Sublime Specimens of the Past Tense

me_wants_your_heart_by_xsusanstohelitx-d688xwvWelcome, dear readers, to the next installment of my verb tenses posts. Last time, we looked at the present tense. Today, we’re going to look at the past tense and its different forms.

But first, I want to tell you a bit more about my ultra-secret project, which will launch on October 1st. Continue reading

Allude, Elude, and Illude: What’s the Difference?

1967 black Chevrolet ImpalaI was reading an article earlier today and noticed the writer had used allude instead of elude, so I thought I’d write about the difference between those two words—and figured I might as well include the lesser-known illude while I was at it.

Unlike anyhow and anyway, which are interchangeable under certain circumstances, none of these words are interchangeable. Here’s why:

Allude is a verb. It is used to refer to, or call attention to, something or someone indirectly.

  • “You know, the annoying demon with the receding hairline and the smug smile.” Sam alluded to Crowley so as not to summon the King of Hell by mistake.

Elude is also a verb. But it means to escape or avoid capture, usually in a skillful way. It can also be used to indicate a failure to achieve or understanding something.

  • Dean made sure the trap was secure while Sam made the call. That sneaky demon had eluded the Winchesters for the last time.

Illude is a verb too. But it’s one you won’t see very often. It means to trick or deceive.

  • Dude, if you think you can illude me into lending you my car, you better have another think coming.

The interesting thing is that all three words share a common root, which might explain the tendency to confuse them. Allude, elude, and illude all come from the Latin word ludere, meaning to play. The difference is all in the prefix, which just goes to show how important the little things really are.

I’ll leave you with an example that includes all three words:

  • Your minion alluded to how you planned to elude us, so we illuded you by letting you think you were getting away with it.


FYI, etymological information and definitions come from a combination of the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online, and the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Linking up with the moonshine grid over at yeah write again this weekend. It’s the weekend and anything goes, so come join us!


Image credit: Google Images


Trifextra: Morning Star


Morning Star

I watched him strike the match. Saw black wings unfurl, beating like my heart.

Drawn in like a toy on a string, I chose not to see his darkness until it eclipsed me.


This is my submission for this weekend’s Trifextra challenge, in which we had to write 33 words inspired by the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil, which just happens to be my favourite Stones song ever.


Image credit: Andrew Festiov /


Trifextra: Combat



I fought you, tooth and nail, for a happy ending.

Battled your demons. Clashed with your doubts. Rallied against your fears.

Couldn’t win the battle.

But in the end, I won the war.


This is my submission for this weekend’s Trifextra challenge in which we had to write 33 words that included the word tooth.


Image credit: Emir Simsek /

What’s In A Noun? Part 2

Little devils

Welcome to the second part of my discussion on nouns. If you haven’t already, you should check out What’s In A Noun? Part 1 to learn about the different types of nouns.

Today, we’re going to look at the properties of nouns.

Nouns have two main properties (case and number) and two that some consider relevant (gender and person), while others don’t. I’ll cover all four, and you can make up your own mind.

1. Case

The property of case indicates the relationship between a noun or pronoun and the other words in a sentence. There are two noun cases: common and genitive. The common case is typically broken down into nominative and objective.

Common Case: nominative
The nominative case refers to the person, place or thing acting as the subject in a sentence or clause. It usually precedes the verb and always governs it.

  • The Hellspawn threw a huge tantrum in the grocery store.

Common Case: objective
The objectives case refers to the person or thing acting as an object in a sentence or clause. In this role, the noun will never be the subject of the verb that follows.

  • The embarrassed mother put the boxes of Count Chocula back on the shelf.

Genitive Case
The genitive case is also called the possessive, and it is used to indicate several different functions. Most commonly, it indicates possession, but it can also indicate a relationship, a description, agency, or the role of a subject or object. It is formed by adding either an ’s or an apostrophe to the end of the word. (See my post on apostrophes for more info on this oft-misused piece of punctuation.)

  • Beelzebub’s mother told him to stop playing with his flies and come for dinner. (possessive — his mother)
    This is Mr. Mephistopheles, Hell’s representative. (agency — he represents Hell)
  • The demon’s application was rejected. He shouldn’t have used a red pen. (role of the subject — the demon applied)

2. Number
Shockingly, the property of number indicates whether we are referring to one object or more in a sentence. Typically, it is formed by adding an “s” or “es” to the end of a word — though sometimes forming a plural in English can be a little more, um, unique (datum, data; sarcophagus, sarcophagi). But that’s a whole other topic! Here are some simple examples of the number case:

  • evil, evils
  • flame, flames
  • crash, crashes
  • hex, hexes

3. Gender
While English does not really have gender, in the way that some other languages do (French and German, for example), some English nouns are used almost exclusively to indicate the masculine or feminine and would accompany a gender-appropriate pronoun. Here are some examples:

  • Masculine: uncle, brother, rooster, bull, lad
  • Feminine: aunt, sister, hen, cow, lass

4. Person
The property of person refers to what person the noun refers to. Is it first person, second person or third person? Here are some examples:

  • First person: I, the Lord of Darkness, don’t want to go to bed!
  • Second person: You, little devil, would be wise to get upstairs right now.
  • Third person: She, mother of demons, just wanted ten minutes of quiet.

And there you have it, the properties of nouns in a large nutshell.

As an aside, I want to note that there are a few other roles that nouns can play. I have already discussed appositives in a previous post. Nouns can also sometimes act as adjectives, verbs and occasionally as adverbs — this is known as functional variation.


Image credit: Antonina Vesna