Daily Archives: August 22, 2007

Grammar Wednesday

I know we’ve gone over some of these before, but this sign, in front of a local gifty-type shop, makes me think that a refresher course might not be a waste of time.


Stationary with an “a” means not moving, still, or fixed. The stationary pier was damaged by the unusually high tide.

Stationery with an “e” means writing paraphernalia – note cards, letterhead, and the like. If I could design my favorite stationery, it would be cream colored paper with tiny gold dragonflies in the top border.

(Just so you know, I went into the shop after I snapped the picture, and the lady behind the counter was actually grateful to me for pointing the error out. She said she thought that the sign didn’t look right, but she didn’t trust that her feelings were correct. Perhaps she’s a relative of yours, Kizz?)

How about a few more, just to round things out?

Adverse means hostile, unfavorable or harmful. The adverse weather conditions made the search and rescue mission particularly dangerous.

Averse means opposed to or disinclined. My students seem universally averse to homework.


Allude means to make an indirect reference. She alluded to her health problems, but I still don’t know what her diagnosis is.

Elude means to escape notice or detection. I can see the actor’s face in my mind, but his name continues to elude me.


THIS one is a huge problem in our house lately, and we’re not entirely sure why because, as early as a few months ago, the girls used these verbs correctly:

Can means to be capable of; it refers to an ability. She can play the flute, but she hasn’t learned to play the guitar.

May refers to permission. May I go to the movies with my friends on Thursday night?

Will is used to indicate acquiescence or willingness. Will you bring me the box from the top shelf of the closet, please?

Lately, the girls have been saying things like “May you please refill my water bottle.” We keep telling them, “MAY is permission, CAN is ability, WILL is willingness.” It’ll sink in at some point, I’m sure, but it hasn’t yet.

Remember that Grammar Wednesday topics are ALWAYS welcomed! Happy Wednesday, Everyone!


Filed under Grammar