Saturday, March 16, 2024

Recognizing Sweeping Generalizations

person holding microphone person making speech


Adjectives have three degrees of comparison: 
Positive Degree - When describing one thing. (big tree)
Comparative Degree – When comparing two things.  (bigger tree)
Superlative Degree – When comparing more than two things. (biggest tree)
The superlative degree is created by adding est to some words or adding the word most. * 
For example: healthiest or most healthy
The brown one is the healthiest of the puppies.
The brown one is the most healthy of the puppies.
*Avoid double comparisons by using both est and most at the same time.
Wrong: The brown one is the most healthiest of the puppies.



When using the superlative degree, it is important to avoid creating sweeping generalizations. When you add est or use the word most, it is easy to create a sweeping statement that goes too far in its description.


A sweeping generalization creates a statement that is too broad. 


Here are examples of sweeping generalizations:


Sweeping Generalization: Benjamin Franklin was the most brilliant of all inventors.

Better: Benjamin Franklin was one of the most brilliant of all inventors.


Sweeping Generalization: Joe Montana is the greatest of all quarterbacks in football history.

Better: Joe Montana is one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history.


It's important not to get carried away with the superlative degree and say way more than you intended to say. Use qualifying words such as frequently, most, some, a few, many, sometimes, often, or occasionally to make the superlative degree more acceptable.


Include the word “other” when comparing one thing with a group of which it is a part.


Statement: After WWII, the United States was stronger than any country in the world.

Better: After WWII, the United States was stronger than any other country in the world.


Politicians frequently use sweeping generalizations to appeal to emotions rather than facts. Be sure to examine all political statements for accuracy. 


Here are some examples from various media sources:

·      “All politicians are corrupt.”

·      “Immigrants are taking all our jobs.”

·      “Government is always inefficient.”

·      “All rich people are greedy.”

·      “All members of a certain political party are extremists.”

·      “All millennials are lazy and entitled.”

·      “Conservatives hate progress.”

·      “Liberals are all entitled and can't handle opposing views.”

·      “All corporations are evil.”


Be aware of using sweeping generalizations in your own writing and speech. Also, be an informed reader and listener and take note when a sweeping generalization is used in print or in speeches.


Adjectives and Adverbs can be powerful words. If you want to learn more about them and practice their use, I have several resources in my TPT store. You will find them here.


You will find a free worksheet here that helps students recognize and correct sweeping generalizations. As we enter the volatile climate of this political year, your students will benefit from being able to spot overgeneralizations that can lead to faulty conclusions.  


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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Tips to Avoid Three Common Usage Errors

Tips to Avoid Three Common Usage Errors

How to choose between:
Fewer? or Less? * Who? or Whom? 
* Bad? or Badly?

Fewer? or Less?

If you mean “not as many,” choose fewer

(Use fewer when items can be counted.)

If you mean “not as much,” choose less.


I bought fewer pencils. 

I ate less pudding.

Who (Whoever)? or Whom (Whomever)?

Find the verb nearest the pronoun in question. If the pronoun appears before the verb, choose who or whoever. Who went to the store?

If the pronoun follows an action verb, choose whom or whomever. The leader will choose whomever you wish.

If the pronoun follows a linking verb, choose who or whoever. The winner will be whoever the people elect.

Whom or whomever always follows a preposition.

His friends, most of whom are older, are friendly people. 

Hint: Substitute he or she for the pronoun who. Substitute him, her, or them for the pronoun whom.

Bad? or Badly?

Badly describes an action. He danced badly. 

Bad describes a feeling or emotion. (I feel bad.)

Always use the word “bad” after linking verbs such as lookfeel, seemtaste, and smell

You look bad. 

I feel bad. 

His conduct seems bad to me. 

That meat tastes bad to me.

That perfume smells bad.

Note: Do not say or write I feel badly for you. (Although you hear this in the media and read it in printed material all the time, it is incorrect.)

If you feel badly, there is something wrong with your fingers. 

If you sympathize with someone, you feel bad for them.

It will become much easier to use these words correctly if you practice.

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Sunday, January 21, 2024

Six Confusing Words to Master

Here are 6 confusing words to master when you write. Although they sound very much alike, they have different meanings.

Tess' Tips 6 Confusing Words to Master

Dying – means that a living being is no longer alive. Dying is the present participle of the verb die.
Examples: I am just dying to see your new car. The poor man is dying of a horrible disease.
Dyeing - means to change the color of something by using a dye.
Examples:  Mother is dyeing her hair brown to hide the gray hairs. Jane is dyeing her shoes to match her dress.

