Friday, March 15, 2013

MIscellaneous word peeves

I think I like this writer, Ben Yagoda. I don't have a very high opinion of the quality of writing over at (especially their Atlantic Wire articles - gag) but Ben cares about words and language. His most recent article, 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to, is definitely worth reading. And before you start pointing out all the mistakes in that title, consider for a moment that he probably put them there on purpose.

Towards the end of his article, he lists several word peeves which I'm going to quote directly. Here they are. Enjoy! - z.

  • Don't use begs the question. Instead use raises the question.
  • Don't use phenomena or criteria as singular. Instead use phenomenon or criterion.
  • Don't use cliché as an adjective. Instead use clichéd.
  • Don't use comprised of. Instead use composed of/made up of.
  • Don't use less for count nouns such people or miles. Instead use fewer.
  • Don't use penultimate (unless you mean second to last). Instead use ultimate.
  • Don't use lead as past tense of to lead. Instead use led.

I hesitate to state what should be obvious, but sometimes the obvious must be stated. So here goes: Do not use it's, you're or who's when you mean its, your or whose. Or vice versa!

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