Frank and Ernest by Bob Thaves

What's wrong with this picture?   
       “Frank & Ernest” by Bob Thaves is one of my favorite comic strips (other than those found in Las Vegas, if you get my drift) because it (he) uses words so well. Many of his cartoons are plays on words (such as my Vegas reference, though he's better at it than I) — and wonderfully executed. But even the best can make a mistake. Can you spot, wordsmiths that you are, the one in this cartoon? It's a common mistake, one you'll likely run into at some point. Answer below.

12 reasonible reasonable suggestions
     There are exceptions to most rules of spelling, but the following 12 suggestions can be useful in spelling many words correctly. 

     1. Make it “i” before “e” except after “c” or when sounded like “a” as in neighbor and weigh. 
     Notable exceptions include: caffeine, codeine, eider, either, feisty, heifer, height, heist, leisure, neither, protein,seismic, seize, stein, weird and words with “re” as a prefix and a root that begins with the letter “i” such as reinforce. 

    2. To add a suffix to a word ending in the letter “y,” change the “y” to “i” (angry, angrily) unless the letter preceding the “y” is a vowel or the suffix begins withan “i” (annoy, annoying). 

    3. A final silent “e”usually is dropped before a suffix beginning with a vowel (advise, advising) but retained before a suffix beginning with a consonant (awe, awesome). The silent “e” is retained on words that might be confused with other words if the “e” were dropped (singe, singeing). The silent “e” is dropped before a suffix beginning with a consonant in some common words (judge, judgment). A few words ending in “ie” in which the “e” is silent change “ie” to “y” before adding “ing” (die, dying). 

    4. The letter “k” is usually added to words ending in “c” before a suffix beginning with “e,” “i” or “y” (picnic, picnicking). 

    5. Words of one syllable or words with the last syllable accented and ending with a consonant double the consonant when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel (stop, stopped, occur, occurred). 

    6. Words ending in a final consonant preceded by two vowels do not double the final consonant (need, needed). 

    7. When two words are combined and the first ends with the same letter with which the last begins, include both letters (withhold). 

    8. Words ending in “able” generally are formed by tacking “able” onto the entire word (accept, acceptable), but words ending in “ible” generally are formed by tacking “ible” to the root of the word that cannot stand alone (forcible). 

    9. When the plural of a noun is pronounced as another syllable, add “es” instead of “s” (church, churches). 

    10. Create the plural of a noun ending in “o” preceded by a vowel by adding an “s” (radio, radios). For a noun ending in “o” preceded by a consonant, add “es” (potato, potatoes). In some circles this is known as the Dan Quayle Memorial Rule

    11. In choosing between “ede” and “eed” spellings, remember that only five common words use the double “e”: deed, exceed, indeed, proceed and succeed. 

    12. In choosing between “ify” and “efy” endings, remember that only four commonly used words end in “efy”: liquefy, putrefy, rarefy and stupefy. 

    Oh, the best way to learn to spell correctly? 


Warped by Mike Cavna
     Answer to “Frank & Ernest”: It should be “Colombian,” not “Columbian.” Colombia with an “o” is the South American country; Columbia with a “u” is the capital of South Carolina, a university in New York City (that happens to have a fair-to-middling journalism school, too), and the city where KU's chief rival, MU, squats. The variations stem from Christopher Columbus (Anglo spelling) and Cristoforo Colombo (Italian spelling). Now you know (and now you'll never miss it, thanks to Bob Thaves and “Frank and Ernest”).

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