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    “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
    Stephen Nachmanovitch

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    I'm a wife, a mom, a dog lover, a complete lefty, a true scorpio, and I'm on a creative journey. I welcome you to join me.

    Sewing Southpaw...

    Is the place where I share my creativity, my hobbies, and other stuff!

    03 September 2009

    A Pet Peeve

    As defined by Wikipedia: "a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it."

    Admit it, all of us have some (or many) Pet Peeves. Well, misused words are one of mine. I routinely encounter those who not only misuse words when writing but also (and more often) when speaking. Misdefinitions (is that a word?) are another of my Pet Peeves. It makes me want to carry around a basket full of dictionaries and thesauri. Unfortunately, most of the people that I would hand them out to wouldn't see a use for them.

    So, what prompted this little rant? I was doing some research today; looking for definitions, origins of words, etc., and I found this post at HELP! Educational Blog. After reading it over, I have to admit that I agree. I also have to admit that I have made some of these mistakes myself. And some of them often - BOO HISS.

    Now that I have seen the error of my ways, I thought I would share them with you, just in case...

    1. Accept/Except- Although these two words sound alike (they’re homophones), they have two completely different meanings. “Accept” means to willingly receive something (accept a present.) “Except” means to exclude something (I’ll take all of the books except the one with the red cover.)

    2. Affect/Effect- The way you “affect” someone can have an “effect” on them. “Affect” is usually a verb and “Effect” is a noun.

    3. Alright- If you use “alright,” go to the chalkboard and write “Alright is not a word” 100 times.

    4. Capital/Capitol- “Capitol” generally refers to an official building. “Capital” can mean the city which serves as a seat of government or money or property owned by a company. “Capital” can also mean “punishable by death.”

    5. Complement/Compliment- I often must compliment my wife on how her love for cooking perfectly complements my love for grocery shopping.

    6. Comprise/Compose- The article I’m composing comprises 32 parts.

    7. Could Of- Of the 32 mistakes on this list, this is the one that bothers me most. It’s “could have” not “could of.” When you hear people talking, they’re saying “could’ve.” Got it?

    8. Desert/Dessert- A desert is a hot, dry patch of sand. Dessert, on the other hand, is the sweet, fatty substance you eat at the end of your meal. [I remeber that dessert has a double 's' because you always want seconds]

    9. Discreet/Discrete- We can break people into two discrete (separate) groups, the discreet (secretive) and indiscreet.

    10. Emigrate/Immigrate- If I leave this country to move to Europe, the leaving is emigrating and the arriving is immigrating.

    11. Elicit/Illicit- Some people post illicit things on message boards to elicit outrageous reactions from others.

    12. Farther/Further- Farther is used for physical distance, whereas further means to a greater degree.

    13. Fewer/Less- Use fewer when referring to something that can be counted one-by-one. Use less when it’s something that doesn’t lend itself to a simple numeric amount.

    14. Flair/Flare- A flair is a talent, while a flare is a burst (of anger, fire, etc.)

    15. i.e/e.g- I.e. is used to say “in other words.” E.g. is used in place of “for example.”

    16. Inflammable- Don’t let the prefix confuse you, if something is inflammable it can catch on fire.

    17. It’s/Its- It’s= it is. Its=a possessive pronoun meaning of it or belonging to. Whatever you do, please don’t use its’.

    18. Imply/Infer- A reader infers what an author implies. In other words, when you imply something, you hint at it. When you infer something, you draw a conclusion based on clues.

    19. Literally- If you say “His head literally exploded because he was so mad!” then we should see brains splattered on the ceiling.

    20. Lose/Loose- If your pants are too loose you may lose them. That would be almost as embarrassing as misusing these two words.

    21. Moral/Morale- Morals are something you want to teach your kids. If your team’s morale is low, you need to do something to boost their confidence.

    22. Percent/Percentage- The word “percent” should only be used when a specific number is given. “Percentage” is more of a general term.

    23. Stationary/Stationery- You are stationary when you aren’t moving. Stationery is something you write on.

    24. Then/Than- “Then” is another word for “after.” Incidentally, the word “then” makes for boring writing. “Than” is a comparative word (e.g. I am smarter than you).

    25. There/Their/They’re- There are few things as frustrating as when I look at my students’ writing and they’re misusing these words in their writing.

    26. Unique- Something can’t be “kind of unique” or even “very unique.” It’s either one-of-a-kind or it isn’t. There is no in between when it comes to unique.

    27. Your/You’re- If I had a nickel for every time I saw this one… yeah, you know the rest. “Your” shows ownership and you’re is a contraction meaning “you are.” Get it right.

    28. To/Too/Two- Two is a number. “To” is used in instances such as, “I am going to the store.” If you are supposed to use the word “too,” try inserting the word “extra” or “also.” If one of those fits, you need to also add the extra “o” to make “too.”

    29. Lie/Lay- After you lay the books on the table, go lie down on the couch.

    30. Sit/Set- Set your drink on the table and sit in your chair. Got it?

    31. Whose/Who’s- Whose is the possessive form of who. Who’s is a contraction meaning “who is.”

    32. Allude/Elude- When someone alludes to something in conversation (indirectly references), if you aren’t paying attention the meaning may elude you (escape you).

    If these words aren't enough for you, please pop on over to CME and take a look at their "Tricky Words" list. Or Infoplease's "Easily Confused or Misused Words" list.

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    Blogger Judy S. said...

    You go girl! But you fogot the one that makes me crazy: alot. It's TWO words unless you mean allot. How much of your budget will you allot for fabric? You pushed one of my buttons, Gerry. LOL

    September 3, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
    Blogger Lauri said...

    Hi Gerry

    The one that bothers me is purposelessly/ purposefully. They are not interchangeable and mean completely different things. One means to do it for no purpose, the other means do something with the full intent or purpose to do it
    Maybe they are trying to say purposely. So either they can't talk or spell. Most people say it this way and I believe is wrong either way

    This is one of my MANY pet peeves

    September 3, 2009 at 7:47 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thank you so much. My worst subject in school was English. I still struggle all the time with basic principles. Thank you for helping:)

    LOL Principles/Principals. Thankfully I checked before sending.

    Ann Flowers

    September 4, 2009 at 2:38 AM  
    Blogger Rosanne said...

    Great post, I alway notice the the misuse of their/your.

    September 4, 2009 at 9:05 PM  
    Blogger Carol VR said...

    It is so true that we have perhaps the hardest language to learn let alone the number of exceptions that apply to it...YIKES!!!!

    September 5, 2009 at 8:50 PM  
    Blogger Patricia said...

    I had to laugh at a lot of these! I am one of the crazies whose teeth hurt when some of these show up in print, particularly.
    In spoken language, in my area of the country, the ones that are real ear benders are "I'm looking for a pacific item" arghhhhhhh!
    "I have a bad case of poison ivory"
    "Look at the smoke coming out of the chimbley"
    So, we all have our pet peeves!

    Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

    September 7, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
    Blogger Cathy K said...

    This is a great post! The misuse of the English language is also one of my pet peeves. In fact, I've asked to start editing anything official that goes out under our CQI name (like newsletter, etc.) One of the most common errors I see is to/too - always using 'to' instead of 'too'. Don't even get me started! Thanks for your "rant"; I wish everyone would read it! Hugs, Cathy

    September 7, 2009 at 3:18 PM  
    Blogger Maddie Can Fly said...

    You forgot my favorite one:


    September 8, 2009 at 2:18 PM  
    Blogger Gerry said...

    WOW - the list just gets longer and longer. LOL. Thanks for stopping by and for adding to the list. It's nice to know that you are all out there helping to combat this problem.

    September 10, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

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