Contraction

Contraction: (n) a shortened form of a word or group of words

I have been considered a writer by entities other than my personal ego.

I am grateful for that nod—humbled by the notion that someone would actually like to read a few words that I have put into sentences as long as they funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cdon’t extend beyond three paragraphs.

I have often stopped and wondered if I should use the contraction “it’s” instead of “it is” or “I’m” instead of “I am.”

Here’s an easy one—“let’s” instead of “let us.” (No one says “let us” unless they’re doing medieval theater.)

When is it valuable to shorten something and when does the extension produce greater impact?

It’s a decision I make nearly every day. There are actually times when “do not” is more effective than “don’t.” Don’t you agree?

There are occasions when “we’ll” does not appear as the word “well” and may be an on-point insertion rather than the words “we will.”

But in my limited and less-than-touted-in-fame journey, I have found that when emphasis is needed, remove the contraction. For at that point, it more resembles a contraption.

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Arithmetic

dictionary with letter A

Arithmetic: (n) the branch of mathematics dealing with the manipulation and properties of numbers.

Arithmetic is definitely one of them.

It is one of the four basic skills required to maintain an adult life without constantly looking inept.

I wish I had known that when I was in high school. But fortunately, I did learn enough addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to handle my finance and everyday activities without always requiring a calculator in my hand, with numbers too tiny to punch.

Would you be curious about the other three?

Number 2. Reading.

Yes, often people ask us to read aloud–and if we stumble over words or are too slow, it is immediately surmised that we are mentally challenged.

3. Writing. Although grammar can be a naughty mistress or a nagging wife, there are certain qualifications necessary to be part of the human family. One should know that “you are,” as a contraction, is spelled y-o-u’r-e, not y-o-u-r.

If you are not familiar with several of these common mishaps-in-print, you will be laughed at by the snobs and bewilder the kinder folk.

4. Can you make a two-minute speech on your feet without spending 72 seconds of it explaining why you’re not good at it? We are a gregarious race, and demand that those around us have the ability to articulate their feelings without having too many a-a-h-s, umms, or … what was I saying?

Arithmetic is very important. Without it, things just don’t add up.

 

 

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Aren’t

dictionary with letter A

Aren’t: (contraction) are not.

Tricky business, this game of words.

One wise men said by them we are justified, or on occasion, condemned.

Aren’t is one of those words which has caused more trouble than we can imagine. It is the favorite contraction, and verb, of prejudice and bigotry. For after all, it has no personal application. I can’t turn to you and say, “I aren’t.”

The word is only applied to others, to limit their capabilities:

  • You aren’t pretty.
  • They aren’t talented.
  • We aren’t as dumb as they are.

It is a word without a mirror, peering at other planet-dwellers with a jaundiced eye and dipping into the well of our experience to determine their value.

It is always ambiguous and never leads to a sense of understanding. Even when we say something like, “They aren’t coming to the party,” hanging in the air is a sense of uncertainty about the reason for their absence.

Beware of words that are geared to attack others and have no function in revealing oneself.

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