Woe is i Verbal Abuse: Words on the Endangered List Nicolette Lovell, Jennifer Parsons, Karey Martin
Straight from the author: “Bloodied but unbowed, [words] shouldn’t be given up for dead. Give them back their proper meaning, spelling, usage, and pronunciation and they’ll live to fight another day.” ~O’Connor
Verbal Abuse: What’s the meaning of this? “The give-and-take of language is something like warfare. A word bravely soldiers on for years, until one day it falls face-down in the trenches, it’s original meaning a casualty of misuse.” --O’Connor For my section of the presentation… definitions of words printed in purple are from dictionary.com.
Dilemma • –noun • 1.a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives. • Must involve at least two choices—all of them bad. Ex: I can either wear the ugly green jacket and stay warm or the cute red one that has a hole in it.
Hopefully The controversial word…
Hopefully • This word had evolved. • It used to mean: “in a hopeful manner” …used as an adverb. • Ex: “…she asked hopefully.” • Now, it can be used as “it is hoped” or “let us hope.” • Ex: “Hopefully I will be able to answer your question.” “Frankly, I see no reason to treat hopefully otherwise. But be aware that some sticklers still take a narrow view of hopefully. Will they ever join the crowd? One can only hope.” –O’Connor
hope·ful·ly • –adverb • 1. in a hopeful manner: We worked hopefully and energetically, thinking we might finish first. • 2. it is hoped; if all goes well: Hopefully, we will get to the show on time. • Origin: 1630–40; hopeful + -ly • —Usage note Although some strongly object to its use as a sentence modifier, hopefully meaning “it is hoped (that)” has been in use since the 1930s and is fully standard in all varieties of speech and writing: Hopefully, tensions between the two nations will ease. This use of hopefully is parallel to that of certainly, curiously, frankly, regrettably, and other sentence modifiers.
Presently • Doesn’t mean “now” or “at present.” • –adverb 1. in a little while; soon • “It means soon, before long, any minute now, forthwith, shortly, keep your shirt on, faster than you can say Jack Robinson, or when I’m darn good and ready.” –O’Connor • Ex: They will be here presently.
Unique • –adjective • 1. existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics. • “There are no degrees of uniqueness, because the unique is absolute. Nothing can be more, less, sort of…unique. The word stands alone, like dead, unanimous, and pregnant.” • Ex: a unique copy of an ancient manuscript.
Via • –preposition • 1. by a route that touches or passes through; by way of… • …not “by means of.” • Ex: to fly to Japan via the North Pole. • Wrong ex: to fly to Japan via an airplane.
Verbal Abuse: mixed doubles “There are pairs of words that are routinely confused” ~ Patricia T. O’Conner
Common Blunders: • affect/effect • RULE: If you are referring to a noun, “ninety-nine times out of a hundred you mean effect. If you mean an action (a verb), the odds are just as good if you go for affect.” “The termites had a startling on the piano, this problem Lucy’s recital.” ** easy way to remember the answer to these perplexing words (complements of Grammar Girl)
ago/since • RULE: Often, these two words are used together, one or the other should be used, not both. “Fluffy died three days.” Or: “It’s been three days Fluffy died.” Not: “It’s been three days ago since Fluffy died.” • allude/ refer • RULE: “To allude is to mention indirectly or to hint at – to speak of something in a covert or roundabout way. To refer is to mention directly.” “Cyril suspected that the discussion of bad taste to his loud pants” “ ‘They’re plaid!’ said Gussie, to Cyril’s trousers.”
accept/except • RULE: To accept is to take or agree to something. To except means to exclude or leave our as a verb, but usually means “other than” “I never presents from men, said Lorelei, “when we’ve been properly introduced.” • aggravate/irritate • RULE: Don’t use these interchangeably! Irritate should be used to mean “inflame”, aggravate means “to worsen” “Poison ivy the skin. Scratching the itch.”
allusion/illusion/delusion • RULE: “An allusion is an indirect mention. An illusion is a false impression. A delusion is a deception.” “Gussie’s comment about burlesque was a snide to Cyril’s hand-painted tie.” “It created the of a naked woman” “Cyril clung to the that his tie was witty” • alternate/alternative • RULE: alternate means one after the other, alternative means one instead of the other. “Walking requires use of the left foot and the right. The is to take a taxi.”
