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  • Word Matrix: Tract

    <tract> “draw, drag, move,” from stem of trahere “to pull, draw” Words Sums Tract -> tract Tract + s -> tracts Tract +...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 4, 2021
  • Word Matrix: Augur(e)

    <augur(e)> “predict, foretell” from French inauguration and directly from Late Latin inaugurationem, presumably originally “installment under good omens,” from in– “on,...

    Heather JohnsonJanuary 19, 2021
  • Word Matrix: Thank

    <thank> “thought, gratitude; think, feel,” from Old English þancian, þoncian, compare related Old English noun þanc, þonc Words Sums Thank + s -> thanks Thank...

    Heather JohnsonNovember 13, 2020
  • English Sentences: From Declarative to Interrogative

    Two types of sentences in English are declarative sentences and interrogative sentences. Declarative sentences, or declarations, convey information or make statements....

    Heather JohnsonJuly 25, 2020
  • Word Matrix: Sign

    <sign> from Latin signum “identifying mark, token, indication, symbol; proof” Words Sums (248) Sign -> sign Sign + s -> signs...

    Heather JohnsonJuly 17, 2020
  • Introducing ‘Teach a Student to Read’

    If you have been following along on my LinguisticsGirl Twitter feed, you know that I have been working on a reading...

    Heather JohnsonJuly 1, 2020
  • The Habitual ‘be’

    What is the habitual be? Who uses the habitual be? I began writing this post a few months ago as I...

    Heather JohnsonJune 27, 2020
  • English Nouns: Common and Proper

    A noun can be defined semantically as “a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea.” In English, nouns can...

    Heather JohnsonJune 25, 2020
  • Grammarposium: Nouns, Adjectives, and Determiners

    I am excited to announce my first Grammarposium: Nouns, Adjectives, and Determiners. The online, real-time class offers an exploration of the...

    Heather JohnsonMay 24, 2020
  • Thieves, Knives, and Chiefs and English Plurals

    English is rule-based. I repeat: Like all languages, English is rule-based. A tweet recently appeared in my Twitter feed in which...

    Heather JohnsonMay 3, 2020
  • The Word ‘another’ Is Not an Adjective

    If I had to pick a single grammar topic to focus on for the rest of my life, I would likely...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 6, 2020
  • Zero Phones and Markers: Not All Letters Spell Sounds

    Writing is not sounds written down. The primary function of English spelling is to represent meaning. Sounds do matter, but not...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 29, 2020
  • Is “Some Years Back” Grammatically Correct?

    Earlier today I came across a tweet that argued against the use of the word back in the phrase some years...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 4, 2020
  • Why Are <talk>, <walk>, and <stalk> Spelled with <l>?

    Yesterday I introduced my 5-year-old to the words <talk> and <walk>. He knows that graphemes can spell sounds, specifically that <l>...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 3, 2020
  • Why Is <broad> Spelled with the <oa> Digraph?

    Yesterday I posted on my social media about the spelling of the word <broad>. I just introduced the <oa> grapheme to...

    Heather JohnsonJanuary 23, 2020