Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4

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I can't believe it's Thursday already!!! Time for another T13!

Today, my list is actually writing-related.

So now, without further ado....

Thirteen Writing Mistakes That Make Me Crazy!

(Thanks to Paul Brians' book, Common Errors in English Usage)

1. Alot. Perhaps this common spelling error began because there does exist in English a word spelled “allot” which is a verb meaning to apportion or grant. The correct form, with “a” and “lot” separated by a space is perhaps not often encountered in print because formal writers usually use other expressions such as “a great deal,” “often,” etc.

You shouldn’t write “alittle” either. It’s “a little.”

2. Irregardless. Regardless of what you have heard, “irregardless” is a redundancy. The suffix “-less” on the end of the word already makes the word negative. It doesn’t need the negative prefix “ir-” added to make it even more negative.

3. Greatful. Your appreciation may be great, but you express gratitude by being grateful.

4. Loose/Lose. This confusion can easily be avoided if you pronounce the word intended aloud. If it has a voiced Z sound, then it’s “lose.” If it has a hissy S sound, then it’s “loose.” Here are examples of correct usage: “He tends to lose his keys.” “She lets her dog run loose.” Note that when “lose” turns into “losing” it loses its “E.”

5. Persay. This legal term (meaning “in, of, or by itself”) is a bit pretentious, but you gain little respect if you misspell “per se” as a single word. Worse is the mistaken “per say.”

6. Payed. If you paid attention in school, you know that the past tense of “pay” is “paid” except in the special sense that has to do with ropes: “He payed out the line to the smuggler in the rowboat.”

7. Peak/peek/pique. It is tempting to think that your attention might be aroused to a high point by “peaking” your curiosity; but in fact, “pique” is a French word meaning “prick,” in the sense of “stimulate.” The expression has nothing to do with “peek,” either. Therefore the expression is “my curiosity was piqued.”

8. “The point being is that” is redundant; say just “the point is that” or “the point being that.”

9. Rogue/rouge. You can create an artificial blush by using rouge; but a scoundrel who deserves to be called a rogue is unlikely to blush naturally.
I saw this a lot when I was playing World of Warcraft.

10. They're/there/their. Many people are so spooked by apostrophes that a word like “they’re” seems to them as if it might mean almost anything. In fact, it’s always a contraction of “they are.” If you’ve written “they’re,” ask yourself whether you can substitute “they are.” If not, you’ve made a mistake. “Their” is a possessive pronoun like “her” or “our” “They eat their hotdogs with sauerkraut.” Everything else is “there.” “There goes the ball, out of the park! See it? Right there! There aren’t very many home runs like that.” “Thier” is a common misspelling, but you can avoid it by remembering that “they” and “their” begin with the same three letters. Another hint: “there” has “here” buried inside it to remind you it refers to place, while “their” has “heir” buried in it to remind you that it has to do with possession.

11. Ying and Yang. The pair of female and male terms in Chinese thought consists of “yin and yang,” not “ying and yang.”

12. Marshmellow. Your s’mores may taste mellow, but that gooey confection you use in them is not “marshmellow,” but “marshmallow.” It was originally made from the root of a mallow plant which grew in marshes.

13. Click/clique. Students lamenting the division of their schools into snobbish factions often misspell “clique” as “click.” In the original French, “clique” was synonymous with “claque”—an organized group of supporters at a theatrical event who tried to prompt positive audience response by clapping enthusiastically.


Brandon said...

I couldn't agree with you more. The list could probably go on and on...

Noone expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Noone? Neener! No, it's NO ONE.

"High" Noone makes me think that someone's gonna get shot in a showdown.

Gina Ardito said...

YES, YES, YES! I also hate "lightening" instead of "lightning" and "viola" instead of "voila" and God, I could go on A LOT! (tee-hee!)
Excellent list!

kwrenb said...

Thanks for the link, Paisley - I tried to find your blog by scanning the thirteens - there are so many of them!

I'm annoyed by the confusion over "its" and "it's". Yes, a possessive normally has an apostrophe, but is it really so hard to remember that in this case the apostrophe is only used for the contraction of "it is" ?

I'm with you on there (over there),
their (belonging to them) and they're (they are).
It it really so hard to remember?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Brandon - the list could probably go on and on...and on and on...and on some more! Great T13 idea! Thoroughly enjoyable reading.

Thanks for visiting Mini Pauses.


ravensroads said...

Heh, yes. These things grate on me, as well. My pet peeve is the apostrophe that appears in "its" used as possessive.

Ah well.

Happy TT!

I run three:
13 ways to prepare to hunt down landmarks (a shared blog, this is by Marina)
13 beers I have enjoyed
13 things that help when breaking camp