On the Web…
Random oddball stuff found online: spelling and other language disasters.
Now that that’s said, be kind if you find my errors.
“CUE, QUE, QUEU,” etc. — A line or queue is actually a hard one made easier if you remember the “ue” repeated twice, “q-ue-ue.” (Try remembering a real long line, “q-ue-ue-ue-ue…”) It’s made tougher since we have to contend with “cue,” a signal (“that’s your cue”), which of course uses only one “ue.” Since “c” and “q” can be pronounced the same in speech, we often garble the two words together.
“CACHE” — Is where you store your booty. It’s not the same thing as cachet, which is “a certain something special.”
“BUSSES” — These are kisses, not public transport. Buses is the correct plural form.
“WRECK HAVOC” — If you “wreck” havoc, there won’t BE any havoc to worry about. Better to wreak havoc.
“EXASPERATE THE PROBLEM” — Why are you bothering the problem? Stop that! Yes, problems can be exasperating, but exacerbate it is what makes it worse.
“VOCAL CHORDS” — No! Of course, it’s confusing because you can sing chords with your vocal cords…
“HAIR-BRAINED” — should be “harebrained,” meaning a brain like a rabbit
“SHOE-IN” — This is a frequent error that should be, “shoo-in,” to describe a sure winner. If you look up the etymology, it looks like some people mistakenly think it relates to a salesman getting his foot in the door.
“LIFE IN DEATH SITUATION” — Yeah, it’s “life or death,” unless you’re speaking of zombies, of course.
“BOO COO BUCKS” — “Beaucoup” is a little pretentious.
“BEGS THE QUESTION” — Which means, to assume the answer to a question (circular reasoning), as when someone claims the truth of their own rhetorical question just by assertion. It does not mean raises the question or begets the question. Arrggh. This misuse is a very interesting current social phenomenon, because no one was making this mistake before, but now everyone is doing it. I’ve seen it on TV, even TV news, and in blogs and articles, and it makes you wonder if it isn’t some sort of social experiment to test the manipulability of the public.
“SUPPOSUBLY” — “Supposedly” too hard? Welcome to, “supposubly.” This is too widespread to be simply a lisping pronunciation. It’s clearly a problem with the current age: too much TV and movies, not enough reading.
“I CAN’T STRESS THAT” — Somehow this is turning up a lot now, when people mean to say, “I can’t stress that enough.”
“LET ALONE” — What comes after the “let alone” is the more unlikely one. E.g.: “He won’t let me look at his guitar, let alone play it.” Contrast to “He won’t let me play his guitar, let alone look at it.” You also wouldn’t say, “That’s impossible, let alone unlikely.”
“YOU’RE AN IN BREAD MORON!” — Might be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
“EEKING” — As in, “Eeking out a living.” Unless this refers to actually standing there shrieking to earn a paycheck, it’s “eke” that refers to a small incremental progress, “eek” being something that you (hopefully don’t) do when you see a mouse.
“PIER PRESSURE” — That ought to float your boat.
“REST IN PIECE” — Hey, that’s restful. On the blog this was on, the very next reply started scorning the guy out.
“THAT’S A BUNCH OF DRIBBLE!” — For the love of… it’s DRIVEL!!! Wait, maybe they are dribbly! Better get a bucket!
“THAT DOESN’T JIVE WITH THE FACTS” — And it probably doesn’t shuck either!
“LOW AND BEHOLD” — Is that what you see when you bend down and look up?
“Soon you’ll hear ‘THE PITTER-PATTER OF LITTLE FEED.'” — Say what???
“DUEL CITIZENSHIP” — When you really want to fight for it.
“BOLD-FACED LIE” — I always heard this as “bald-faced lie,” but I see that there has been some lobbying to make “bold-faced lie” acceptable too. I have to wonder if that isn´t what happens when you have someone very influential who is too proud to admit a mistake. So they change the whole expression, similar to what they used to do back in the old USSR, where they would change history and turn people into “non-people,” by “disappearing them” and actually going to the extent of airbrushing them out of old photos and such.
“MUTE POINT” — If it were “mute” it wouldn´t be a point at all.
“CATARAK” — Don’t know if that’s a small boat or an eye problem.
“I’M SELF TAUT” — So lighten up.
“TOWING THE LINE” — It’s “toeing the line,” like where your foot would be when waiting to run a race.
Some people have trouble with idiomatic speech and metaphor, like, *sigh,* thinking Chicken of the Sea tuna is from some kind of underwater chicken, I guess one that wears a snorkel. What can you do?
“MARSHALL LAW” — This is a game character, not a jurisdiction. As the character, it is a play on words. But now people start writing “marshal(l) law,” confusing the “law man,” “marshal,” with “martial” as in “military,” and “martial law” of course being military takeover.
