Reading English is a very useful skill. With it, you can do countless things, such as identify letters, understand grammar, spell well, recognise words, use correct syntax, and avoid putting prepositions at the end of sentences, among many other things. Along with the ability to read, you will also magically gain the ability to write.
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The English Alphabet
Letters, the Start of English
The English Alphabet contains twenty-six letters. They are evil, and are as follows
A - Often referred to as "the first letter of the alphabet", this clever letter makes several sounds.
B - Not frequently referred to as "the first letter of the alphabet", this letter usually makes an aspirated sound because it is too lazy to do anything else.
C - Even less frequently referred to as "the first letter of the alphabet", this letter makes sounds taken up by other letters, makes one sound not taken up by another letter, and makes a sound that English-speaking people cannot pronounce.
D - A grade that means both bigger and dumber. It takes a lot of effort and/or plastic surgery to get one.
E - The only letter that really matters. It is in many words in English, and it makes vowels say their own names, as well as many other useful things. If one can recognise this letter, than he/she is automatically assumed literate, and therefore is allowed to have free reign in taking over the world.
F - The letter after E. That's the only notable thing about it.
G - Comes after E as well.
H - The middle initial of many people, such as "Jesus H. Christ".
I - Nowadays, only used by iApple.
J - Letter number ten. Will this ever end?
K - The name of a cereal. Yummy with sugar.
L - Put one on your head in prison. See what happens.
M - Spelled how it looks.
N - Not pronounced like the Japanese retroflex version, that's for sure.
O - O my pupils, used like that. Obsolete, mostly.
P - What's running down your leg?
Q - Doesn't actually do anything alone. It needs U.
R - Trilling sounds weird.
S - It pluralises and makes third person singular verbs.
T - Would you like any?
U - With the last two letters, makes the name of someone.
V - Screws up the previous sentence.
W - The letter namers were slacking here.
X - The only "cool letter". Always come in triplet (XXX).
Y - A no fun question.
Z - The last letter. Not the first or penultimate.
A. What is the first letter of the alphabet?
B. How many letters are in the alphabet?
A. What can you do with these letters? They all look the same!
B. Why is "X" the only cool letter? Why can't "U" be cool?
C. If you could rearrange the alphabet, would you put "U" and "I" together?
D. Why not?
English Phonetics for Beginners
Since there are many dialects in English, many of them mutually incomprehensible, phonetics is a useless thing to teach. However, there is a positive side--phonetics gives you a basic idea of how to say things. So let us look at all the possible sounds!
Vowels are obviously the most important things in languages. Few languages have words that lack vowels, and even fewer have entire grammars that lack vowels. There are seven letters that are used to represent vowels. They are A, E, I, O, U, W, and Y. It is futile to secure them to certain sounds. What do you think this is, Esperanto?!?
The possible vowel sounds include the "A" in "Car", the first "E" in "Every", the "I" in "I", the second "U" in "Cthulhu", the penultimate "W" in "Crwth", and, finally, the final "Y" in "Zzhmthsssghhrklkpvy", a well-known Welsh last name translated into English.
A consonant is a letter that consones. That is why it's called a consonant. Doy.
The glottal stop is a thing in English that confuses many native speakers. It is most prominent in the English phrase "Uh-oh". It is vaguely similar to either the third or fourth tone of Mandarin (what do you expect me to do? Je parle seulement anglais!) Go speak German. They get it better.
A. Name one vowel. I call this one George.
B. How man consonants do you know? Hint - it's not a vowel. Sometimes.
C. Can you say, "Bbfkrffsstskklshggmnmswt"? Why or why not?
A. Can you pronounce "Phonetic"?
B. Hukt on foniks werkt fer mee gud. Did et werk fer u tu?
Words in English are rather disparate. There are well over one hundred thousand words in English, which is more than the amount of money in Dominican Pesos the author makes in one year. This signifies two things
A. There are many words in English, and
B. The author needs a better paycheck.
Words are said to be the building blocks for entire languages, and letters building blocks for words. Let's start on how to recognise what is not a word.
Things That Aren't Words
There are more things that aren't words than there are things that are words. Here is a severely unexhaustive list of things that aren't words.
A. Physical objects. If you can directly interact with it, it's not a word. In less technical terms, if you can kick it, it's not a word.
B. Emotions. These may not be touchable, but they certainly are feelable. That's why their synonym is "Feelings". As well, you can kick them if you aim well.
C. Thoughts and abstract concepts. These are not words. Although they are not emotions, and although they can't be kicked directly, if one kicks someone in either the head or the groin, one's thoughts and abstract concepts will spontaneously combust since they were indirectly kicked. Words don't disappear, as much as we would like them to.
D. Verbal utterances. Hah! These plebians think they can say just anything and automatically it becomes a word! Well, I don't think so! Instead, it's simply a verbal utterance.
E. Things that rhyme with "Orange" or "Purple". People who claim to the otherwise are delusional, and may wear tin foil hats.
Things That Are Words
A. Words. A word is a word is a word is a word is a word is a word is a ward is a word is a word. Excepting, of course, nonsense.
B. Ditto above.
And Remember, Kids
If you can kick it, it's not a word.
