Die means to pass away; dying could also mean you are eager for something.
  • Dye (n.) coloring.

 Using the correct use of die/dye, fill in the sentences:

  1. The animal will . . . without proper nourishment.
  2. We used four kinds of . . . to color our Easter eggs.

6. does/dose

  • Does is a form of do.
  • Dose is quantity of medicine.

Using the correct use of does/dose, fill in the sentences:

  1. It . .  no good to complain.
  2. Take a . . . of aspirin for your headache.

7. here/hear

  • Use here as an adverb to indicate location.
  • Use hear as a verb to indicate listening.

 Using the correct use of hear/here, fill in the sentences:

  1. Please come back . . . and put your shoes away!
  2. Can you . . . the birds’ beautiful singing outside?

8. lie/lay

  • Use lie to indicate the act of reclining:
  • Use lay to indicate the placement of something:

Lay is a transitive verb, which means it always needs an object! Something is always being put down; lie, on the other hand, will never have an object because it is an intransitive verb.

Hint:

  • to lie: lie(s), lay, lain, lying
  • to lay: lay(s), laid, laid, laying

Using the correct use of lie/lay, fill in the sentences:

  1. I am tired just watching the dog . .  in the warm sunlight.
  2. Please . . . the paper on the table.

9. emigrate/immigrate

  • Emigrate means to move away from a city or country to live somewhere else.
  • Immigrate means to move into a country from somewhere else.

Using the correct use of emigrate/immigrate, fill in the sentences:

  1. Pearl’s grandfather . . .  from Canada sixty years ago.
  2. Tad’s sister . . . to Ireland in 2004.

 10. e.g./i.e.

These two Latin abbreviations are often mixed up, but e.g. means “for example,” while i.e. means “that is.”

11. empathy/sympathy

  • Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective or feelings.
  • Sympathy is a feeling of sorrow for someone else’s suffering.
  • A sympathizer is someone who agrees with a particular ideal or cause.

 Using the correct use of empathy/sympathy, fill in the sentences:

  1. My . . . for Liz is fairly limited.
  2. She has a higher level of . . . in helping others.

 12. loose/lose/lost

  • Loose is usually an adjective:
  • Lose is always a verb. It means to misplace something or to be unvictorious in a game or contest.
  • Lost is the past tense of lose.

Using the correct use of loose/lose/lost, fill in the sentences:

  1. Nancy was careful not to . . . her ticket.
  2. Peter discovered that the cows were . . . .

13. it’s/its

  • It’s is the contraction for it is.
  • Its is the possessive form (“possessive” means belongs to) of it.

 Using the correct use of it’s/its, fill in the sentences:

  1. The cat is licking . . . paws.
  2. . . . raining today, so the baseball game will be cancelled.

14. weather/whether

  • Use weather when referring to the state of the atmosphere:
  • Use whether as a conjunction to introduce choices:

 Using the correct use of weather/whether fill in the sentences:

  1. The constantly changing springtime . . . is driving us crazy.
  2. Please tell us . . . you would prefer steak or salmon for dinner.

NB: There is no such word as wheather!

15. there/their/they’re

  • their (pron.) belong to them;
  • there (adv.) at that place;
  • they’re is the contraction for they are.

 Using the correct use of there/their/they’re, fill in the sentences:

  1. . . . house is always clean and tidy.
  2. Please put the groceries over . . . .
  3. . . . going to Paris for vacation.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) defused b) diffuse; #2. a) desert b) dessert #3. a) discreet b) discrete #4. a) disinterested b) uninterested; #5 a) die b) dye; #6 a) does b) dose  #7 a) here b) hear   #8 a) lie b) lay   #9 a) emigrated  b) immigrated   #11 a) sympathy b) empathy  #12 a) lose   b) lose/lost  #13 a) its   b) It’s   #14 a) weather   b) whether   #15 a) Their b) there c) They’re

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (3)

Please note the difference:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings. For example,

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone, words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • book           – something we read and . . .
  • book           – to schedule something.
  • Spring        – the season and . . .
  • spring         – to jump up.
  • club            – somewhere to dance and . . .
  • club            – large, heavy object that people get hit with.
  • fine             – money you owe for bring things back late and . . .
  • fine             – feeling okay.
  • rock           – a type of music and . . .
  • rock            – made of stone.

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book – something we read and book – to schedule something

To help you improve spelling skills for each word listed below, I have included the most Homophone common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

pexels-photo.jpgPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. cite/sight/site

  • Sight is one of your five senses. As a noun, it is “the ability to see.” It is also someone or something that is seen.
  • Site means “a place where something has happened.” It can also be “a place where something is, was, or will be located.”
  • Site is also short for website.
  • Cite is a verb. It can mean “to write or say the words” of a person, book or another source. It can also mean “to mention something,” usually to support an idea or opinion.

 Using the correct use of cite/sight/site, fill in the sentences:

  1. The sunset last night was a beautiful . . . .
  2. There are some important battle . . . near Washington, DC.
  3. When you write research papers in school, for example, you . . . other sources to support your argument.

2. canvas/canvass

  • Canvas is a type of strong cloth.
  • Canvass is to seek people’s votes.

 Using the correct use of canvas/canvass, fill in the sentences:

  1. His . . . -made trainers did not last long.
  2. The MP has tried to . . . for re-election for a third term.

3. censure/censor

  • Censure is to criticize strongly.
  • Censor is to ban parts of a book or film; a person who does this.

Using the correct use of censure/censor, fill in the sentences:

  1. He was . . . (ed) for his remarks over the incident.
  2. My book was heavily . . . (ed) before its publication.

 4. climactic/climatic

  • Climactic is forming a climax.
  • Climatic is relating to climate.

