Strolling up the isle aisle, I'll be
Excellent word-pairs coming in from fellow Word Snobs.
"I hate hate hate hate hate to hear preventative," writes SuperHolmie. "Preventive! Preventive! Preventive! Thank you." No, thank you.
ACM hears people say "momento," instead of "memento" (no mo' momento unless it's "un momento"). And adds, "Quixotic indeed sounds nothing like Don Quixote. ... Another word that I just recently heard mispronounced in a speech by an otherwise smart person was segue (he said "seh gyoo" rather than seg way). For word pairs, be sure to add principle/principal." Duly added. Just remember, the high school principal is your pal.
My friend T. mentions "hang/hung" as sources of misuse. Someone executed at the end of a rope has been "hanged," not "hung." That is the only usage of "hanged." You wouldn't say a guy hanged around the saloon until closing (unless you want to sound like a character in Dukes of Hazzard). Then there's the sexual connotation of "hung." Adds T., "Being hanged isn't desirable. Being hung might be."
Tapper remembers that "grandma used to adore correcting everyone in sight about their pronunciation of forte [rhymes with sport], so I've known that one for ages. Disperse/disburse is a commonly confused pair. For the truly confused, alot vs. a lot." The latter - a lot -- is correct. But the other is used a lot more often.
Kira brings "allude/elude" to our attention. The first means making reference to. The other means to escape or slip away from. Thanks for not letting allude elude our list. She also is driven nuts by confusion between "bare/bear" and "loose/lose." Good examples of why Spellchecker is no good when you're trying to improve your spelling. It only catches typos, not misuses or homonyms. If you use "bare" when it should be "bear," Spellchecker will see the correct spelling and move on without flagging it.
"I should of done my homework last night instead of drinking so much," posts Ionna, using an example of a frequent mistake on her students' papers. Should be "should have," of course. Or its contraction, "should've." Also, "This class has (to, too, two) much homework for me. I have actually had students confuse two and too. Sigh." I have, too, Ionna. Sigh.
Aunt Nancy posts three of my favorites: Realtor (should be pronounced REE-uhl-tor or REE-uhl-tur, but never REE-lit-TER... and it's capitalized for licensed Realtors); foliage (never foilage); and restaurateur, which you'll notice does NOT contain an "N," as in restaurant. You hear broadcast professionals says "restauranteur" all the time. That one eats me up, too, Auntie.
"Recently I saw an entire memo neatly typed out with `weather' instead of `whether,'" reports VerySlimBroom. Yes, the thunderclouds gather on that one.
Celeste, like other Word Snobs, hates hearing "impact" used as a verb. I'm with her on that. You may make an impact on the world, but if you impact it, you're a meteor (or a wisdom tooth).
E. mentions farther/further. This one really separates the wheat from the chaff, the wordly wise from the mere dilettante. Because "farther" refers to a measurable distance, while "further" can be a verb (an effort to urge something forward, as in "to further that cause") or an adverb ("don't speak further on the topic"). But you shouldn't say "How much further is it to the Taj Mahal?" because you could measure that distance in actual miles. Same goes for "more than/over" and "fewer/less." If you can actually count it or measure it, it's "more" and "fewer." I love Central Market (our local health food supermarket) for putting "Fewer than 15 items" on the sign above the express lane.
WMR is bugged by those who pronounce "cache" the same as "cachet." The former is pronounced like "stash," which is also a synonym for cache. Cachet is that ephemeral sense of elegant style possessed by Grace Kelly and completely lacking in Paris Hilton. Cachet also refers to some sort of commemorative postal markings, but how often does one need to refer to that if one is not a philatelist?
Several readers wish to remind that there are no such words as "flustrate," "irregardless" and "misunderestimate."
Thanks for your entries.
And for those who keep asking how to "sign up" for the writing class, there's no need to. Just show up Tuesday and Thursdays right here in the bat cave. Or catch up on previous lessons and quizzes at whatever pace you want.
This isn't real school. You do it at your own pace, keeping up with postings as you make progress.
Oh, one more thing: Don't send me your quiz answers and don't post them in comments. Just keep them to yourself and check back for the right answers later. That way everyone gets to play along.
Back later after dark. Right now, the pool beckons. Being on a freelance schedule has some advantages.