Chris’s English Language Tips

I write everything. From the serious to the humorous. I’m the author of six books. I’ve been published in a national writing magazine, sold a TV script, & have written a combined hundreds of blog posts, articles and advertisements.

Although this blog primarily consists of humor, today I’d like to give back. This post contains no comedy or sarcasm; it’s merely a guide to help those who are trying to learn the English language navigate through some of its trickiest parts. As the months go by, I’ll keep updating it. I truly hope that this guide helps people to learn arguably the hardest language in the world.

Produce: To make something (“There’s no way that I can possibly produce one hundred custom t-shirts an hour!”) (Pro-DUCE)

Produce: To show something (“I had to produce my license for the bartender.”) (Pro-DUCE)

Produce: Fruits & vegetables (“All of that fresh produce looks delicious!”) (PRO-duce)

Pronunciations differ as per above

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Read: The activity of viewing & understanding words (“I read all the time.”) (REED)

Read: The past tense of read: (“I just read a terrific book!”) (RED)

Read: To believe that there’s more to something than there appears to be (“That woman is just a friend, dear; don’t read anything into it.”) (REED)

Pronunciations differ as per above

____________________________________________________________________________________________

There: Indicates location (“My keys are over there.”)

Their: Indicates possession (“That’s their car.”)

They’re: The contraction of “they” & “are” (They’re already at the concert.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

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To: Signifies direction (“I’m going to the gym.”)

Too: Also (“Would you like to go, too?”)

Two: The number between 1 & 3 (“I’ll have two tacos, please.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

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*Where: Signifies location (Where are we going?”)

We’re: The contraction of “we” & “are” (We’re leaving now.”) (WEER)

Were: The past tense of “are” (“We were there earlier, but we’re home now.”) (WUR)

*Wear: To have on clothing, jewelry, etc. (“I think I’ll wear my coat tonight.”)

*Ware(s): Item(s) sold to others  (“Over two hundred vendors are expected to showcase their wares at the local flea market today.”) (“Suzie said she spent over an hour setting out her wares for the tag sale.”)

Wary: Suspicious, cautious (“I’m wary of inviting her again after how she acted at our last party.”) (WARE-ee)

Weary: Tired (“I’ve grown weary of your poor attitude.”) (WEER-ee)

Weird: Odd (“The platypus is very weird looking.”) (WEERD)

*”Where”, “Wear”, & “Ware” are all pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Lose: To misplace something that you can’t find (“Did you lose your keys?”) (LUZE)

Lose: To not win a game or contest (“Did you win or lose the hockey game?”) (LUZE)

Loose: Not tight- (“The front leg on this chair is loose.”) (LUCE)

For some reason that I don’t understand, a great many people use “Loose” in place of “Lose”, & vice-versa. Just remember that their meanings are totally different.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s: The contraction of “it” & “is” (It’s snowing out!”)

Its: The possessive pronoun of “it” (“I programmed that light to shut off on its own.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Then: To reference a period of time (“I didn’t have my cat back then.”) (THEN)

Than: To compare (“I’d rather have the ice cream than the cake.”) (THAN)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Very: To stress or emphasize something (“It’s very hot outside today.”)

Vary: To showcase difference (“The weatherman said today’s temperatures will vary quite a bit.”) (“I didn’t like that movie at all, but I’m sure opinions will vary.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Steak: A cut of meat or fish (“Waiter, I’ll have the sirloin steak with a baked potato.”)

Stake:  A pole or similar object with a single sharpened end that’s driven into the ground to keep something in place, such as a tent or volleyball net (“We’ll have to hammer in one more stake to fully secure our tent.”)

Stake: Signifies risk (“Hurry up! You know what’s at stake if we don’t quickly repair the hole in this boat!”)

Stake: To loan or give something; usually money (“You’re broke? I’ll stake you the cash to keep gambling.”)

Stake(s): Prize money, usually associated with horse races. (“The stakes are high at the Kentucky Derby.”)

All 5 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Purse: A woman’s handbag (“I think there’s some gum in my purse.”)

Purse: Prize money, usually associated with boxing matches (“I hear the purse for this fight is $4 million dollars.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Here: Signifies location (“We’re here!”)

Hear: The activity of listening to words or noises (“Did you hear that bird singing this morning?”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Could’ve: A contraction of “could” & “have” (“The iced tea could’ve used more sugar.”)

Would’ve: A contraction of “would” & “have” (“I would’ve gone last week if I hadn’t had the flu.”)

There is no such thing as “could of”, or “would of”, but you’ll see them used a lot, anyway

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Bare: Unclothed, naked (“Her sleeveless dress left her arms bare.”) (“I worked outside all day in my bare feet.”)

Bear: A large animal (“Be careful hiking, there have been recent reports of a large bear on that trail.”)

