This is a Perfect Example of What is Wrong With Our Education System

I am sure you have already had a good laugh from this image. Unfortunately, it is one of many examples of people trying to make points about how they are in control of their education, and know what is going on, yet they cannot spell simple words.

Unfortunately, this embarrassment will follow this hopefully-not-teaching-your-children person for the rest of her life.

Test Score Image

I am pretty sure I know what your test score is going to be…

So, my whole point here, was than versus then.

As I like to not get into the rules-and-regulations of my AP English classes eons ago when I was in high school, or the APA and Purdue formatting rules. I am going to keep this simple.

Then = next, after, also, as well

Than = instead of, in place of, not to be confused with.

Confused? Me too. Some examples…

I would rather sleep in than get up early to go fishing.

I am going to go fishing, and then come home and have breakfast.

I will fix the sink for you, then I am going out.

I would rather eat dirt than have this conversation with you.

Do these two words get you caught up? What words get you caught up that drive you mad?

Let me know, and I will post some solutions!

Happy writing, and happy reading!

The Words I Struggle To Spell

There are about 4 words that I cannot ever spell right. (Maybe less, maybe more. We will see after I remember them all, and yes, I am not changing the start of this paragraph).

Immediately. Seriously. Every time I have to spell this word, I have to question myself.

Cemetery. Here is how I spell it; every, single, time. Cemetary.

Bethlehem. Yep. I have read the Bible so much it is ridiculous that I can’t spell this word. But here is how I do spell it: Bethleham.

(I have to say, all of these red-squiggly lines under my misspelled words is traumatizing).

Eligible. Yep, I will be eligable all day long for spelling this wrong.

Okay, there are 3. And it is too painful for me to go on. But as I come across the others as I am at work, writing emails and trying to act like an adult; I will take note and let you know!

They’re on their way, and will call you when they get there.

How difficult is that to say? Try writing it. Possessive nouns, adjectives, and verbs will drive you mad.

They’re is means they are…. But how did we get won’t from will not? How did we make that leap?

The English language is the most difficult language to learn. And now try writing a story in it.

While dealing with your crazy-nutcase-editor who tells you I-before-E and pay attention.

I have 4 pages full of these instances and how to learn them fast, so you can write your book and let your editor do the hard work.

More to come tomorrow!

Editing For Dialect

My biggest concern when editing a story that uses a specific dialect, is that not everyone may understand that is what is going on, and think I am a terrible, hack-job editor.

I am currently editing a story that uses dialect different than you find in the majority of English written books. The dialect being used is not a heavy accent that portrays someone who lives in the Deep South, or New England, or the likes. It is not a play on the words so much, as it is that there are words missing.

Words are missing because the characters in the story use English as a second language. I am sure we have all had the pleasure of meeting an interesting person who did not use English as their main way of communicating. So you have a conversation that seems almost abbreviated, with the ‘extra’ words that are used in the English language not being used when someone is using English as their second language.

Have you heard that the English language is the hardest language to learn? It is true. More than any other language, the English language has so many “rules and regulations” concerning the use of it, that it can be difficult for pretty much anyone to use it correctly, even if it is the only language they know.

So for an example, what you might read is the following; “She found him at bus station.” If I were writing the story, I would say “She found him at the bus station.” I see nothing wrong with writing a story this way, when it is necessary to set the scene and make it authentic.

I am currently editing a story by a very talented author, and it took about 3 sentences into the second chapter where the characters were having a conversation for me to realize that what I thought were errors, were intentional. The main characters use English as their second language. I think if the author did not write it using this dialect, it would take away from the story.

Which brings me back to my main concern; will everyone who reads this story understand that it is supposed to be written in that style? I think I am pretty safe, as it is a very in-depth story and one that will interest a specific genre.

If you are a writer, do you use dialect in specific novels you write to lend authenticity to your story?

Kuhstedtermoor – Helen Waldron

Kuhstedtermoor by Helen Waldron is certainly a book that is different than what I would normally read. At least I thought so at first. I was unsure what to expect when reading a story set in Germany, with some German words and dialect thrown in, as I am not familiar with Germany, per-se.

Kuhstedtermoor in the Winter. Courtesy of Helen Waldron.
Kuhstedtermoor in the Winter. Courtesy of Helen Waldron.

I was very pleasantly surprised as I was at the beginning of the story, and kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter!” It pulled me in right from the start, and it took some chaotic Christmas holiday events and personal family issues to make me put the story down for more than a day.

This story is written in the first-person, but you also get to experience the intertwining lives of the people in this small German town on a very personal level. On the outside, it appears as any regular run-of-the-mill small town where everyone knows everybody, including their secrets. But not all of their secrets.

Each character is intertwined with the next, but it did not feel cluttered or complicated. It felt like I was observing the people of Kuhstedtermoor from the outside, looking in. A silent watcher of the personal triumphs and tragedies of the townspeople, like seeing someone on the wrong path that you know you cannot help.

My almost-strict rule of no spoilers holds true for this story, but I will give you the scenario. A woman, new to Kuhstedtermoor, slowly gets to know the residents, even though she feels like an outsider; so very different from everyone else who lives there. As one young girl goes missing, the town gathers to search for her. With no trace or clues, the woman continues to watch, observe, and try to fit in. Gossip is idle, and contagious, and then girl #2 disappears.

You hope for the best, while expecting the worst, and will be turning pages until you get to the ending! At 22 chapters, this is a quick read (minus any personal-life interruptions!) and you will be glad you spent your time getting to know the residents of Kuhstedtermoor.

Kuhstedtermoor is the first part of The History Lovers trilogy and Helen Waldron’s first novel.

Helen Waldron Portrait light 6

Helen works as an English Language Coach in Hamburg and has created a blog about the day-to-day business of two such language professionals which can be found here: