Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Misused words

I was looking up misused words, and I came across several web sites. One of the better sites I found was Infoplease.

I must admit that, years ago, I used alright. It's common, but a woman told me that it's not all right to use alright. I looked it up; she was right.

My wife and I often argued over farther/further, and now she gets it right more often than I do. Farther denotes distance. Further makes me think of the NFL term "after further review..." That's from instant replay, for you non sports junkies.

Writers often say flounder when founder would do. A sinking boat isn't floundering; it's foundering. If you're moving around clumsily, that's floundering.

I've seen people use past (time) when passed (motion) would have been correct. In fact, I've sat looking at a sentence, wondering which is right (don't worry, it passes quickly).

And don't get me started on who vs. whom. I've already said a good bit on that.

Here's another list of misused words on Squidoo.com.

What's your "favorite" misused word?

Contact: Reach me at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com.

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  1. I dislike it when people use the word "utilize" to mean "use." I can utilize a butter knife to tighten a screw, but I'd rather use a screwdriver.

    When I hear someone say "utilize" to mean "use," it makes me think that they're utilizing the Englih language to appear educated. They aren't.

    Sorry for the rant. Cheers!

  2. Thanks Tom, but I wish I knew when it was all right to say alright. What's the difference?

    A word that irritates me - not from misuse, but from over, superfluous and fashionable use - is 'basically.'