Tag Archives: Grammar time

Capitalising Seasons

birtish-weatherSpring, summer, autumn (or fall) and winter generally do not need capital letters. So why do people write them with capitals so often?

Well they do take capitals as part of proper nouns, like the names of events, e.g. ‘Winter Olympics’.

Also, months have initial capital letters and they’re the other unit we regularly split the year into. My favourite summer month is June.

They need capitals at the beginning of sentences too, obviously.

Otherwise, all small case please. Thanks!

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Filed under Common Errors, Editing, Proofreading

Morphemes

Morphemes, not be be confused with Morph memes.

Morphemes, not be be confused with Morph memes.

Morphemes are the smallest unit of language that can convey meaning; they cannot be broken down any further into meaningful units.

For example, the word unshockable is made up of three morphemes
un-,  shock, and -able.

Shock is a free morpheme because it can be used alone as a complete unit – it is free of other morphemes.

Un- and -able are bound morphemes because they modify a free morpheme. Even though they are not words in their own right, they do have meaning: un- means ‘not’ and -able means ‘able to be’.

Understanding morphemes has been shown to improve spelling – do you remember teachers saying, ‘break it down into chunks’? For example, the suffix
-ian usually refers to a person, so we known that magician is spelt magic
-ian
, rather than magic -ion.

funny-magician-Abra-Kadabra
As a writer you can broaden your vocabulary, or even invent words more cogently, by breaking them down and combining the appropriate morphemes. 
Sometimes, flow can be improved by looking at words that have multiple morphemes and replacing them with a single morpheme. One example would be replacing uncomplicated (three morphemes) with simple (one morpheme). 

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