 Using the correct use of climactic/climatic, fill in the sentences:

  • The film’s . . .  scenes were traumatic for the kids.
  • Under certain . . . conditions, desert locusts increase in number.

5. complacent/complaisant

  • Complacent is proud of oneself and self-satisfied.
  • Complaisant is willing to please.

 Using the correct use of complacent/complaisant, fill in the sentences:

  1. In all of this praise, however, there is a severe danger that we might become . . . .
  2. There are too many . . .  doctors signing sick notes.

6. council/counsel

  • Council is a group of people who manage or advise.
  • Counsel is to seek advice; to advise.

 Using the correct use of council/counsel, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . .  has unanimously endorsed the agreement with the government.
  2. He had to go for . . . (ing) after the tragic incident.

7. cue/queue

  • Cue is a signal for action.
  • Queue is a line of people or vehicles.

 Using the correct use of cue/queue, fill in the sentences:

  1. Pearl  hasn’t yet been given the . . .to come on stage.
  2. We found ourselves in a . . .  for petrol.

8. complement/compliment

  • Use complement when referring to something that enhances or completes.
  • Use compliment as an expression of praise.

 Using the correct use of complement/compliment, fill in the sentences:

  1. The cranberry sauce is a perfect . . . to the turkey dinner.
  2. I was pleased to have received so many . . . on my new dress.

9. curb/kerb

  • Curb is to keep something in check; a control or limit.
  • Kerb (in British English) is the stone edge of a pavement.

 Using the correct use of curb/kerb, fill in the sentences:

  1. The parents had to . . . his wayward behaviour.
  2. She fell of the . . . on her to ASDA market.

 10. currant/current

  • Currant is a dried grape.
  • Current is happening now; a flow of water, air, or electricity.

Using the correct use of currant/current, fill in the sentences:

  1. He .enjoys eating . . . fruits.
  2. Ted enjoys listening to . . . . news about the economy.

11.  cast, caste

  • cast – throw, toss or cause (light or shadow) to appear on a surface.
  • caste – social class (with some privileges).

Using the correct use of cast/caste, fill in the sentences:

  1. He . . . the book down onto the floor angrily.
  2. Those educated at private schools belong to a privileged . . . .

 12. capital/capitol

  • Capital has several meanings. It can refer to an uppercase letter, money, or a city where a seat of government is located.
  • Capitol means the building where lawmakers meet.

 Using the correct use of capital/capitol, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peter visited the cafe in the basement of the . . .  after watching a bill become a law.
  2. Basel visited Brasίlia, the . . . of Brazil.

13.  coarse/course

  • Coarse means rough, crude or harsh.
  • Course (n.) is a path or route to be taken.

 Using the correct use of coarse/course, fill in the sentences:

  1. His . . . manners were very irritating.
  2. Now that you’ve lost your job, what is the first . . . of action to be taken?

 14. choose/chose

  • Choose means to select.
  • Chose is the past tense of choose.

 Using the correct use of choose/chose, fill in the sentences:

  1. I . . . my puppy last week.
  2. I . . . that puppy in the window.

15. conscience/conscious

  • Conscience is your inner, moral guide.
  • Conscious is being aware of; alive; being alert

 Using the correct use of conscience/conscious, fill in the sentences:

  1. He had a guilty . . . about his desires.
  2. Tad became . . . . of people talking in the hall.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) sight b) site   c) cite; #2. a) canvas b) canvass #3. a) censured   b) censored #4. a) climactic  b) climatic; #5. a) complacent  b) complaisant; #6. a) council   b) counseling; #7. a) cue b) queue   #8. a) complement b) compliments   #9. a) curb   b)kerb #10. a) currant b) current   #11. a) cast b) caste  #12. a) capitol   b) capital   #13. a) coarse   b) course   #14. a) chose   b) choose   #15. a) conscience b) conscious

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (2)

HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.

In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even a spellchecker will not flag one of them.

Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?

I herd the reign ruined there picnic.

 One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones.

A large percentage of spelling errors at High School are actually homophone usage errors.

Written correctly, the sentence should, of course, read:

 I heard the rain ruined their picnic.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

blur book close up data

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1. buy/by/bye

  • Use buy when purchasing an item.
  • Use by as a preposition to indicate location.

Use bye in saying “goodbye” or when an athlete moves directly to the next round of a competition without playing.

 Using the correct use of buy/by/bye, fill in the sentences:

  1. I do need to . . . new shoes for the kids.
  2. John was given a . . . after Tad had withdrawn from the competition.

 2. bear/bare

  • Use bear when referring to the large mammal or to indicate the act of holding or supporting.
  • Use bare as an adjective indicating lack of clothing; uncovered.

 Using the correct use of bear/bare, fill in the sentences:

  1. How did that brown . . . open the security gate at the campsite?
  2. The wagon can hardly . . . the weight of the load.
  3. His . . . neck burned in the direct sunlight.

3. brake/break

  • Use brake as a verb meaning to stop or as a noun when referring to a device used to stop or slow motion:
  • Use break to indicate smashing or shattering or to take a recess OR
  • Use break as a noun to indicate a rest or pause.

 Using the correct use of brake/break, fill in the sentences:

  1. We took a water . . . after our first set of drills.
  2. The bike’s . . . failed, which is why he toppled town the hill.
  3. My back will . . . if we put one more thing in this backpack.

 4. breath/breathe

  • Breath is a noun; it’s the air that goes in and out of your lungs:
  • Breathe is a verb; it means to exhale or inhale:

 Using the correct use of breath/breathe, fill in the sentences:

  1. Chad held his . . . while Larry skateboarded down the stairs.
  2. After Shona’s spectacular landing, Holy had to remind herself to . . . again.

5. balmy/barmy

  • Balmy means pleasantly warm; soothing.
  • Barmy is being foolish, crazy.

