Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Son of the Red Pen


But wait! There are more misused words and phrases that have come to my attention since my last post on the subject.

Let's begin with this from one of my readers: A new bride wrote of her husband, "I love him with all my heart and sole."

Soul is probably what she meant to say. Unless the happy pair are foot fetishists. I know, I shouldn't judge.



After the Women's March I saw an irate comment on Facebook complaining about the fowl language on some of the signs.  No fair blaming it on the chickens, my dear -- what you mean is foul.


Here's a two-fer: Reek havoc and run amuck. Reek means to give off an offensive odor -- the correct word in this phrase is wreak, meaning to cause.  

And running amuck implies that one is bogged down in mud or something worse. Running amok (From the Malay -- evidently something Malays were thought to be prone to) is to rampage uncontrollably.


Then there's reticent -- which some folks seem to confuse with hesitant and/or reluctant -- as in She was reticent to go along with the plan.  Not quite. Reticent is more akin to shy or reserved -- as in When we asked her opinion of the nominee, her reticent nature meant that we learned nothing.

So, a new month and my little notebook is ready. Feel free to share any  similar missteps!


8 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

Yeah, reticent is too common.

Here's one that I don't think you've covered yet. It's mute where it should be moot. "It's a mute point."

Vicki Lane said...

Ooh, good -- thanks!

Barbara Rogers said...

Oh pleaae keep us on our tows. Tee hee. I would love to have any correct meanings clarified. I may love words, but am an ambiguous speller, which creates some fun gaffs.

NCmountainwoman said...

My son and his wife marched in the Women's March in Indianapolis. They were impressed that all of the signs they saw were spelled correctly and worded properly. They didn't mention any fowl language although there were some signs with feline language.

jennyfreckles said...

I suppose we can hardly blame people. We have such a complex language, with so many spellings that look the same that are not said the same, and vice versa.

Carol Crump Bryner said...

Our childhood education teacher in college told us that it was very important to establish good "rappaport" with our students.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh my goodness!

Jim Egerton said...

I am sure I have supplied you ample fodder for your little book. If I can twist it around and miss spell I usually due.