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Answers from above

Colons & Commas:

There were many athletes at the games: runners, jumper, shot-putters, and javelin throwers.

He is just like people say he is: an idiot and a bore.

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Word Play: Some more C

We continue our ‘Word Play’ pages with more of the letter ‘C’

Tricky spellings

Capricious – watch for the ‘c’ alone - means  a person or thing that's impulsive and unpredictable  

Caricature – say it slowly with a ‘cat’ in the middle - means  a satirical, exaggerated portrayal of person

Caustic – ‘au’ sound like ‘o’ as in off - means any chemical that is able to burn tissue or substances (e.g. Caustic Soda)

Cede – a sneaky but simple word sounding like seed - means to give up or surrender land, position, or authority


Understanding Conjunctions

A conjunction is a word that joins parts of a sentence

Some Examples:      

And  -  John ran all the way down the road and so was able to catch the bus   (joining one thing following on from another)

But -   She rarely paid attention class but still managed to pass her exams   (suggests a contrast)

Or -  You can study hard or you can fail  (suggests options)

Nor - I want neither riches nor fame  (links alternative possibilities) (always used with ‘neither

[Note pairs:  neither - nor      either - or]

Yet - She liked English the most yet she did best in Maths  (suggesting a contrast, used instead of ‘but’)

Others commonly used:  because    whereas     even though     than     that

Playing with Colons

A colon is like this -  :    (two dots)   A semi-colon is like this -   ;   (one dot and a comma)

A colon anticipates an explanation, list or general amplification that follows on, e.g.

His course of action was clearly laid down: he should leave the building immediately.

To travel abroad you need the following things: a passport, travel insurance and perhaps a visa

Exercise: Insert the colons and commas in the correct position in the following sentences:

There were many athletes at the games runners jumper shot-putters and javelin throwers.

He is just like people say he is an idiot and a bore.

A semi-colon, I was told in my younger years, was a half way between a full stop and a comma, where you didn’t want to quite come to a halt but needed to indicate more of a hesitation than a comma gives. Books on grammar speak about it being used in complex lists and to counteract the over use of conjunctions, for examples,

She sent an e-mail to branches in Boston, England;  Marseille, France; and Berlin, Germany

Shan was told that for her degree she would need to get good A-levels, particularly English; a knowledge of current affairs in the UK, Europe and Australia; and also obtain some practical experience in journalism beforehand.

‘C’s and ‘K’s and ‘S’s  

Be aware both c and k can sound hard, for example at the beginning of words

carrot      cauliflower    cactus     canoe     cage    cake    candle    cap  car

kangaroo      key        kettle        kid       king       kite     kitten  

‘C’ at the beginning also goes soft like an ‘s’ with some words -

cell       celery      centipede       circle       cylinder      city      circus      cymbals

‘S’ in its usual form goes soft with a sss sound -

sad     sack     sale      sail     sand     salad      saw     sea      season

But then ‘s’ and ‘c’ can go together to form a soft sss with the ‘c’ appearing silent, e.g.

Scene         science        scenic      scent

Later in words ‘c’ can be hard -

actor victim direct mica  scat  bacon  public  cactus  inflict  pecan

But sometimes it will be doubled up for strength -

stucco       hiccup     tobacco     buccaneer      occupy      succulent

However if a ‘c’ would be followed by an ‘e’ or an ‘i’ or a ‘y’ it is replaced by a ‘k’ -

Make      poker     kind     risky     skin      token    skill     keep    liking

Similarly if there was to be a ‘cc’ followed by an ‘e’ or an ‘i’ or a ‘y’ it is replaced by ‘ck’ -

lucky       picking      rocking     ducking      picnicking    stocking

Correcting Confused uses of words

Cannon & canon  - a cannon is a big gun on a ship, a canon is a senior priest or an authoritative collection  

Canvas & canvass  - canvas is what tents might be made out of. Would be politicians canvass (try to persuade) their voters

Capital & corporal (punishment)  - capital punishment is execution, corporal punishment may be beating (lesser physical)

Complement & compliment - a compliment is a congratulation, while, say, a salmon dish is complemented (enhanced) by white wine

We hope these things on this and every page will enable you to look on words with fresh or new eyes and understanding