A. Find something you think is a word. Kick it. Is it a word?
B. Find someone exhibiting an emotion. Kick them. Do they spout a verbal utterance or a word?
C. Create your own word. Attempt to kick it. Does it work?
A. What's the difference between a verbal utterance and a word?
B. Can you think of something that rhymes with "Orange"? Kick yourself for your treasonous attitude. Bad student! Bad, bad, bad!
Syntax is not, as common belief dictates, extra money paid in order to commit grave offenses against a religion; that would be a sin tax. As a side note, these are homophones (not to be confused with homophobes. Syntax is generally word order, which is very important, and even more important in Russia.
How to Use
Syntax in English generally places things in the Subject-Object-Verb order, except in special cases such as questions, where the verb goes first, followed by the subject, another verb, and the object. Asking questions is therefore a difficult process, and should be avoided by everyone.
Examples of Correct English Syntax
Sam ate the orange. Subject-Object-Verb
Did Sam eat the orange? Verb-Subject-Ver---whatever
Examples of Incorrect English Syntax
Orange Sam ate the. Object-Subject-Verb-Article
The orange ate Sam. Object-Subject-Verb, unless, of course, the orange DID eat Sam, in which case, call the local poison control centre.
A. Rearrange the following
- a. Go.
- b. The judge said the criminal is crazy.
- c. Ubiquitious marmots the propagate na'ry lyes she done said.
B. Write out every single piece of incorrect syntax you see for the next three months, and stay sane while doing so.
C. Find the person responsible for inventing syntax, and plot his or her assassination.
A. Is syntax a friend or foe? If it's a friend, why is it trying to kill us all? If foe, why do we learn it, then?
B. Isn't syntax sadistic? Wouldn't the Marquis be proud?
C. Rather than worry about syntax, shouldn't we be doing something more constructive, such as making false engineering degrees?
Sentences, and Punctuation
Since these two things are easy enough for 10,000 monkeys with typewriters to learn concurrently as they write Shakespeare, they are jammed together here into one section. Remember, if a large quantity of primates with primitive machines can learn it, one other primate with some sort of writing utensil can learn it, too!
Punctuation is easily learned. There are only a few marks to learn:
A. . - The period. It ends pretty much every sentence, and marriage.
B. , - The comma. It prevents suffocation in long sentences.
C. : - The colon. Has something to do with digestive tracts.
D. ; - The semicolon. Add two of them together, and you get a full colon.
E. ! - The factorial. It makes numbers much, much bigger.
F. ? - ? Do you know what this does? If so, please let me know.
G. - - The hyphen. Makes last names incredibly long and hard to write out on standardised forms.
H. () - Parentheses. Makes snide comments that nobody actually understands (like this).
I. " - Quotes. Makes everything appear dirty.
J. * - Asterisk. How all passwords appear when typed to other people on internet chatrooms.
Uses of Punctuation Marks
Punctuation marks are incredibly subtle beings that change the meanings of sentences when people aren't looking. Take the following examples
A. A woman without her man is nothing.
B. A woman: without her, man is nothing.
See how different these statements are? The first one is likely said by a sexist pig. The second one, on the other hand, is said by a sexist pig. See the difference? Other recommendations to demonstrate this are Fisher Price and Fisher Price: A Retrospective.
A sentence is a group of words made of clauses, phrases, punctuation, and conjunctions. They are very popular around the Christian holiday of Christmas, as they bring presents to children after prolonged periods of espionage.
Other than that, they are relatively enigmatic, like the yeti, chupacabra, and UFOs. Any evidence of one should be pointed out to the proper authorities at any time. Photographic evidence is appreciated.
A. Show all types of punctuation you know.
B. Make a sacrifice. Show the sentence-G-d you care.
C. Find out what ? does. Report back after in order to get a half-passing grade, minimum.
A. Can you read yet?
B. Why not?
C. Have you figured what ? does yet?
D. Why not?
E. Are there too many questions in the section?
What to Read
For the most part, you should be able to understand what a sentence is, what a word is, what a letter is, how to be syntactically correct, and how to punctuate. By this point, you can probably get away with reading such great literary works as Dick and Jane, Fisher Price, War and Peace, and HowTo:Read English. These are examples of the following media.
Books are many pieces of paper glued together with magic. They are too long for many people's attention span. Additionally, books are associated with the following illnesses:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Attention Surplus Disorder
- Geek Festering Syndrome
The most classy things to read. They tend to deal with intrepid journalism, celebrity journalism, and pr0n. Magazines are also known to cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
As everyone knows, the internet is for porn. It causes carpal tunnel syndrome, as well.
They are the embodiment of pure evil. This is why they burn so well; they are going back to their own domain. They definitely cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
A. Scavenger hunt! Find an example of:
- a. A newspaper
- b. A magazine
- c. A book
B. Take the magazine and read it. Learn that the book is controversial. Use the newspaper to start a fire, burn the book, and fan it with the magazine.
A. Do you like fire? Isn't book-burning fun?
Congratulations! If you read this far, you automatically gain the ability to read anything. Wonderful, isn't it? Now you can forge your own diploma, and read it aloud for all to hear. A job well done, indeed!