I’ve lost the list I made of topics for this class, and it’s driving me nuts! I had dozens of ideas, and now I’m totally drawing a blank as to what was on there. Granted, you’ve all given me some really great ideas, but some of them I’m giving to Ann for her “Jots and Tittles” grammar class, and some of them are too advanced for this class (or were covered in my previous class). So now, over the next several days, I need to try to re-create that list, and I’m just plumb annoyed at myself for having misplaced it. Grrrrrrr.
Deep breath…First, a re-cap of the last two lessons:
1. Use interesting words, especially your nouns and verbs. If you find that you’ve used a very generic word, ask yourself if there’s a more specific, “tastier” word that would be better.
2. Trim as many adjectives and adverbs (especially –ly adverbs) as you can, replacing them with better nouns and verbs.
And here’s today’s “Quick Take’ before I get to the real lesson:
Know the difference between its and it’s.
Give the cat its dangly toy. Notice that there’s no apostrophe there. The word is possessive, but no apostrophe is needed; think of the analogous words his, her, and hers. No apostrophe is necessary in possessive pronouns.
It’s amazing how Sophie eats nothing but Deli Cat and rubber bands. The apostrophe is needed because the contraction is a shortened version of it is. The apostrophe takes the place of the missing letter.
It’s been years since I was mistaken for Audrey Hepburn. Here, the two-word phrase is it has. Again, the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters.
When you type it’s, stop and re-read, substituting the words it is. If it’s not right, then remove its apostrophe.
Now here’s today’s lesson, but I’m going to present it backward, with an assignment first. Read the paragraphs that follow, and pick out the biggest error. (There may be several errors; I’m the author. But don’t worry about hurting my feelings.)
After a few people have commented—and I’m going to assume the error will be found pretty quickly—I’ll proceed with the lesson.
from “I Learn Something New About Millie”
I turn off the evening news and reach for my half-solved crossword puzzle. Opera tenor Schipa…The Saturday puzzle is notoriously difficult, but I am determined to finish it. Millie—my bride of sixty-seven years—teases me about my insistence that each puzzle be solved completely, in ink. She finds me silly, but there is something pleasing about the glide of ink on newsprint and a neatly completed black-and-white grid.
I looked away from my puzzle when I heard a small noise from Millie’s chair. She pushed herself slowly upward with an oof and shuffled to her sewing room, one hand on her troublesome hip. When she returned, she was carrying her sewing basket.
I cherished these quiet evening moments. From outside there was only the sound of amorous tree frogs; inside, the house held only echoes of memories. I returned to my puzzle, with an occasional glance at Millie, whose shapely legs still made my breath catch in my throat.
She is sewing a button on a shirt that I have not worn in a decade. Her reading glasses perch low on her nose; nevertheless, she holds the shirt close to her face and squints with each jab of the needle. Sometimes she puts the shirt down and flexes her fingers. They must ache—the evening is humid.
Think you’ve found it? If you’re pretty sure you know, hit ‘reply’ without reading others’ responses. If you’re not sure, go ahead and peek; it’s a casual class and no one will mind. I’ll be back later today or early tomorrow with the meat of the lesson.
Last edited by glorybee
on Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.