 Using the correct use of balmy/barmy, fill in the sentences:

  1. I thought I was going . . . at first.
  2. We always enjoy the . . . days of late summer in Heysham.

6. bated/baited

  • Bated means in great suspense, very anxiously or excitedly
  • A bait is food attached or inserted as a decoy to lure

Using the correct use of bated/baited, fill in the sentences:

  1. The fish let go of the . . . .
  2. He waited for a reply to his offer with . . . breath.

7. bazaar/bizarre

  • Bazzar is a Middle Eastern market; a fundraising sale of goods
  • Bizarre means strange or unusual

 Using the correct use of bazaar/bizarre, fill in the sentences:

  1. They went to the Turkish bazaar to buy items.
  2. We found ourselves in a . . . situation.

8. berth/birth

  • Berth is a bunk in a ship, train, etc.
  • Birth is the emergence of a baby from the womb.

 Using the correct use of berth/birth, fill in the sentences:

  1. I will sleep in the upper . . . .
  2. The . . . of his son was a turning point.

9. breach/breech

  • Breach is to break through, or break a rule; a gap
  • Breech is the back part of a gun barrel; in birth, feet coming out first

 Using the correct use of breach/breech, fill in the sentences:

  1. The way he acted was a . . . of confidence on Sarah’s trust.
  2. She has had a . . . birth of her first born son.

 10. broach/brooch

  • Broach to raise a difficult subject for discussion; pierce
  • Brooch is a piece of jewellery

 Using the correct use of broach/brooch, fill in the sentences:

  1. He . . . the topic he had been avoiding all evening.
  2. Ted enjoys wearing an emerald . . . .

11. beside/besides

  • Beside means next to.
  • Besides means in addition.

Using the correct use of beside/besides, fill in the sentences:

  1. He sat . . . me.
  2. I love ice cream . . . chocolate.

12. capital/capitol

  • Capital has several meanings. It can refer to an uppercase letter, money, or a city where a seat of government is located.
  • Capitol means the building where lawmakers meet.

 Using the correct use of capital/capitol, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peter visited the cafe in the basement of the . . . after watching a bill become a law.
  2. Basel visited Brasίlia, the . . . of Brazil.

13. coarse/course

  • Coarse means rough, crude or harsh;
  • Course (n.) a path or route to be taken;

 Using the correct use of coarse/course, fill in the sentences:

  1. His . . . manners were very irritating.
  2. Now that you’ve lost your job, what is the first . . . of action to be taken?

14. choose/chose

  • Choose means to select.
  • Chose is the past tense of choose.

 Using the correct use of choose/chose, fill in the sentences:

  1. I . . . my puppy last week.
  2. I . . . that puppy in the window.

15. conscience/conscious

  • Conscience is your inner, moral guide.
  • Conscious is being aware of; alive; being alert.

 Using the correct use of conscience/conscious, fill in the sentences:

  1. He had a guilty . . . about his desires.
  2. Tad became . . . . of people talking in the hall.

pexels-photo-416322.jpegSo, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) buy   b) bye; #2. a) bear b) bear c) bare #3. a) break   b) brake c) break #4. a) breath     b) breathe; #5 a) barmy   b) balmy; #6 a) bait   b) bated; #7 a) bazaar b) bizarre   #8 a) berth b) birth   #9 a) breach   b) breech addition   #10 a) broached b) brooch   #11 a) complement b) compliments  #12 a) capitol   b) capital   #13 a) coarse   b) course   #14 a) chose   b) choose   #15 a) conscience b) conscious

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

EXCELLENT IDEAS ON DEALING & HANDLING POOR PERFORMANCE AT WORK

Let the remainder of 2020 be months to look forward to with love, honesty and promise. Thus, take the initiative to making it better . . .

Assuming that you are a leader/manager/coordinator or have responsibility in some capacity, when a team member’s performance, conduct or attendance falls short of expectation, it has to be addressed.

HOWEVER, before you speak to the employee in question, you must prepare yourself by gathering evidence of the problem.

Addressing poor performance is never easy, but having evidence at hand to help you to explain the problems will make the process far easier and will allow you to counter any opposition from the employee.

When addressing problems with performance, it is important not to prejudge the situation. Presenting evidence as factually based examples will help you to avoid placing your own interpretation on the issue, which in turn will help you to approach the meeting objectively, dispassionately and professionally.

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Managing Poor Performance In The Workplace

Performance management makes up a significant part of every manager’s job, and this means managers must deal with poor performance. Managers often view this as one of the less desirable responsibilities that come with the job because too often our perception of managing poor performance is clouded by thoughts of tense, uncomfortable situations that may result in finger pointing, anger and denial.

A simple guideline for managing poor performance with your staff can be summarised in three basic steps:

  • IDENTIFY what behaviour is causing the employee to underperform
  • CONFRONT their poor performance
  • REDIRECT their behaviour to improve performance

Types Of Evidence On Poor Performance

Evidence can take many forms, but not all forms of evidence have equal value:

  • Documentary evidence consists of paperwork or electronic recordings such as video or audio, for example, a timesheet or CCTV footage.
  • Physical evidence consists of actual objects or things – for example, if the employee had incorrectly assembled a set of components, this might be shown as physical evidence.
  • Testimony takes the form of statements from witnesses who have observed what the employee has done or failed to do.
  • Hearsay evidence is information that has been reported to you by a third party.

If possible, try to find documentary or physical evidence, as this is much harder to dispute. Testimony is personal, it is more likely to be subjective or open to interpretation and therefore can be more easily challenged. Use of hearsay evidence should be avoided. If a third party’s evidence cannot be presented as testimony by a witness, you must observe the employee whose behaviour is causing concern and gather additional documentary, physical or testimonial evidence.

