Category: 1


Spelling Poems and Songs

By Sarah Binning

I ended yesterday with an invitation to post or submit your own favorite poems, songs or videos that helped you learn how to spell.

Today I thought I’d share another one of my favorite poems. “One out of Sixteen” by Shel Silverstein taught me how to spell “spelling.” The double “l” was difficult for me to remember until my mom read me this poem:

I’m no good at History,
Science makes no sense to me,
Music is a mystery,
English is no friend to me,
Math is my worst enemy,
Economics tortures me,
Gym takes too much energy,
Reading is a chore to me,
Geography just loses me,
I hate Sociology,
Chemistry confuses me,
I barf in Biology,
Astronomy’s just stars to me,
Botany’s just flowers smelling,
Even Art’s too hard for me.
Well, at least I’m good at Speling!

Upon the first reading, I didn’t understand why this poem was so funny. But I soon discovered that Silverstein purposefully misspelled “spelling” at the end of the poem. I remember feeling like a genius when I had to explain the poem’s comical ending to my little sister.

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Plural fun with indefinite pronouns

By Sarah Binning

First and foremost, please allow me to wish my readers a happy Earth Day. My elementary music teacher taught us a song with the message, “Every day is Earth Day.” Every day should be Earth Day. I like to think of today as more of a Mother’s Day for Mother Earth. Today we do something extra special like make Mother Earth breakfast in bed, or, perhaps, plant a tree or flowers in her honor.

In attempts to be more conscious of how much energy I’m using, I’m running my computer on battery only.  I vow only to charge when I absolutely need to! NOTE: you can actually conserve some battery power by dimming your screen light.)

Public service announcement aside, it’s time to work on improving our grammatical skills.

While one may be the loneliest number, we’re stepping away from singulars toward plurals. Today’s focus: indefinite pronouns that take plural verbs.

‘Sarah, what are indefinite pronouns?’ you ask. Well, Let’s break the phrase down. Pronouns are words that are can replace or substitute nouns. Indefinite means something that is not exact, specific or definite. So an indefinite pronoun is a word that can replace a noun but is not specific. The Pronoun “Him” is specific toward one person (such as Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla from the SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK pronoun video).

Yesterday we examined the following indefinite pronouns: anybody, anything, each, each one, either, everyone, everybody

However these IPs take plural verbs: Both, few, others, many and several.

Examples:

Some like it hot. Some like it cold. Some like it in a pot nine days old.

Few have returned from the black lagoon.

Both lost their wives to breast cancer.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. Some indefinite pronouns are a bit trickier to handle. Pronouns such as all, any, more, most, some and such are singular when referring to quantity, but plural when referring to number.

Examples:

All of us believe in you. (Number = plural believe)

All the rum is gone. (Quantity = singular is)

Some of the stars look brighter than others. (Number = plural look)

Some sand is stuck in my shoe. (Quantity = singular is)

When it comes to indefinite pronouns I find the infoplease website helpful.