“PANTY ANTE” — “Penny ante,” is used as a descriptive for anything with a low threshold of entry, from low-stakes poker, where you ante up for a penny. What kind of poker this guy is playing, we can only make an educated guess at.
“EXPONENTIAL CHANGE” — Every change nowadays seems to be “exponential,” or “geometric,” which is apparently the same thing. Somehow this word has escaped math class and gotten out into the public, when people really need to say something like “really big” or “pretty darn big” or “Golly!”
A lot of times people mean linear when they say exponential. A linear rate of change can be pretty big too, depends on the magnitude or slope of the change.
“RIGHT TO BARE ARMS” — ??? No one has tried to ban short-sleeves, yet.
“RIGHT AWAY” — “Why did you hit the other car?” “He was in my Right Away! And I’m in a hurry!” Right-of-ways: When you have to get there right away.
“NOONE” — It’s not “noone,” “none,” “no-one,” but, “no one”, with a space between no and one. But it is confusing, because of the word, “someone,” which doesn’t have a space. A lot of spelling mistakes must be due to this type of conflict by analogy. How about “gauge?” I often write it incorrectly as “guage,” then do a double-take and correct it to “gauge,” and I often see it misspelled in the same way by others. Got to be because of a confusion with the spelling of “guard,” no? Funny, though, how “guard” never shows up as “gaurd.”
“ROUGE” — Another one of those two-letter mix-ups, rouge is make-up, a cosmetic, not the bad guy, rogue.
“IN TACT” — Saw this twice already today. Not only jamming words together, but the opposite affliction of breaking words in two, seems to be going around.
“ALLEGIBLY” — Allegedly or illegibly?
PRIZES — Haven’t seen this yet, but I feel it looming: “Consolation Prize” as “Constellation Prize,” or maybe, “Constipation Prize,” cause maybe the prize will make you feel a little better, at least.
OTHER LANGUAGES — “Per say” for “per se.” “Say la vee” for “c’est la vie.” “Fopahs” for “faux pas.” “And wala! It’s done.” It’s much worse when they don’t even realize the words are from another language, like voilà.
HOMONYMS — These have got to be a problem in all languages, and the spell-checker isn’t much help here (maybe spell-checkers should highlight all homonyms in a special color so you can be aware they need extra attention, just in case — actually, that’s a good idea).
All the time now, you’ll see, “We’re being lead,” and similar, when they mean, “We’re being led,” (as though on a leash). This is cropping up pretty much daily on websites, even big corporate ones. Its surprising that this gets through, but I guess they’ve abandoned editors and copy checkers these days.
Lead (the metal), led, lead (pronounced ‘leed’). There’s also the newspaper ‘lede,’ the introductory section of a news story. Read (sounding like ‘red’), red, read (sounding like ‘reed’). Almost everyone seems to confuse these at one point or another, with good reason. What can you do? Well, as I said, a painless, easy option for word processors would be a homonym checker, and it would fit right in with the spell-checker code. All it would need to do is highlight common homonyms that are often misused, and give a usage case and other words as options. How about it?
Reigns, reins and rains provides a problem as well. It’s reigns vs. reins that seems to give people the most trouble. A monarch reigns, you guide a horse with reins.
Their, there and they’re for “their home,” “over there” and “they’re leaving” As a memory aid, the apostrophe represents a missing letter in they’re for “they are.” “Their” is now frequently being misused in place of “his” or “her.” Don’t do that. “His” has always been a generic, not “their.” Or, use “his or her,” not “their,” when you don’t know the gender. “Their” is indeed shorter, but isn’t grammatically correct in this form, when referring to only one person.
ITS AND IT’S — “It’s” is a conjunction of “it is.” “Its” is the possessive form of “it.” It’s hard to explain, but soon you’ll see its sense. I must be remembering some long-ago fifth-grade English class to come up with that. Again, the apostrophe represents a missing letter, the “i” from it is, in it’s. Funny how there is no problem at all with isn’t, for is not, or don’t, for do not…
“THE TREND OF THE LIMER” — This one is not off the Web, but from a tag on a pair of men’s shorts. Chinese company? Korean? I don’t know, but it’s definitely not from “Holland,” as the Dutch speak good English. Anyway, *HELP*!
PEAK-STONE HOLLAND(INTERNATIONAL)DEVELOPMENT CO.,LTD
The Costumes Stand-to
Wear-fashion novation,individuality Thinking,Track
With Different Styles And Style And Promoin
The Trend of the Limer,People For Their Attartion
On The Perfect Product Over All,Better And Separating
The Other Trans,Established His Own Faction Style Brand Peraonallty
(Updated Nov. 1, 2022)