Uses Of Evidence

If you believe that you have to put yourself and your employee through an awkward and stressful event to effectively confront poor performance, you should tear down that perception of the process and reimagine it. The simple fact is that managing poor employee performance should not be a huge event; it should be quick and relatively pain free, for both the manager and the employee, and something that’s done incrementally at the first sign of any deviation in ‘expected’ behaviour. When poor performance goes unaddressed for long periods of time, as too often it does, it can become a major problem and manifest itself into a situation that can blow out of control.

Here are some of the ways evidence can be collected against a non-performer:

1. Performance Problems

Performance problems are normally manifested by errors, and can usually be proven by producing documentary or physical evidence. Before meeting the employee, gather copies of:

  • paperwork or records illustrating what the employee did wrongly or failed to do
  • productivity or accuracy targets or standards that the employee is expected to achieve
  • any relevant performance agreements reached previously with the employee
  • records relating to the impact of the error, for example, customer complaints or evidence of additional costs incurred as a result of the error
  • details of dates, times, places and other people involved

2. Evidence of Misconduct

Evidence relating to misconduct such as bullying or theft can be more difficult to collect, since the spectrum of behaviours that could constitute misconduct is so wide. Furthermore, people often fall into the trap of disregarding minor misdemeanours in the hope that they will not be repeated. Often, however, they do recur, frequently with greater intensity than before since they were left unchallenged in the first place.

It is far easier and more effective to address problem behaviour sooner rather than later. The evidence you gather will clearly depend on the nature of the misconduct, but might take the form of:

  • documentary evidence of errors (at this stage, it may not be apparent whether an error is the result of a performance or a conduct problem) or falsified records, for example timesheets, expense forms or target achievement records
  • testimony, or witnesses’ observations, but you must remain cautious that such observations are personal and therefore may be subjective, so you should back them up wherever possible with documentary evidence as detailed above

3. Attendance Records

Attendance records are normally easily collected; the challenge in dealing with poor attendance lies in interpreting the records. Where an employee displays a pattern of unauthorised absence (for example, sick days that always precede or follow other scheduled time off such as weekends or holidays) you should be alerted to this as a possible problem. Keep a diary of employees’ absence periods; including sickness and holidays. Attendance problems may also take the form of poor timekeeping. As with absence problems, it is good practice to maintain a diary; then, when discussing the problem with the employee, you will be able to be precise about dates and times.

pexels-photo.jpgThe Poor Performance Meeting

Depending on the severity of the problem, you may choose to hold an informal meeting, or a formal meeting. The quality of evidence that you collect should be just as strong for informal meetings as for formal ones. However, under statutory requirements, please note that written copies of any evidence should be given to the employee before any formal meeting.

Confronting Poor Performance

The Fortune Group identifies six rules a manager should observe when confronting a poor performing employee:

  1. NEVER CONFRONT IN ANGER: do not let this become an emotional situation. Do whatever you need to do to get your emotions in check before confronting; maybe walk around the block, count to ten or have a coffee.
  2. DO IT IMMEDIATELY: take however long you need to get your emotions together, but as soon as you’ve done that, confront the poor performing employee without delay. Failure to confront immediately is what causes so much angst around the idea of confronting poor performance. When you let inappropriate actions continue unaddressed for too long before confronting them, the situation can get out of control. When managers consistently confront immediately, at the first sign of a deviation in behaviour, the process of managing poor performance becomes painless – and potentially even gratifying!
  3. DO IT IN PRIVATE: this doesn’t automatically mean going into your office and shutting the door, just don’t do it within earshot of other staff. You don’t need to turn it into a big event. In fact, confronting poor performance can be done quite casually, for example, at the water cooler or while getting a coffee or even walking down the corridor. Many times, taking the employee into your office and closing the door can create a tense atmosphere – the same tension that has given such a stigma to the process of managing poor performance – before saying a word.
  4. BE SPECIFIC: use evidence and factual information to state your case and focus on behaviour. When you bring hearsay or impressions into the conversation, you can find yourself squabbling over details, no matter how big or small.
  5. USE DATA: just as you should be specific with factual information, support your assertions with data whenever possible. In the process of confronting, tell them what they have done, how you feel about their actions (concerned, disappointed, angry) and why you feel that way. It’s not unusual to feel anger, you can be human! If you’re emotionally invested in your business you’ll feel angry, and you have a right to feel angry….you just don’t have the right to act out that anger!
  6. BE CLEAR: do not confuse people by watering down the fact that this is a reprimand. Because they feel uncomfortable, managers will often end a confrontation with something like, “….but overall, you’ve really been doing a great job.” The problem is people choose to hear what they want to hear, so employees latch onto such comments and leave the meeting thinking they just got praised. So don’t confront and praise in the same interaction.

Collecting evidence is a vital part of addressing performance, conduct or attendance problems. Without evidence, any attempt to tackle problem behaviour will be based on allegations and opinion and could, therefore, be too easily disputed by the employee in question. While the nature, amount and quality of the evidence needed will depend on the problem and its extent, the data that you collect will help you to illustrate the problem to the employee and will provide you with a platform from which to plan and execute an appropriate performance improvement programme.

I hate being found wanting in the way I work and conduct myself. I honestly pride myself in having a track record of achieving objectives through high level interpersonal skills, outstanding organizational skills, meticulous planning and effective delivery of tasks. Are you?

So folks, DON’T EVER be found falling short of expectation.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.

FUN AND EFFECTIVE WAYS OF LEARNING VOCABULARY @ HIGH SCHOOL 1

I have three related posts on this interesting topic:

SOME researched comments on how VOCABULARY affects comprehension include:

  • Vocabulary knowledge is directly related to comprehension.
  • Increased vocabulary instruction increases comprehension more than any other intervention.
  • Fluent word recognition affects comprehension.

