Entries Tagged 'Just for Fun' ↓

Grammar lesson, Humphrey Bogart style

A rugged leading man gets a grammar lesson from his English-teacher leading lady. The 1940s flair adds a whole lot of fun!

Oh, and make sure to pay close attention to the credits. I missed this extra bit of subtle humor the first time through.

Bringing order and logic into the language

Many—like George Bernard Shaw—have complained about the inconsistencies of our language. Here are some helpful suggestios to bring order into it.

Exceptions are the greatest nuisance. Therefore let us be consistent:

Singular / Plural

Tooth / Teeth
Booth / Beeth
Goose / Geese
Bruise / Breeze
Noose / Niece
Look / Leek
Crook / Creek

Male / Female

Actor / Actress
Matter / Mattress
Butter / Buttress
Under / Undress
Needle / Needless
Supper / Suppress


The diminutive of:
Book is Booklet
Scar    Scarlet
Toy     Toilet
Ham     Hamlet
Bull      Bullet
Inn      Inlet

Collective Nouns

Jewelry   a collection of Jewels
Infantry   a collection of  Infants
Husbandry                     Husbands
Pantry                          Pants
Scullery                        Skulls
Flattery                        Flats
Factory                        Facts

From Little Book of Word Tricks. Copyright © 1958 Peter Pauper Press.

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Happy Friday!

More puns, please


If you’ve enjoyed some of my previous “punnish” posts, here’s another batch to brighten your Thursday. Happy punning!

  • The mime wanted to say something, but he wasn’t aloud.
  • Pencils could be made with erasers at both ends, but what would be the point?
  • After working for 24 hours straight he called it a day.
  • A baker stopped making donuts after he got tired of the hole thing.
  • My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned because I couldn’t concentrate.
  • I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure…
  • Have you heard about that online origami store? It folded.
  • I recently spent money on detergent to unclog my kitchen sink. It was money down the drain.
  • Sir Lancelot once had a very bad dream about his horse. It was a knight mare.

A murder of crows: Fun with collective nouns

A gaggle of geese.
A school of fish.
A flock of sheep.
A nest of hornets.

These animal groupings are called collective nouns, and I’m sure they’re well known to you and your kids. But have you heard of any of these?

A murder of crows.
A crash of rhinoceroses.
An unkindliness of ravens.
An exaltation of larks.
An implausibility of gnus.
A memory of elephants.

I love these! Could word usage be any more fun?

If you want to take a humorous trip down vocabulary lane, check out this link and learn all sorts of interesting collective nouns people have attributed to birds, fish, and mammals. From what I’ve gathered, some of the terms date back to the 1400s. Many may be archaic, but for the most part, they’re purely entertaining!

Fun with Words: Collective Nouns for Animals

I think it would be great to encourage your children to write a poem using these unusual animal groupings. Maybe we could call our collection a ponderance of poems.

Do you have a few favorites from the collective animal nouns list? Share them in the comments. And while you’re at it, why not make up a new collective noun of your own? I think a ponderance of poems is a great place to start!

[Edited: Sherri alerted me to a wonderful song by Carrie Newcomer called A Crash of Rhinoceros, about how Adam named the animals. You just have to check out these fabulous lyrics!]

Oh, deer: English language silliness

   The English Language

A pretty deer is dear to me,
   A hare with downy hair;
A hart I love with all my heart,
   But I can barely bear a bear.

‘Tis plain that no one takes a plane
   To have a pair of pears.
All rays raise thyme, time razes all;
   And through the whole, hole wears.

A writ, in writing “right” may write
   It “wright” and still be wrong—
For “write” and “rite” are neither “right,”
   And don’t to write belong.

Beer often brings a bier to man,
   Coughing a coffin brings,
And too much ale will make us ail,
   As well as other things.

The person lies who says he lies
   When he is but reclining;
And, when consumptive folks decline,
   They all decline declining.