Weather – means changes in the atmospheric condition.
Examples: We need to check the weather before we set sail. The weather is warm and dry today.
Whether – is used to indicate possibilities or choices.
Example: He was not sure whether or not to eat the sushi.
Whether - also means if something is or was true.
Example: Will you find out whether or not they want to go with us to the movie?
HINT: When choosing between weather and whether be sure to pronounce the “h” in whether. If you are talking about clouds, rain, etc, choose weather. There is no “h” sound in weather.

Advice – is a noun that means an opinion or suggestion that one gives to another.
Advise – is a verb that means to give an opinion or suggestion.
HINT: Try substituting the word opinion into the sentence. If it makes sense, choose the noun advice.
Example A: I need your (advice, advise) on how long my speech should be.
I need your (opinion) on how long my speech should be.
Since you could substitute the word opinion in this sentence, choose advice.
Example B:  You need to (advice, advise) me on how long my speech should be.
You need to (opinion) me on how long my speech should be.
Since you could not substitute the word opinion in this sentence, choose advise.

Here's a free exercise on the use of more confusing words. Confusing Words Grammar Worksheets.

Here's another exercise your students will enjoy. Confusing Words Task Cards.
This set includes task cards to practice the correct use of die or dye; weather or whether; advice or advise; anxious or eager. TASK CARDS can be more fun than worksheets, and they are a perfect way to reinforce lessons and improve proofreading skills.

Be sure to visit my store for more free lessons and take a look at my Simple Steps to Sentence books. Help your students learn grammar and usage the easy way.

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Sunday, November 19, 2023

Classification Exericses for the Holiday Season

Classification allows us to better understand relationships and connections between things.  


Challenge your students' minds with fun Higher Order Thinking Skills Classification Exercises. Students will classify a group of items according to their general category, consider which one of the items is different from the others in some subtle way, remove it, and then determine the specific category that remains.

The student will learn:

to classify items belonging to a general category and having the characteristics of that category;

to determine which item in the general group is different from the others and remove it;

to reclassify the items that remain into a specific category;

to work cooperatively in small groups.




Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers  


General Category: Football Teams

Item to Remove: Minnesota Vikings

Specific Category: Football teams that have won Super Bowls.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Be sure to read the interesting blog posts below from my teacher friends in The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs.

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Sunday, October 15, 2023

Embrace the Spooktacular and Enjoy the Season

Three carved pumpkins

As the air becomes crisp and cool and the leaves turn red and gold, there's no denying that Halloween is just around the corner. For teachers, this time of year provides a unique opportunity to engage students in the spirit of the season while imparting valuable lessons in culture, creativity, and community.

Halloween's Historical Roots
Before diving into the fun classroom activities, it's crucial to understand the historical origins of Halloween. Halloween, also known as All Hallows' Eve, has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Over time, it evolved into a day of remembrance for the dead and a time when the veil between the living and the deceased was believed to be at its thinnest.

The Magic of Dressing Up
One of the most beloved Halloween traditions is dressing up in costumes. Teachers can incorporate this tradition by organizing a voluntary costume day in their classrooms. This not only encourages creativity and imagination but also fosters a sense of unity among students. You can encourage students to make costumes from items they find at thrift stores to avoid the expense of commercial costumes. Students in grades 9-12 can fashion costumes that depict characters in books they have read.

Exploring Spooky Literature
Halloween is the perfect time to delve into spooky literature and read classic tales like Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" or Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" to your students. These stories not only capture the eerie essence of Halloween but also provide opportunities for discussing literary elements and critical thinking.

Community Involvement
Halloween is not just about costumes and candy; it's also about community. Encourage your students to take part in local Halloween events, parades, or charity initiatives like "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF." This fosters a sense of responsibility and empathy among students.

Halloween is a time of year that bridges the gap between tradition and imagination. As teachers, you have the unique opportunity to use this season to engage students in a blend of history, culture, and creativity. 

By incorporating these Halloween traditions and customs into your classrooms, you can make learning a thrilling adventure that will last long beyond the spooky season. 

So, embrace the spooktacular and let Halloween light up your classroom with fun and learning!

I have three Halloween resources in my store that my students love. You might like to use them in your classrooms.

Halloween Song Writing Activity Print and Digital

In this fun Halloween Song-Writing Activity, students will enjoy changing the lyrics of familiar Christmas songs to spooky or funny Halloween songs. It offers a good way to work in practice with rhyme and syllables while students have fun.

Halloween Sentence Combining Activity Print and Digital

This activity provides the opportunity for writers to combine twenty clusters into twenty original sentences. All sentences in this exercise are about Halloween. It is a good exercise to help students compose sentences while enjoying the excitement of Halloween.

Sentence Patterns Grammar Worksheets for Halloween

This Halloween activity will teach your students to rewrite sentences without changing their meaning to achieve sentence variety. At the same time, they will be reminded of things that are associated with Halloween.

Thanks for reading,


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