Witte also gives us this one:
"Off of sounds like you're stuttering. (Just off will suffice.)"
Both of these are about that perennial problem of ending a sentence with an UNNECESSARY preposition, which so many people misremember as "never end a sentence with a preposition under any circumstances." The true test is whether you can delete the unneeded preposition, and both of Witte's examples beautifully illustrate that concept. If you delete with and of, the sentences retain their meaning. Contrast those with instances where the ending preposition is actually part of the verb, completing and changing its meaning:
I didn't need the receipt, so I threw it out.
Here, if you delete out, you change the meaning. So just keep the preposition at the end. Years ago, teachers would have us revise the order of a sentence this way in order to avoid ending with a perfectly fine, necessary preposition:
That is not the ladder you are supposed to go up.
That is not the ladder up which you are supposed to go.
If you find yourself in this sort of mess, a better answer is to recast the sentence as
That is not the ladder you are supposed to use.
Here are some more memory aids for spelling, along with warm memories of the teachers who gave them to us.
Krista Wolter writes: Seeing the posts from others reminded me of one from high school. Our chemistry teacher taught us "there is a rat in separate." He took points off your lab work if you spelled separate wrong. I still think of him when I type that word.
Sherrie L. Trechel says, "I am a fan of a memory aid a friend told me about long ago for loose vs. lose":
"You can't lose your nose."
And I really related to Elaine Study's experience described here, when she remembered that
"There are 3 e's buried in cemetery."
Elaine said "I will never forget a few years ago I was watching the TV show 'JAG' with my husband and the scene location printed on the screen was "___________ Cemetary.
"I was so outraged at the misspelling on a national TV show that I kept chanting at the screen, "There are 3 e's buried in cemetery! There are 3 e's buried in cemetery! My husband's response was, "I didn't know that."'
And that reminded me of one of my own tricks--how to remember the difference between stationery and stationary.
"Stationery is about envelopes." (e)
"When you are stationary, you are standing still." (a)Send me more if you've got them..