John T. Bird of Birmingham, Ala., is an old friend best known for writing Twin Killing: The Bill Mazeroski Story and successfully campaigning to get the longtime Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Lately Bird has put his energy behind mnemonic devices for spelling, as he prepares to publish Fuchsia Shock: 151 Common But Difficult Words You Will Never Misspell Again!
With illustrations by Stefanie Slaughter, Fuchsia Shock coaches us to associate exhilarating with hilarious. "Example: laughing in the theater at the hilarious movie was an exhilarating experience."
In one entry, Bird advises us to associate potato with NATO. Similarly, he advises us to think of currency to remember that second "r" in occurrence. When the book comes out, it should be a hit, although Bird and Slaughter may find themselves adding words in future editions.
A mnemonic device is one that assists the memory, from the Greek mnemon--mindful. (Mnemosyne was the Greek goddess of memory and the mother of the Muses by Zeus.)
We all know "I before e, except after c, or when sounded as "a", as in neighbor or weigh." Fewer people know the mnemonic sentence that can help us remember the major exceptions: "Neither leisure foreigner seized the weird heights."
FedEx executive Shane O'Connor writes, "I remember one class in which [Ferdinand E.] Ruge was teaching us a way to remember how to correctly spell “exhilarate,” since it is often misspelled “exhi lerate.” He stood in front of the class in his gray pinstriped three-piece suit and swung his pocket watch fob around as he sang, "La la la la la la la. Exhi-LA-rate exhi-LA-rate."
There is a rat in separate.
I have an independent dentist. (We also have an independent superintendent, who comes from Boston.)
The principal is my pal. "Principal" can also refer to a matter or thing of primary importance, or the capital sum placed at interest, due as a debt, or used as a fund, as in the principal of a loan.
A principle is a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine or assumption. As in, you are always true to your principles.
For the dance, your attendance is requested, just as it will be for you descendants.
A vast area was devastated.
Finally, something definite.
Like the letters you'll write on it, stationery has an "e" in it. (As opposed to stationary, or unmoving, objects.)
We're all all grateful for congratulations.
The U.S. Capitol building has a dome on it -- as do the "o"s in both words. Confusingly, Washington., D.C., is the capital of the United States.
Why? The former word comes from the Capitoleum , the temple of Jupiter at Rome that sat atop the Capitoline hill. The latter comes from the Latin capitalis, meaning chief, or principal, (derived from the Latin word caput, meaning "head"). All you have to remember is the building has a domed "o." All other meanings are with an "a."
How can you learn for sure to spell tough words, like occurrence, or accommodate? Or parallel? One good start is to pay a visit to Harbrace Chapter 18: Spelling and Hyphenation. The first seven pages are invaluable for anyone.