among/ between • RULE: “When only two are involved, the answer is easy: between…” “Miss Bennet sensed a barrier betweenher and Mr. Darcy.” “With three or more, you have a choice. Use between if you’re thinking of individuals and their relations with one another. Use among of you’re thinking of the group.” “There were several embarrassing exchanges Lydia, Kitty, and Jane.” “Darcy’s arrival created a stir the guests.”
bad/badly • RULE: when an activity is being described, use badly, the adverb (word that describes a verb)… when a condition or passive state is described, use bad, the adjective (word that describes a noun) “Josh ran the race; afterward, he looked and he smelled.” **If the difference still gives you trouble, try mentally substituting a pair of words less likely to be mixed up. “Josh ran the race honestly; afterward, he looked honest and he smelled honest.”
can/ may • RULE: can = able to, may = permitted to “I fly when lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, “ said Sister Bertrille. “ I demonstrate?” • discreet/discrete • RULE: “If you’re gossiping, you probably want discreet, a word that means careful or prudent. The other spelling, discrete, means separate, distinct, or unconnected.” “Arthur was about his bigamy. He managed to maintain two households.”
disinterested/ uninterested • RULE: They are not the same! • disinterested = impartial or neutral • uninterested = bored or lacking interest “A good umpire should be, said Casey, but certainly not .” • each other/ one another • RULE: Use each other for two and one another for three or more. “Nick and Nora found adorable. Nick and his cousins all heartily despised.” **Many writers ignore this rule
in to/ into • RULE: “Yes, there is a difference! Don’t combine in and to to form into just because they happen to land next to each other.” • into = entering something, changing the form of something, or making contact “Get the coach before it turns a pumpkin, and don’t bang the door” • Otherwise, use in to “Bring the guestsme, then we’ll all go dinner.” (You wouldn’t go into dinner, unless of course you jumped into soup tureen) ** If you’re still having trouble, use this trick: If you can drop the in without losing the meaning, use in to.
lay/lie • RULE: To lay is to place something somewhere, to lie is to recline. “If you’re not feeling well, your tools aside and down.” • like/as Quick question: Which of these is correct? Homer tripped [as or like] anyone would. • RULE: use as when followed by a clause, a group of words with both a subject (anyone) and a verb (would) if no verb follows, use like… Homer walks like a duck.
Verbal abuse: Use it (right) or lose it and spelling and saying it right “There are words that are mispronounced, misspelled, or so stretched out of shape that they aren’t even words anymore…” ~ Patricia T. O’Conner
Mis-pro-nun-si-ay-shun Most common word to get butchered in how you say it…. APPALACHIAN …which of course we all know is pronounced APPAL-A-CHAN some variations include, but aren’t limited to- Apple-ay-shun App-a-lay-shun
Mispelled Words • Affect vs. Effect – something moves you (affect) producing something (effect) • The music affected him deeply. • The chemical effect was the foam overrunning the beaker.
Palate vs. Palette vs. Pallet • Palate- roof of your mouth • Palette- board painter mixes colors on • Pallet- rustic bed, makeshift mattress (usually made of hay or straw) Vincent painted his supper, then he ate it. Having satisfied his palate, he cleaned his palette, then retired to his pallet.
Incorrect Usage (more misspelling) • Principle vs. Principal -principle (rule or standard) -principal (to do good in school you might want to make him your ‘pal’) • Pore over/ Pour over -you ‘pore over’ a good book (read intently) -if you let the water run too long, the bathtub will ‘pour over’
Regretfully vs. Regrettably • Hazel regretfully swept up the broken vase, which regrettably had been smashed to oblivion. • There are • There is • There’s • Something to remember here… • If singular always use THERE IS or THERE’S • Plurals always use THERE ARE
Whether or not • You can usually ditch the ‘or not’, it’s implied from the word • Ex) Sarah knows whether Holden is telling her the truth * HIV- this stands for the human immunodeficiency virus, so it is redundant to say HIV virus (which is what most people actually do!)
So What have we learned? 1) What is the purists’ definition of hopefully ? Answer: In a hopeful manner 2) Running your entire body. The of running can be positive and negative; you get in great shape but feel as if you’re going to die after each excruciating workout. (effect, affect) Answer: affects, effect 3) True or False? Palate = roof of your mouth Palette = rustic bed, makeshift mattress (usually made of hay or straw) Pallet = board painter mixes colors on Answer: true, false, false
Source O'Conner, Patricia T. Woe Is I: the Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print. Thank you for Your attention.