Table of Contents
Right, not left
Write on paper
Rite as ritual
(See Note1 below for explanation of “-ight”)
In directions, right is the opposite of left. Although one’s heart is really in the middle, we put our right hand over the left side of our chest to pledge allegiance.
In other uses, right is correct, the opposite of wrong. When a teacher checks a student’s paper, she subtracts the number wrong from the total points. That score is the number right.
Another meaning for the word is “exactly” (as an adverb).
Right can also be a noun, something which a person has a legal claim to do, such as the right to vote or the right to protest.
- Following the map, she turned to the right to go in the right direction to go home.
- Her mother was glad to see her. “You’re right on time. Go wash up and we will eat right away.”
- Because he was anger, her brother did not sit in the right chair, just to the right of his father.
- The Constitution of the United States gives its citizens more than those listeed in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments.
(See Note2 below for explanation of silent “w”)
In the old days, people drew pictures on the walls of their caves. Egyptians and others wrote hieroglyphics on stone tablets or carved them on monuments. The Chinese created symbols for syllables. When an alphabet was created, each letter represented a sound in a word, so spelling was born.
Some people write stories by hand, using a pen or pencil to put the words on paper. Others tap keys on a typewriter or a computer keyboard. Computers now allow people to say the words while the program writes them on the screen.
Writing is one of the most important means of communication in our days.
- “You should write a letter to Aunt Bessie to thank her,” Mother suggested.
- “I don’t like to write by hand. May I write her an email?”
- Mother sighed. “Yes, you may write it in braille if you wish. Just write it.”
- “She doesn’t see well. Will she be able to read what I write if I use a larger font?”
A rite is a ceremonial procedure performed to observe a special event in the life of the group. Religions have rites to celebrate births, acceptance into their group, marriages, deaths, etc. Schools celebrate graduation of their students. Some companies have annual appreciation dinners to recognize outstanding employees.
- The annual rite of a birthday party includes having cake.
- Some people consider Halloween trick-or-treating to be a pagan rite.
- Graduation from high school is a rite of passage.
- They asked if it was right to write their own vows for their rite of marriage.
(Note1: English is a complicated language, but you already knew that. It is a mixture of numerous language, including German. In German, the silent “gh” is pronounced by making a rasp in the back of the throat, not a sound we use in English. However, when the words (light, might, tight, eight, etc.) came into English, their spelling came with them. The spelling came, but the “gh” became silent or turned into an “f” sound, as in “enough.”
To further confuse the issue, when the printing press was developed, English spelling had not become completely standardized. Not all printers used the same spelling for words. [Source: Joshua Engel.])
(Note2: The silent “w” usually occurs in the beginning of a word and frequently is followed by an “r” [write, wrestle, wrist, wrap] or, less commonly, an “h” [who, what, when, why]. As with the “gh” in Note1, the “w” was pronounced in earlier centuries, but it lost its sound somewhere between 1450 and 1700. Pronunciation of words changes slowly, but the spelling tends to hang on forever. [Source: Lillian.])