THE ACQUISITION of vocabulary is one of the most important tasks in language learning. If you have enough words, you can make sense of what you are reading or listening to and you can somehow express yourself.

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Gathering Words – Tried and Tested Method

When I was growing up I expanded my vocabulary through collecting relevant and useful words. Here are some ways that have worked for me:

  • First, find ways to expose yourself to new words: read and listen to a variety of books, articles, television programs, and videos (see if you can find the spelling of the new word from the subtitles, if need be).
  • Next, you will record the new words that you discover. Write down new words as you hear or read them — use a notebook or flash cards to collect vocabulary.
  • Later, when you have time, look up your new words in a dictionary.
  • Write the definition and an example sentence in your notebook or flash cards. Also, as you read textbooks and class materials, pay attention to words that are used often or that are important for understanding concepts in your program.
  • You will want to take time to learn these words.

In short, vocabulary acquisition is much more important than grammar. The grammar we have is acquired gradually as we become familiar with the language, with the words, but first of all we need words.

How Do We Learn Vocabulary?

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. – Michelangelo

Vocabulary knowledge is not something that can ever be fully mastered; it is something that expands and deepens over the course of a lifetime. Instruction in vocabulary involves far more than looking up words in a dictionary and using the words in a sentence.

Moving Words From Short-Term To Long-Term Memory

When you first hear or read a new word, it enters your short-term memory. Short-term memory can only hold new words for a brief period, usually seconds. To move the new word to long-term memory, you will need to ENCODE, STORE, and RETRIEVE the word.

1) When you ENCODE, you give meaning to the information. As you study vocabulary, you will learn the different meanings the word can have. You may also compare the English word to similar words in other languages you know.

2) To STORE the material, you will use strategies to review the word’s meaning. Regular review and repetition is important for learning new words.

3) When you use a new vocabulary word when speaking or writing, you RETRIEVE it. This creates strong knowledge of the word in your long-term memory.

Kuverenga

19 EASY WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR VOCABULARY

Set A Specific Goal

Learning new words requires a commitment. Since you’re less likely to hear sophisticated vocabulary in daily conversation, take matters into your own hands and teach yourself new words. Set a goal such as, “I’ll learn one new word each day” or “I’ll try one suggestion on this handout every day during semester break or summer.”

Spend 15 Minutes Every day Reading

As you read a novel, newspaper or a weekly newsmagazine, circle unfamiliar words. When you finish the article, return to these words and use context clues to try to determine meaning. Then look the words up in a dictionary, comparing your definition with the actual definition. Add each word, its definition, and its sentence in a vocabulary notebook or onto a web site like http://www.quizlet.com for later review.

 Use Quizlet To Review The New Words You Learn

Go to http://www.quizlet.com and enter your words. The program will generate quizzes and games custom-made for your word list.

Do Crossword Puzzles And Other Word Puzzles

Although some crossword-puzzle words are obscure or seldom used, some words will increase your vocabulary. And the information in crossword puzzles may increase your background knowledge.

Write, Look, Cover, Repeat (WLCR)

This is the ultimate classic. For me, vocabulary learning has always been a notebook and a pen. The physical motion of writing something down is very useful as it satisfies the needs of haptic learners. Take a pad, draw a vertical line in the middle and write the word on one side in your native/source language and on the other side in your target language. Memorise the list, then cover one side and tick off all that you remember. Then repeat.

“Use A Word 3 Times And It’s Yours!”

It’s that simple. If you don’t make an effort to use new words you learn, you’re likely to forget them.

Using words make them a permanent part of your vocabulary. You know common words like “cow,” “walk” and “pleasant” because you have been doing FOUR things:

  1. You’ve heard them frequently.
  2. You’ve read them frequently.
  3. They may have been taught to you.
  4. You’ve used them many times in your speech and your writing.

If you don’t routinely hear or read words like “catalyst,” “disparage” or “aberration,” use them at least three times in your writing or your speech. Gradually they will become a part of your vocabulary and ultimately you will surprise yourself and many others within your circle.

Study Linguistics

Many words are made up of parts of other words. So this one requires a bit of study, but it will make your vocabulary learning the smartest it has ever been. Become familiar with prefixes and suffixes, word roots and common sources of target language words.

In short, this means BREAK LONG WORDS INTO PARTS. If you can remember the meaning of prefixes (e.g. con-, anti-, pre-) and suffixes (e.g. -ly, -able), it will be easier to predict the meaning of new words you encounter.

Use Index Cards (4 X 6) To Make Vocabulary Flash Cards.

As you try the suggestions here, don’t just read about a new word or look it up in a dictionary. Make a vocabulary flash card. On one side of an index card, write the new word, its part of speech, and its phonetic spelling including Greek or Latin word parts and on the other side, write its definition and any related word parts.

Carry these cards with you to review. Before you write papers, flip through your cards. This increases your chance of being able to use one or two of these words in your writing.

Read, Read and More Reading

The more you read, the more you learn. You will pick up new words without even realizing it when you read. Reading lets you see how words are used in sentences, and lets you understand them through context clues.

  • SAT Word List: There are even some books that are meant to teach vocabulary. These are usually written for students studying for the SATs, but they make a great tool for anyone who wants to learn English because they have definitions of many of the words right there in the book.
  • COMICS: If the SAT text is too difficult for your English level, you can try reading comic books instead. Comics have a lot of dialogue, and their text is in smaller, easier to understand parts. Superman, Batman, and the other well-known heroes are full of words for you to learn. If you don’t like superheroes, there are many other options out there, like Calvin and Hobbes or even Garfield.

Thus, it’s important to read a variety of materials. The more you expose yourself to new words, the more words you will learn.