A quail won’t quail before a storm—
   A bough will bow before it;
We can not rein the rain at all—
   No earthly power reigns o’er it.

The dyer dyes awhile, then dies;
   To dye he’s always trying,
Until upon his dying-bed
   He thinks no more of dyeing.

A son of Mars mars many a sun;
   All days must have their days,
And every knight should pray each night
   To Him who weighs his ways.

‘Tis meet that man should mete out meat
   To feed misfortune’s son;
The fair should fare on love alone,
   Else one can not be won.

The springs spring forth in Spring, and shoots
   Shoot forward one and all;
Though Summer kills the flowers, it leaves
   The leaves to fall in Fall.

I would a story here commence,
   But you might think it stale;
So we’ll suppose that we have reached
   The tail end of our tale.

From Eclectic Magazine, January 1881

. . . . .

The author of this poem uses many homophones to create plays on words. But if some of these homophones regularly give your children trouble, consider All About Homophones, a wonderful resource that clearly teaches homophone spelling rules with fun games and activities. Contains exercises for grades 1-8.

The little problem of . . . apostrophe’s?

It’s such a small thing, really—this simple little punctuation mark called the apostrophe. If used correctly, no one pays it any mind. But when it’s misused, we have what ‘s known as an Apostrophe Catastrophe. Let me submit a few for your Wordless Wednesday pleasure.

This first one is a fine specimen of botched punctuation. Who knew the lowly comma could also double as a misplaced apostrophe?

This next one gives us a double dose of enjoyment: Bad punctuation and bad spelling. How sad. Only three words and they messed up two of them!


And finally, a sample of professional workmanship. Perhaps I’ll take my business elsewhere.

. . . . .

Stop by every 1st and 3rd Wednesday for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!

Do you need a grammar brush-up?

How’s your grammar?

The tiny apostrophe can wield big power. Used incorrectly, it can affect an essay grade, a college application, or even a job promotion.

In truth, poor grammar skills can label you as uneducated or incompetent. You don’t have to be an English nerd, but it is important to use grammar and punctuation correctly—and to teach your children proper skills as well.

Take the quiz

Here’s a little quiz to help you identify whether you fall prey to some of the most common errors of grammar and punctuation. I’ll post the key tomorrow.

Directions: Read the following sentences. A sentence may be correct as is, or it may contain an error. (If you’re brave enough to take up the challenge, I hope you’ll share your answers in the comment section.)


1.  Your kidding! The Panthers won the championship?

2.  Emily’s dog had a thorn in it’s left paw.

3.  This is their first trip to California.

4.  Our homeschool group went to the zoo, we had a great time.

5.  Last night, we went to the Franklin’s for dinner.

6.  Amazingly, there wasn’t a scratch on its fender.

7.  My friend Jason is a genius he won a math scholarship.

8.  We took it for granite that Grandpa would always be with us.

9.  Aunt Lucy visited the museum with my family and me.

10.  I shouldn’t of worn white slacks to the spaghetti dinner.

. . . . .

Have fun with this . . . and check back tomorrow to see how you did!

Misspellers’ sanctuary?

The spelling just doesn’t add up.

. . . . .

Stop by every 1st and 3rd Wednesday for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!

Lost in translation

It just goes to show that you can’t always trust your Chinese-English dictionary. For starters, how about a box of crackers complete with an excellent dose of delicious food?


Even better, you can dig into a package of biscuit snacks bursting with that ever-popular “burned meat” flavor.


Strange juice, eh? I think I’ll pass.


And finally, here’s an excellent tip. I’m making a mental note right now.

Above photo: Christopher / CC BY 2.0

  . . . . .

Stop by every 1st and 3rd Wednesday (and an occasional fifth Wednesday) for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!

Guaranteed . . . in writing

I spy with my little eye . . . someone (cough, cough) who needs a writing tutor.


. . . . .

Stop by every 1st and 3rd Wednesday for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!

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