Bear: To hold, support or deliver; literally & figuratively (“I still bear a grudge against him for eating all of my pizza.”) (“I can’t bear the weight of this couch we’re carrying much longer.”) (“We’ve found a surrogate mother to bear our son.”)

Bear: A limit (“The pain caused by our divorce is very hard to bear.”)

All 4 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Our: Signifies possession (“That is our house.”)

Hour: A measurement of time consisting of 60 minutes (“The hockey game will start in one hour.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Peel: To strip away (“Since my political candidate lost the election, I’m going to peel that bumper sticker off my car.”)

Peel: A natural fruit covering such as is found on an orange, banana or apple (“Please don’t leave that orange peel on the table.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Through: Completed or finished (“I’m through with my dinner.”) (“I’m breaking up with you; we’re through.”)

Through: Going into and emerging from something; literally & figuratively (“To get here we had to go through the tunnel.”) (“Don’t worry, I’ll help you get through this difficult time.”)

Threw: Past tense of “throw”. (“We went down to the park earlier and threw the football around.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Miner: Someone who extracts a resource from a mine or cave; associated most often with coal, diamonds, gold & silver (“Claustrophobia is not a something a miner would ever want to have.”) (MINE-er)

Minor: Any person who is not yet an adult (“No minor can watch that movie without a parent or guardian present.”) (MINE-or)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Employed: Used (“Once I employed my electric screwdriver, installing that door was much easier.”)

Employed: To have a job (“I’m employed as a foreman at the Smile-Rite toothpaste company.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Tip: To doff or remove, most often associated with a cap or hat (“How nice of that gentleman to tip his cap to me.”)

Tip: A gratuity given for a provided service (“I’m going to tip our waitress 20%.”)

Tip: To unbalance something (“Be careful while cleaning the desk to not tip over the lamp.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Your: Signifies possession (“Here, this one is your sandwich.”)

You’re: The contraction of “You” & “Are” (You’re a really great guy, Chris.”)

Yore: A general time in the distant past (“Oh, how I long for the Christmases of yore”.)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Address: To speak or talk to others (“The president will address the nation at 9 o’clock tonight.”)

Address: To give attention to (“I’ll address that issue after I return from my vacation.”)

Address: The location of a residence or business (“My address is 126 Maple Street Bismarck, North Dakota.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Light: A source of natural or artificial illumination (“Please turn the light on in the living room.”) (“We’ve been up all night, it’ll be light outside soon.”)

Light: Not heavy (“This feather is very light.”)

Light: Less than expected (“The pot for this poker game looks a little light.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Stationary: To remain in place (“Bill wisely remained quiet and stationary until the grizzly bear left his campsite.”)

Stationery: Writing supplies such as paper & ink (“I’ll write her a letter on some of the hotel stationery.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Poker: A popular card game (“Let’s call a few friends and play poker tonight.”)

Poker: A long, hand-held metal rod used to adjust wood burning in a fireplace (“He used the poker to spread out the logs.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

See: The act of viewing anything (“I can see much better with my new glasses.”)

See: To understand (“Oh, okay. Now I see what you mean.”)

Sea: The ocean (“Those sword fishermen are going out to sea today.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Type: To use keyboard or typewriter keys to produce words (“I have to type my report by tomorrow.”)

Type: A personal preference (“That woman is just my type.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Further: Something extra, a figurative measurement of distance (“I have nothing further to add to this conversation.”) (“I’m further along with this book than I thought I was.”)

Farther: A measurement of actual distance (“We still have twenty miles farther to go before we reach the hotel.”)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Holy: Sacred, Divine, having to do with God (“The ground where Saint Bartholomew is buried is holy.”)

Wholly: Completely (“The Acme golf ball company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Smith Corporation.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Great: Expansive (“I’ve traveled a great distance to try what I’m told are New Mexico’s finest iced cinnamon buns.”)

Great: Fantastic (“You did a great job redecorating your home.”)

Grate: A covering (“I dropped my smartphone through that sewer grate.”)

Grate: To shave off, most often associated with food (“Dinner will be ready as soon as I grate this parmesan cheese.”)

Grate: To annoy (“She continues to grate on my every nerve.”)

All 5 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Later: A future time (“I’ll wash my car later.”) (LAY-ter)

Latter: The last thing mentioned (“I’ll eat hot dogs, french fries and hamburgers; but the latter is my favorite.”) (Latter)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

By: By way of (“You can get to Main Street easier by taking a right turn here.”)

Buy: To purchase (“I think it’s time to buy a new television.”)

Bye: Good-bye (Bye! I’ll see you soon!”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

One: The number before two (“I’ll just have one doughnut.”)

Won: To achieve victory in a game or contest (“We won the championship!”) (“I won the lottery!”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Present: A gift (“This year I want to give Chris a very expensive birthday present.”)

