Rules – Rules- Rules

The sun is slowly rising over Central Pennsylvania while the cover of night quietly fades. Another hot and humid day is on the way. But that’s okay. I hear people say, “It’s too hot.” I hear the same people on a winter’s day say, “It’s too cold.” Some folks always have something to complain about. All the complaining in the world won’t change most of what we complain about. As I said many times before, you only get one shot at this thing called life. Make it count. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

Life is filled with rules. Most of us don’t like rules. But in reality, most rules are set in place for our good, and the writing world is no exception. It’s probably safe to say in fiction writing you can get away with breaking rules. But even at that, we need to keep grammar rules in place. Let me give you seven things to think about and apply as you write.

  1. A lot, alot, or allot? “A lot” can be an adverb or a pronoun. “Allot” is a verb. “Alot” is usually a misspelling of “a lot” and there is no such word.
  2. All right or alright?. “All right” is used to replace the word “okay.” The word “alright” doesn’t exist. You can use it, but it has no meaning.
  3. Is it E-mail or email? Both the AP and Chicago style guides agree. Drop the hyphen. It’s definitely “email.”
  4. Ensure or insure? “Insure” refers to financial insurance policies and “ensure” means to make certain.
  5. Raise or rise.? Both mean the same thing, but a subject “raises” an object while something that “rises” does it on its own. 
  6. Let alone or leave alone? “Leave alone” means to leave a person alone by himself. On the other hand, “let alone” means to quit annoying a person.
  7. Might or may?. “May” and “might” mean the same thing, but “may” hints you’re more likely to do it, while “might” signals you’re less likely to follow through.

Okay (or is OK or O.K.? – all three are correct), that does it for this week. Have a great week and stay COVID Free.


11 thoughts on “Rules – Rules- Rules

  1. William
    I had a discussion like this on Facebook recently, and while it was fun, we didn’t really solve things.
    Regarding “All right and Alright” the people discussing were adamant that ‘alright’ should never be used!
    Naturally, I disagreed, STRONGLY.
    English is the mother tongue in at least four nations, each of them have their own way of saying things, some of which make no sense to anyone else!
    ‘Alright’ is a slang expression, and while it’s not in the Queen’s English, if you’re going to portray English slang you will use it!
    Put ‘Are you all right?’ Into the mouth of an American night be written as “Ya’ll right ma’am?” but in the mouth of a Cockney (Londoner) it would be “Awright me darlin’?”
    Writers need to pay attention to dialect, it adds flavour to their writing.
    My view at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are great to know. I would love to see a second installment. I’ve had to look these types of words and phrases before, though not often. One I had to look up lately lie vs lay. Lay means to put or set something down. Lie means to be in or assume a horizontal position. She lay the pen down on the table.
    He lie in bed worrying about tomorrow. The lie one doesn’t sound natural. I think it is highly missed word in speaking as well as writing. Oh well. Bring on more of these. They are very helpful.

    I hope you are gaining strength and returning to good health.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great stuff today. I follow legal stuff a whole lot, and I would argue that precedence trumps written rules a whole lot of the time. Alright and alot not being words?

    Liked by 2 people

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