Tuesday, March 16, 2010

English Mishaps

by Marsha Ward

Agent Nathan Bransford had a
blog post earlier this month about malaprop/mispronunciation/homonym errors. The comments are hilarious. Well, maybe not intentionally, but prolly because they point out errors that our so bad!

Some of the favorite, or should I say least favorite, errors the commentors see other's make in using the English language are using loose when a person means lose, choose/chose, lie/lay, their/they're/there, peeked/peaked/piqued, your/you're, and breathe/breath.

Also mentioned were the misuse of apostrophes, which drives me wild. A local sign acrost from my public library made me crazy until it was repainted due to weathering: "Condo's for lease". Condo's WHAT? Condo's bedrooms? Kitchens? Living rooms? Its enough to make a writer cry.

Note: my misuses of English in the above section are intentional. I know the difference between probably/prolly, are/our, other's/others, acrost/across, and it's/its. Really, I do!

Since I saw Nathan's blog on usage errors in English, I've been noticing and writing down egregious examples of such erroneous usage in printed work:

Shutter used in place of shudder, dribble used in place of drivel, diary used instead of dairy, viscous instead of vicious, hurtling instead of hurling, pummeling instead of plummeting ("pummeling through the sky"!), and whicker (an animal sound) used where the word should have been wicker (a type of furniture).

Some of these examples should never have made it past a competent editor.

Another thing that bothers me is weird use of common idioms like saying "doggie doggie world" instead of "dog-eat-dog world," doing something "on accident" instead of "by accident," and using "one in the same" in place of "one and the same." It's like hearing fingernails screeching down a chalkboard.

Then there was the email I received a week ago from an actual e-book vendor who should have known better: "The Oscar's aired this week and we have alot of the Academy award winner's movie tie-in eBooks featured at . . ."