Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach

         I hope all of you enjoyed a fun, relaxing break, and return refreshed and energized for the
home stretch of a difficult and unprecedented 2021 school year.
         For those who will be returning for in-person learning, I hope it becomes a productive,
enjoyable, and safe experience for all students, faculty and staff.
         For some, the next several weeks will include preparing for AP Exams. If that includes you and
you are taking the AP English Language exam (or any exam that includes essay responses), feel
free to contact me if you have questions regarding thesis statements, organization/structure,
appropriate writing register, time management, or any other aspects of on-demand (timed)
         Email me at: dahatz@cox.net. I will send you a personal response and/or post it in my next
blog if I believe it is a question that could help most/all students (which most questions do).


Avoid Saying Very

         One of my ongoing goals in this blog is to provide tips and tricks to help students improve
their writing. And one easy way to improve your writing is to avoid using “very” as an adverb
when you are trying to emphasize or heighten the degree of the modified word.
         If you find yourself frequently using “very,” devoting time to finding a more concrete
(specific) word that accurately describes the point you are trying to convey improves your
writing and eliminates the need for “very.”
         I have posted examples in previous blogs. Here are some more to add these to your list:

                                                   Weak                                                  Better
                                             Very Serious                                          Solemn
                                             Very Poor                                               Destitute
                                             Very Creative                                         Innovative
                                             Very Painful                                           Excruciating
                                             Very Crowded                                        Packed
                                             Very Empty                                             Desolate (empty)
                                             Very Loose                                             Slack
                                             Very Lively                                              Animated
                                             Very Neat                                                Immaculate
                                             Very Often                                               Frequently
                                             Very Thirsty                                            Parched
                                             Very Tight                                               Constricting
                                             Very Cute                                                Adorable

The Hokey Pokey in the Elizabethan Era

         They didn’t have preschool when I was a child, but I remember learning “The Hokey Pokey”
at a young age, as, no doubt, most if not all of you did as well.
         Here’s a new take on this childhood favorite, courtesy of Grammarly.com. It is “The Hokey
Pokey” Shakespearean Style:

         O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
         Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
         Anon, once more the gesture, then begin;
           Command sinistral pedestal to write.
         Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Pokey.
           A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
         To spin! A wild release from heaven’s yoke.
           Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
         The Hoke, the poke – banish now they doubt
           Verily, I say, “tis what is all about.

Say What?

         Here’s another example of miscommunication because the speaker wasn’t clear in their
instructions. See if you can find the ambiguity.
         Mom (to her son): “Honey, please go to the store and buy a bottle of milk. If they have eggs,
bring six.
         The son dutifully went to the store and returned with six bottles of milk.
         Mom: “Why the heck did you buy SIX bottles of milk?”
         Son: “BECAUSE THEY HAD EGGS!”
         Do you understand why the son misunderstood?

Something to Think About

         I will close today’s session with a wonderful quote from best-selling American author James
Patterson. There is more than a measure of truth to his profound statement:
         “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids
who are reading the wrong books.”

Until next time, write on!

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