Use Your Senses As You Learn

Associate vocabulary with pictures or gestures. This will help you recall the new words better than writing or speaking alone. Using more than one of your senses as you learn new words promotes the development of a strong word network in the brain. This helps you retrieve new words when you write or speak.

Learn New Words In Context

Use example sentences as you gather words. Try making up a funny story with new vocabulary.

As you create and use a vocabulary learning system, you will grow in your ability to understand what you hear and read. You will be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and precisely.

Related Words

If you just learned the word “care”, don’t stop there! Use a dictionary or the internet to find derivatives of that word, and expressions that use it.

For example: careful, carefree, careless, take care! See? You started with one word but quickly learned four more, and because their meaning is related, it is easier to understand and remember what each one means.

Use Context Clues

ALWAYS try to determine the meanings of words and don’t skip over unfamiliar words. Try to determine meaning by analyzing unfamiliar words and the sentences surrounding them. Careful analysis can often give you a pretty good idea of what the word means. Mark the word with a pencil.

When you finish reading, look up the word in a dictionary to see if you were close. Although context clues may not always be present, looking for them can sharpen your comprehension.

Mnemonics

These are ways to help us remember things better.

A great online resource for mnemonics is the mnemonicdictionary.com; you can type in the words you want to remember and you will see many different ways to help you memorize.

Use Vocabulary Web Sites

There are some websites with a “Word of the Day,” which may be useful for increasing your vocabulary:

These web sites have a “Word of the Day” feature. Subscribe and a new word will be sent to your e-mail address every day. This is an easy way to build your vocabulary:

Make Sentences

Making sentences helps us put everything we have learned into action: so you have learned a new word and you understand when to use it. But for the brain to remember this word in the future, the best way to memorize is by using it. Try to make sentences that use different meanings of the word you want to learn or, if it is a verb, with different tenses.

Use Specific Vocabulary Lists

Instead of studying a long list of unrelated words, use specific vocabulary lists that will help you learn the kind of vocabulary you need for your work or school.

Record Yourself

By hearing your own voice say the words out loud and feeling your mouth move, you are making even more connections in your brain.

So, use a camera, your phone or your webcam to record yourself practicing your new vocabulary words and using them in the sentences you made.

LASTLY, Dear Reader . . .

Repeat, REPEAT and REPEAT yourself 

An old English saying: “repetition is the key to success” is applicable here. To learn anything you must repeat, repeat, repeat. So every day, set aside some time to study vocabulary. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it is important that you practice a little daily. This will create a good habit.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL

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MYSTERY SHORT STORIES – WRITING ACTIVITIES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – 2

HIGH SCHOOL is a key point in a student’s education because of the importance it carries in terms of writing skills. Writing is a big part of every High School student’s life. In fact, students write more than ever before – from school research papers to essays on standardized tests to texting their friends. Yet, writing problems abound.

In my second instalment on Writing Activities For High School Students, I am going to explore the Mystery/Detective Writing. My first instalment was on REALISTIC FICTIONWriting Activities For High School Students – 1

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This mystery genre is a type of fiction in which a detective, or other professional, solves a crime or series of crimes. It can take the form of a novel or short story. The purpose of a mystery novel is to solve a puzzle and to create a feeling of resolution with the audience.

The Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie novels and many other short stories/novels are excellent examples of mystery genres.

Genre: Mystery Short Stories

Task: Read and annotate three or four short mysteries.

Directions: Read 3-4 short story mysteries from one or more of the following:

While you read and annotate:

  • Identify the mystery to be solved. What could be possible motives or opportunities for the incident to have occurred?
  • How does the setting affect the story? Does it add to the suspense or create opportunities for multiple locations for events to happen?
  • Watch for clues –which can be something that a character does, says, or an object that is found. Some authors use foreshadowing or flashback techniques to provide clues. When you think something may be a clue, ask yourself if it gives information about a suspicious character, or answers “why” something would happen.
  • What perspective is the author writing from? Does it have multiple perspectives?
  • Consider the purpose of the story: To engage in and enjoy solving a puzzle.
  • Explore moral satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) at resolution. Consider human condition and how to solve or avoid human problems.

What Are The Key Elements Of A Mystery?

There are five components to explore: the characters, the setting, the plot, the problem, and the solution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the clues to the solution of the mystery to be revealed in a logical way that the reader can follow.

In 1928, the novelist S.S. Van Dine, wrote a much-acclaimed article called Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories. Among the lot, Van Dine outlined the key issues which must be apparent in any short story mystery:

  1. The detective story is a sporting event and the author must play fair with the reader.
  2. The reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery. All clues must be plainly stated and described.
  3. The detective should never turn out to be the culprit.
  4. The culprit must be discovered by logical deduction, not by accident or coincidence or unmotivated confession.
  5. The detective story should never contain no long descriptive passages.

I am going to explore some of these in some detail.

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Ingredients For A Mystery

When cooking up a mystery, authors use this tasty recipe.

 CHARACTERS: Detective or mystery fiction follows the solving of a crime, so we usually see the story through the eyes of the detective. This means that the writer has to make the detective’s character interesting and appealing to the reader. Other characters include:

  • Suspects: Characters believed to have possibly committed the crime
  • Witnesses: Characters who saw the crime being committed

SETTING: This is the location where the mystery takes place. Decide where your story will take place. A mystery can take place anywhere, but here are some ideas: a school, an amusement park, a field, your house, an airport, the mall, or the library. Don’t forget to include the time the crime was committed in the setting of your story.

PLOT: When reading a mystery, the story is usually linear including one of the following:

  • A problem that needs to be solved.
  • An event that cannot be explained.
  • A secret.
  • Something that is lost or missing.
  • A crime that has been committed.

CLUES: Clues are hints that can help the reader and the detective solve the mystery. They can be things people say or do, or objects that are found that provide important information. (Go back to your mystery readings and check if the mystery you read had clues.)

