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The Grammar Guru

Jerome dialed the number. The phone rang twice, and then he heard: "You have reached Lost and Found. To reach Lost, press one. To reach Found, press two."

Jerome pressed two and a woman answered. "How may I help you?"

"I was walking on the beach today, when I found a strange device in the sand," said Jerome.

"Can you describe it?"

"Well, it's small and metal. You can hold it in your hand, and it has buttons numbered one to zero."

"Oh, yes. I know what that is. You are describing an old-fashioned calculator. It was used before we learned how to deal with numbers telepathically."

"Really? Do you know who devised this device?" Jerome was the curious sort.

"No, but I can switch you to our Old Artifacts Department. One moment."

Two hours and seven transfers later, Jerome still didn't know any more and he hung up. And if you're wondering why telephones were still around when telepathy was the norm, you try to get Ma Bell to retire.

Remember: device (dee-VICE) -- a special tool or piece of equipment

devise (dee-VIZE) -- invent, create

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Quiz

1) When the Vikings sailed the seas, they worshiped Thor, a god who wielded Mjollnir, a (devise/device) that kept humans safe.

2) When spring came, the Vikings (devised/deviced) a way to make sure their crops would bear fruit.

3) The Viking god named Odin had a horse that had been (deviced/devised) never to get tired.

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Answers

1) device (Actually, Mjollnir was just a hammer, but no one ever argued with it.)

2) devised (First of all, there is no such word as "deviced." Next, to guarantee good crops, the Vikings dribbled beer on top of them. At least, that's what they told their wives they were doing with it.)

3) devised (What did I just say about "deviced"?! That said, the horse had eight legs. I don't know if they ran right to left, front to back . . .)

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