Present: The current point in time (“The present time is 3:18p.m.”)

Present: To be in attendance (“I was present at my nephew’s graduation.”)

Present: To deliver (“Due to your extraordinary heroism Fireman Jones, on behalf of the citizens of Minneapolis, I’d like to present you with this key to the city.”)

All 4 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Medal: An award (“The 1980 U.S. Men’s Ice hockey team won the gold medal.”)

Metal: A material such as steel (“This ship’s anchor is made of very heavy metal.”)

Mettle: Courage, valor (“He showed tremendous mettle in fighting off that Great White shark so his wife could swim to safety.”)

Meddle: To interfere (“For the last time, do not ever meddle in my affairs again!”)

All 4 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Waste: The left-over byproduct of anything (“That food is spoiled and is now waste. Throw it away.”)

Waist: The middle area of the body that a belt would cover (“The size of his waist has shrunk since he went on a diet.”)

Both are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Right: An answer or statement that is correct (“You’re right. The capital of Connecticut is Hartford.”)

Right: Politically, a term to describe Republicans & Conservatives (The Right strongly believes in the U.S. Constitution.”)

Write: To inscribe words onto paper or on other areas (“Let me just write a note before we leave, so if she shows up she’ll know where we are.”)

All 3 are pronounced the same

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Miscellaneous Items

  • Pro means for (“I am pro-life.”) It’s also a very common abbreviation of Professional
  • Anti means to be against or to dislike something (“I’m very anti-summer because I love wintry weather!”)
  • The & symbol is called an ampersand. It’s used as a substitute for the word and
  • The * symbol is called an asterisk. It’s used to let readers know that a more in-depth explanation (or disclaimer) about something they’ve read is provided elsewhere. It’s usually at the bottom of the same page or advertisement
  • A palindrome is a word that is spelled the same backward & forward, such as Level or Radar
  • You drive on a parkway & park in a driveway. I know it doesn’t make sense…but it is what it is
  • Flammable & Inflammable both mean the same thing: something combustible. (Very easily catches on fire) (“Don’t leave the newspaper on the stove, it’s very (in)flammable!)
  • “Literally” is overused & often misused. It should only be used when it exactly matches what you are saying. WRONG WAYS: “I was literally beside myself in anger.” “I literally ate a million doughnuts.” Those uses are wrong because both don’t make literal sense. RIGHT WAYS: “I literally ate an entire pizza.” If you did in fact eat a whole pizza, that would be a correct usage. “I read Chris’s spectacular novel literally overnight.” If that’s what you did, then that is also correct.
  • Vice-Versa means the reverse of something (“Let’s change it up. You do my job today, and vice-versa.”)
  • Deja-vu is the feeling that you’ve experienced something before that you don’t ever remember experiencing (“This is the first time I’ve eaten at this restaurant, but I can’t shake the feeling I’ve of having been here before. It must be deja-vu.”)
  • An Acronym is a term or phrase that is shortened into a much easier representative word (SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.”)
  • West Hartford, Connecticut native Noah Webster wrote the first American dictionary. As the United States had recently become independent from England, he dropped letters in words that he felt were unnecessary. That’s why British & Canadian words such as “Humour”, “Honour” & “Neighbour” are not spelled the same in America
  • Penultimate is the second-to-last of something (“This is the penultimate episode of this sitcom. The series will end after next week’s show.”) (“As they missed the playoffs yet again, this is the Buffalo Bills penultimate game of their season. There’s only one more game left.”)
  • A is used before words that begin with a consonant, (“What a tremendously gifted writer Chris is!”) while an is used before words that begin with a vowel (“Buying Chris’s books is an excellent decision.”) However, an exception for an exists with some words that begin with the consonant H (“Yorktown, Virginia is an historic site in American history.”) (“We make fresh bagels once an hour.)
  • Etcetera is a word that means and so forth or and so on (“For the family picnic let’s get several varieties of deli meat; turkey, ham, salami, etcetera.”) Etcetera in written form is almost always abbreviated to Etc.
  • Miscellaneous is a general term that refers to a variety of items, sometimes extra, that don’t fit into a specific category (“Please put the plates and glassware in this box, the utensils in that box, and all of the miscellaneous stuff from the junk drawer in this bag.”) In written form, miscellaneous is very often abbreviated to Misc.
  • Starboard & Port are nautical directional terms. On a boat or ship, starboard means right & port means left.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Jpeg front cover with bleeds

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

CJGSherlock1c

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

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*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page (on Facebook)

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist (on Facebook)

Ghost of a Chance (on Facebook)

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal (on Facebook)

The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm (on Facebook)

And That’s the Way it Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings (on Facebook)

Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota (on Facebook)

Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota (on Facebook)

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012: Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009: Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

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Published in: on May 30, 2017 at 1:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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