RED HERRINGS: These are distractions or false clues that may lead the reader or the detective off track. Red herrings often make it more difficult to solve a mystery. (Go back to your mystery readings and check if the mystery you read had a red herring.)

 BUILDING DESCRIPTIONSAccording to Van Dine’s rules, detective fiction “should contain no long descriptive passages.” Although description is not as important as plot in this genre, it is still needed to build a picture, to build tension and to engage the reader in the story.

 RECIPE FOR A MYSTERY: How to write a mystery

Most mysteries are set up the same way. The structure of a mystery usually looks like this:

BEGINNING: Characters are introduced and the reader learns about the problem. In detective stories, openings are quite interesting and should contain two keys elements. Firstly, you must introduce a character or situation which the reader wants to find out more about; and secondly, include details to intrigue the reader and make them want to find out what happens next.

REMEMBER: The more questions you make your reader want to ask, the more you will intrigue them.

Some Story Starters may include . . . .

  1. My hair stood on end, a shiver raced down my spine and a lump came to my throat. It was him…
  2. The gravestones stood silently, row upon row like soldiers long forgotten, a scream shattered the silence…
  3. It was there and then it had gone, why would a rabbit be on my bathroom floor?
  4. Bleary-eyed, I went downstairs for breakfast, the house was empty, even the furniture had gone…
  5. The lights flickered and then went off, then the sirens started, it was coming, and we knew it wouldn’t be the last time…
  6. The date was 13th July, my 45th birthday… it would be my last…
  7. Three of us.  We were the only ones left, the only ones to make it to the island.

MIDDLE: Detectives work to solve the mystery by interviewing suspects and gathering clues. Tension is created through the situations in which the writer places the characters, and the dialogue they are given.

END: The mystery is solved

WatchPlanning A Story

Planning is the most important stage in any piece of writing. With planning you will produce a text that will hold a reader’s attention and interest. Without planning, you will produce a text that starts, goes on for a while and then stops.

LASTLY, just remember to have a checklist of some sort: The ingredients for the detective genre must include

  • A setting: time and place
  • Some suspects
  • A murder and a victim
  • Some witnesses
  • A detective
  • Some clues and some red herrings
  • A resolution

Good luck in your endeavours.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL

WRITING YOUR CV: THE COMMON MISTAKES, BLOOPERS & HOWLERS WE MAKE

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Life will never ever be the same again after this lockdown. As a result . . .

High school students will soon be on the job market. Some, after work experience in the summer, will get a weekend job while others will have to spruce up their curriculum vitaes (CVs) waiting for the next job opportunity.

However, many jobseekers are ruling themselves out before they even get called for an interview with a string of mistakes, bloopers and howlers on their CVs, which can easily be avoided.

So don’t be found wanting when you do your CV no matter what type of opportunity you are seeking.

Here are some of the common mistakes, bloopers and howlers you need to avoid on your CV:

1. INCLUDING IRRELEVANT PERSONAL INFORMATIONRecruiters are inundated with CVs for every job available so it is normal for them to spend just ten seconds looking at CVs. So don’t clog up your CV with irrelevant information that’s not going to help your application – and may cause recruiters to miss the really juicy contents. This means unless it’s directly relevant to the position you’re applying for, leave out details like your religion, political preferences, height, weight and the story about the time you met one of the celebrities.

2. POOR SPELLING And GRAMMARThere are no excuses for spelling mistakes – even if English isn’t your forte. An error-free CV is vital in showcasing your precision and attention to detail, so check everything – even your contact details. Spellcheck and proofread your CV yourself before asking others to cast their critical eye checking it over for you.

Consider these sentences – Can you identify where the errors are?

  • I am a prooficient typist.
  • Socially I like to dine out with different backgrounds.
  • I left last four jobs only because the managers were completely unreasonable.
  • I have excellent typong skills.
  • While working in this role, I had intercourse with a variety of people.

Thus, it is essential to minimise the risk of making mistakes by taking your time – never leave writing your CV to the last minute. Rushed examples are easily spotted and quickly dismissed.

‘Careless errors are rarely tolerated. So, avoid needless rejection by slowly and meticulously checking over your CV.’

Having good written English is a skill that most employers look for, so make sure that you don’t do what one candidate did and write your entire CV in abbreviated text language throughout.

3. USING ONE VERSION Of YOUR CVIf you have just one version of your CV that you are using to make multiple applications, the chances are that this is not working for you. Every job description is different – address the person specification succinctly – so you need to focus and target your CV each time you make an application.

Some recruitment experts believe that spending quality time on fewer applications is generally more effective that the scatter-gun approach. This also means . . .

4. FAILING TO TAILOR Your APPLICATIONWhen it comes to CVs, one size doesn’t fit all. Everything that you include must be completely tailored to the company and role that you’re applying for. This actually makes it easy for the recruiter to see that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

By looking closely at the job description or person specification helps you in sensing whether you’ve sufficiently assessed the job requirements. Through evaluating which of your skills match the job specification most effectively will give you the best chance of success.

‘Don’t be afraid to remove irrelevant experiences, even if you’re applying for similar roles with different organisations, check their specific requirements and tweak your CV accordingly.’

5. Info Graphics And Overly Designed CVsKeep your CV format clean and clutter free. Use a sensible amount of white space and don’t cram too much into a small space.

Your CV will not get noticed more because you’ve coloured it purple and made the headings exceptionally large. Don’t use graphics to self-certify your skills, employers don’t buy that. Also, graphics aren’t easy to read so they are likely to be entirely missed by initial filters.

6. POOR FORMATTING And UNNECESSARILY ELABORATE DESIGNCVs that aren’t clear and easy to read are a huge turn-off for employers. Research shows that recruiters spend an average of just about ten seconds reviewing each CV that they receive – which leaves you precious little time to make a good first impression.

