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A Language All Their Own

Don’t think of grammar rules. Think of effectively communicating with your audience. Rules generally help, reinforce and enable that.

According to Mental Floss, unconsciously, native English speakers say adjectives preceding nouns in a specific order: opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material and purpose. It's why saying "old green metal chairs" sounds normal, but "metal green old chairs" sounds weird.

And we’re not just talking about the written word. Language is language regardless if it’s written on paper, on a computer, or even on a phone. Of course the earliest expressions of language were spoken and one could argue that the spoken word transcends all other forms of language.

Interestingly, arguably the most important part of the spoken word is listening. Want to listen better? You can learn from this guy who listens for a living.

Minding your P’s and Q’s

Of course we’re only human so mistakes do happen. According to Hubspot, these are the most common grammar mistakes: They're vs. Their vs. There. / Your vs. You're. / Its vs. It's. And, the most common punctuation mistakes: commas and semicolons. Confused? There is help from 11 Rules of Grammar in the English Language from the College of English Language.

Then again, language – especially English – can be tricky. Consider the contronym. A “contronym” is a word that’s its own opposite. For example: if you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.

As if that’s not bad enough, try deciphering language after it’s received an injection of political correctness. According to several sources, including, a trio of British museum organizations said they will avoid using the word “mummy” whenever possible, and swap it out with “mummified remains of” or “mummified person.”

Does this mean that The Three Stooges will have to change the title of their 1939 film short “We Want Our Mummy”?

“Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.”

— George Orwell, English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic

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