Magic Spell Jar – Post Five (21-25)

21. Rack, Wrack –

Rack – is a place to keep or put things, like a clothes rack or a cue rack. But also in medieval torture chambers they often had a rack.  They attached people to it and stretched them as a means of torture.  None of us want any personal experience with a torture rack.

Wrack – is most often used in “wrack your brain” – to attempt to wring out particular memories.  Another fairly common phrase is “wrack and ruin,” usually referring to the wreckage of  one’s life or emotional state.

22. Regimen, Regiment – This is included because the nurses at the nursing home never did get it right.

Regimen – is a schedule or plan for administering drugs – or a plan that you adhere to for other things, like exercise.

Regiment – is a military grouping or division.  The nurses insisted the drugs were administered according to regiment. I always pictured this whole mess of soldiers forcing the pills down the poor old people’s throats.

23. Ring, Wring

Ring – Ah, ring has so many meanings: a precious piece of jewelry for your finger, a sound a bell makes, a mark around a collar or bathtub, and age indicator within a tree, and more.

Wring –  Wring basically is to twist something with the intent of extracting, like to wring out your laundry to extract the excess water before hanging it to dry.  You may have heard the expression “wring your neck.”  When you wring something’s neck you are still extracting something – in this case the life of the victim.  But when someone says, “I’ll wring your neck for saying that,” in this country it is an idle threat, meaning they won’t really follow through on it.  In some countries I suspect you should take a comment like that seriously


.24. Separate – means set apart – this word gives some people trouble. Just remember there is a rat in separate.


25. Shudders, Shutters –

I include this because an English teacher whose blog I follow interchanged them and just this evening I saw the same mistake on another blog.

Shudder is something you do – a tremor usually associated with being cold, frightened, or disgusted.  You might say, “He shuddered when the dragon roared.”  Or the congealed food on the plate made me shudder .

Shutter is a usually something you shut.  You have shutters over your windows or you can shutter your eyes which does not mean close them but to close off any expression in them.  I don’t know how to do that, but I’ve read about it.  Shutter can also be the person or mechanism that shuts something.

Magic Spell Jar Post Four (16-20)

Look for the Spell jar instructions under Craft

16. Its and It’s

This is very confusing.

It’s (with an apostrophe) is a contraction for it is. 

Its (without an apostrophe) shows possession like the color of something,  such as     its eyes were blue.

The reason this is so confusing to me is that to show possession you usually use an       apostrophe, like the murderer’s  weapon was discarded.  As far as I know, its is the         only possessive that does NOT use an apostrophe. It’s very confusing, and I have to     stop and consider whenever I use this goofy little three-letter word.

17. Knit, nitpronounced alike but mean refer to different things

Nit is a little tiny word for a little tiny bug, also used in the expression nitwit.  That           means the brains of a bug or a tiny brain.  This is generally considered an insult.             Unless you are an entomologist who admires bugs.

Knit with a “K” is a type of sewing.  Actually it is more like specialized knot tying than     sewing. Easy spelling hint: Knit and Knot both begin with a “K.”

Here’s a little poem about the silent K:

Use a K with knit and knot, But for the bug do not

18. Knotted, nodded – knot, not, naught –

Knotted means tied, like a knot in a string 

Nodded means bobbed your head, but if you bobbed your hair, you cut and styled it     in a certain way. 

Knot is a tie in a string,

Not is no way. It is not the same as naught which means nothing.

Naught is a more old fashioned word and means nothing.  A fairly common phrase         is “All for naught,”  which means it was all for nothing, nothing came of it.

When speaking about language, not and naught are called negative words.

19. Metal, Medal, Mettle 

Metal is a type of matter, it is not plastic, nor glass, nor earthen. It is metal, like gold,     silver, tin, iron — 

A medal can be made from metal and often is, but not always.  You are awarded a       medal for something outstanding that you have done or accomplished – sometimes a huge medallion disk (like for the Olympic games) usually a  badge suitable for pinning to clothing, but not the same as a law enforcement badge

Mettle is an inherent strength of spirit or character.  If you are given a task that will         take ages to get through, your mettle will be tested.  Or it takes a lot of mettle to practice until you win a gold medal.

20. Phase, Faze, Face

Face and phase sound alike but faze has a buzzy sound at the end,

Phase is a period of time in development – As he’s just going through a phase.  At         this phase the chemistry experiment should sizzle but not explode.

Faze is an effect or having an effect emotionally, like meeting the dragon did not             seem to faze  him.

Face, of course, is what you see in the mirror every morning. It should not be used in     place of faze, but face can be a verb, too, as in – I can’t face another day without             dragons – or – to begin the hockey game, the centers will face off.