Author Topic: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes  (Read 968 times)

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White Dragon

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Didn't want to derail Special Snowflakes with any more grammar and spelling trivia.

Here's a rule I did not learn until I taught my kids to read- the letter C is vowel controlled. Its pronunciation depends on the vowel which follows.

The rule is

When C walks with U, O, A
Then it makes the sound of K.

When it walks with all the rest,
Then it makes the sound of S


edited to clarify which vowel
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 02:30:51 PM by White Dragon »

jmarvellous

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 02:19:53 PM »
I don't know what "walks with" means in that rhyme, but just looking at the "c" words on the page where this thread was posted, I'm left questioning the usefulness of that rule:
Special
Pronunciation
Machines
Seconds (confused b/c it has an E before it and O afterward)
Change
Controlled (check!)
Color (check!)
Coffee (check!)
Civil (check!)
Discussions (check!)
Maintenance (check!)
Since (check!)

Maybe you can clarify?

cicero

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 02:22:13 PM »
That's so cool, I never realized that.

I always assume everyone knows the I before e rule:

I before E
When the sound is *ee*
Except after C
Except neither had leisure to seize her, how weird!
( though I think there are a few more exceptions that didn't make the list).

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cicero

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 02:25:09 PM »
I don't know what "walks with" means in that rhyme, but just looking at the "c" words on the page where this thread was posted, I'm left questioning the usefulness of that rule:
Special
Pronunciation
Machines
Seconds (confused b/c it has an E before it and O afterward)
Change
Controlled (check!)
Color (check!)
Coffee (check!)
Civil (check!)
Discussions (check!)
Maintenance (check!)
Since (check!)

Maybe you can clarify?
I'm not the OP but I think the pronunciation of the 'c' is determined by the consonant that follows ( I guess that's the"walks with")

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White Dragon

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 02:28:48 PM »
In this case, walks with means "is followed by".

I do see what you mean by how "special" is a special case, since it is more sh than s, but the rule does lead the reader to a soft sound, not the hard k sound.

Pen^2

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2013, 02:40:13 PM »
The walks with rhyme is cool, but it doesn't nearly cover all cases, as jmarvellous pointed out.

Easier:

When c is followed by e, i, or y, it becomes soft (makes a 's' sound). The exceptions are when it is part of a common suffix, e.g. 'cial', 'cious', 'ciate', 'cian', where the c makes a 'sh' sound. There might be one more such affix, but for the life of me I can't remember it right now.

Wiki lists about 20 words where the soft c rule doesn't apply (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:List_of_English_words_where_C_is_pronounced_exceptionally) but of these, maybe 5 (at a stretch) are known by the average adult. "Coelacanth" isn't exactly common. I have about 10 more such words in my own lists, but these words are hideously unusual and highly specific to narrow areas of academia.

cabbageweevil

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 03:42:49 PM »
That's so cool, I never realized that.

I always assume everyone knows the I before e rule:

I before E
When the sound is *ee*
Except after C
Except neither had leisure to seize her, how weird!
( though I think there are a few more exceptions that didn't make the list).

And in British English (in England, anyway), we pronounce neither as "nye-ther"; and leisure, to rhyme with pleasure. Altogether, as regards English and spelling vis-a-vis pronunciation, I'm inclined to feel: for any supposed rule, there are more exceptions to it than instances of observing it -- just give up, and let the chips fly as they may !

JenJay

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2013, 06:57:41 PM »
The best tip I've heard is for determining whether to use "I" or "me". I read that you should imagine removing the other person from the sentence and see which sounds correct, then add them back in and go with that. Are there any uses where that doesn't apply or is it a solid rule?

Clockwork Banana

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2013, 07:21:13 PM »
The best tip I've heard is for determining whether to use "I" or "me". I read that you should imagine removing the other person from the sentence and see which sounds correct, then add them back in and go with that. Are there any uses where that doesn't apply or is it a solid rule?

Me can't think of one. ;D

Subjunctives always used to mess me up ('If I were a rich woman' vs 'If I was a rich woman') until somebody explained that one uses 'were' if the situation is untrue, and 'was' if the situation is in the realm of reality or possibility.

I am not in fact a rich woman.  Therefore, the correct version is the first one.

However, it would be 'If I was at your door last night, you would have known it'.

I think I got that right.

MOM21SON

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2013, 08:36:24 PM »
canceled and cancelled are both acceptable and yet people still seem to want to correct people.

Slartibartfast

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2013, 11:59:49 PM »
The best tip I've heard is for determining whether to use "I" or "me". I read that you should imagine removing the other person from the sentence and see which sounds correct, then add them back in and go with that. Are there any uses where that doesn't apply or is it a solid rule?

Me can't think of one. ;D

Subjunctives always used to mess me up ('If I were a rich woman' vs 'If I was a rich woman') until somebody explained that one uses 'were' if the situation is untrue, and 'was' if the situation is in the realm of reality or possibility.

I am not in fact a rich woman.  Therefore, the correct version is the first one.

However, it would be 'If I was at your door last night, you would have known it'.

I think I got that right.

Not quite  :)  "Were" is for when the situation is hypothetical, whether or not it's plausible.  So "If I were running that marathon, I'd be exhausted."  Doesn't matter whether it's "going to the store" or "living on Mars," it's still hypothetical as long as you're not talking about a time you were actually at the store or on Mars.  I would be exhausted if I were to run that marathon (which I haven't done).

"Was" is for when you're talking about something that actually happened - "If I was running that marathon, I was probably exhausted."  The speaker doesn't say she definitely was running in the marathon, but is giving a statement ("I was exhausted") which is conditionally true if we assume the preceding statement "I was running that marathon" was true.  I don't know if I actually ran in that marathon or not, but assuming I did, I must have been exhausted.

doodlemor

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2013, 03:45:53 PM »
Here is the short version of the *Evil I story,*  that I thought up to teach elementary children whether to use *s* or *ies* to form the plural when a singular noun ends in **y.**

Poor *Y* is the most exhausted and overworked in the alphabet, because he has to be both a vowel and a consonant.  He is a vowel in words like dye and lady, and usually says *i* [long i sound] or *e* [long e sound.]  Sometimes he is a consonant in words like yak and yellow.  [Cue more examples of each at the chalkboard. Somewhere at this point also I'd usually let the kids walk around slowly a bit, all slumped over, pretending to be tired *Y*'s.]

The nasty/bad/evil **i** wants to take Y's job away from him when he is unprotected at the end of a word.  *Evil i*  is helped by his terrible henchmen e and s.  [Cue examples at board - baby to babies etc.]

However, the vowels are the good guys of the alphabet, the *bodyguards.*  When *Y* is at the end of a word and has a vowel bodyguard beside him, he is safe and protected.  The word can be plural with just an *s*.  [Cue examples at board - day to days, donkey to donkeys etc.]

It was always noted that the henchman "e" of "ies" did have a good twin who was stronger and was a bodyguard.

bopper

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Re: "I never knew..." grammar tips and tricks s/o from Special Snowflakes
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2013, 03:53:53 PM »