These days, the chances are your CV is going to be judged on a screen. So don’t take the opportunity to play with fancy fonts and colours – stick to typefaces that are screen friendly (like Ariel, Times New Roman or Verdana) and use a font size of 10 or 12 for body copy, and slightly larger for subheadings. If you’re sending it as an attachment, use Word and avoid backgrounds and ornate borders. Let your experiences and achievements be the star.

Before printing or submitting your CV, save it and spend some time away from it. Going back to it for a second time to scrutinise how everything looks on your computer screen is a good advice.

 Thus, cluttered, disorganised and messy are three characteristics that your CV shouldn’t possess.

7. LYING Or MANIPULATION Of The TruthWhen you’re trying to get a foot in the door and impress potential employers, it’s tempting to be economical with the truth, because who’s going to check, right?

Wrong! The facts on your CV are easy to corroborate so never assume that recruiters won’t make enquiries to do so.

Giving yourself a grade boost, fibbing about your current job title or embellishing a period of work experience won’t do you any favours in the long run. At best, your lies will be obvious and your CV will be rejected out of hand. At worst, you may be invited for an interview where you’ll either trip yourself up or be asked questions that you’re unable to answer.

While your CV should absolutely be the best, shiny version of you and your experiences, making up qualifications, experiences or achievements will invalidate any of your real, hard won successes. Recruiters are on the lookout for anything that seems out of place, including salaries and job titles (and are often expert at spotting them), so be honest and ensure that you give your real attributes a fair chance of getting you the job you want.

Instead of using your time and energy to concoct half-truths and complete fabrications, use it instead to really sell the qualifications, skills and experience you do have.

8. Lack Of EvidenceIt’s easy to make generic, empty statements on your CV when you’re trying to meet a tight application deadline. However, failing to effectively evidence your skills, achievements and experiences can be a fatal mistake.

Always try to quantify your successes whenever possible – but never at the expense of the CV’s readability. Recruiters will be assessing not just what you’ve done, but also your written communication skills so writing concisely but meaningfully is crucial, as this is a central element of many jobs.

9. Not Explaining ‘Why’It isn’t enough to just state your credentials; you need to prove them by justifying why you’ve chosen to undertake certain activities in terms of your personal and professional development. You should then elaborate even further on the resulting skills you’ve gained.

As for High School students, discussing your extra-curricular activities is very important providing you pay particular attention to any positions of responsibility you’ve held and outline what you’ve taken from the experience.Ever Tried

As a general rule, okay CVs give you the ‘what’ – for example, the degrees or jobs that person has held. However, great CVs also give you the ‘why’ – for example, why that person has chosen that degree or society.

10. Copied And Pasted Job DescriptionsThis is a big no, no! A CV is a personal document and should provide evidence of what you have done, your own individual achievements. It’s not simply about reciting a list of job responsibilities. Think about it, if every ‘customer service assistant’ copied and pasted their job description into their CV how would an employer ever choose whom to interview?

11. Ignoring Gaps In Your Work HistoryGaps in employment history are fairly common and rarely a problem as long as they’re explained.

You don’t need to worry about gaps of a couple of weeks but if you’ve been out of work for months (or even years) you need to clearly and concisely explain why. Any unexplained absences of this length will be looked upon with suspicion by potential employers and will give the impression that you’ve been idle during this time.

Don’t be afraid to let recruiters know that you took some time out to volunteer, look after a sick relative or travel the world. There’s also no shame in informing employers of a period spent away from work due to illness or redundancy or . . .

12. Mysterious Gaps In EmploymentIf for any reason you’ve taken a break for employment – whether it’s for travel, study, volunteering, redundancy or simply to care for your child – explain it. If you don’t, recruiter may jump to their own, less flattering conclusions and pass your CV over without a second thought.

13. A Meaningless IntroductionIf you include an introduction in your CV, make sure it’s to the point, and accurately sums up the key qualities the recruiter is looking for. Avoid meaningless phrases like ‘dynamic, results-oriented, driven, personable team player’ and instead clearly outline your key qualification for the role. For example, ‘Part time sales manager with 16 years’ experience in the commercial sector’. If a recruiter looks at one thing on your CV, it could well be your introduction so ensure it tells them as much as possible.

14. Being Too VagueUsing phrases like ‘several’, ‘a few’ and ‘numerous’ can come across as too vague on a CV. So if you spent three years working on a project, say so. Or if you exceeded a sales target, include how much it was by. And if you say you delivered more than a client was expecting, briefly explain how. If you’re too vague it can seem like at best you’re exaggerating, at worst, making something up completely.writing-notes-idea-conference.jpg

15. Including ReferencesYou’ve little enough space on your CV to ensure you are able to portray yourself as the full package, so don’t waste any with lengthy references. Most recruiters don’t expect them, and a simple note saying ‘References available on request’ is enough. If a job advert specifically requests references, you can include them on a separate sheet.

16. Hiding Important InformationJust as you need to declutter your CV by leaving out anything irrelevant, it’s vital to highlight the key points that may help swing an interview for a particular job. So think about the design of your CV and ways you can bring important details to the fore, for example by putting key achievements in bullet points or bolding your previous job titles.

Finally note that . . .

We all make mistakes. That’s just part of being human. The important thing is that we learn from them. If you have been firing off your CV and getting no response, it may be time to reflect and ask yourself why? Just go through the list of common mistakes, bloopers and howlers on CVs, which you can easily avoid. Correct yourself and see what you can achieve.

In one of my forthcoming instalments, I am going to look at the format of a good CV. In other words, what do I have to include in my CV, or what topics or sub-topics do I have to address?

Until then, good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.