Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This Week: Romancing the podcast (part 4) + ringer/wringer

ringer/wringer
Old-fashioned washing machines lacked a spin cycle. Instead, you fed each piece of wet clothing between two rotating cylinders which would wring the excess water out of the cloth. This led to the metaphorical saying according to which someone put through an ordeal is said to have been put “through the wringer.”

Few people remember those old wringer washers, and many of them now mistakenly suppose the spelling of the expression should be “through the ringer.” This error has been reinforced by the title of a popular album by the band Catch 22: Washed Up and Through the Ringer.


____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we continue our discussion of romanticism. 

Paul Brians’ latest blog posts, including his most recent offering, “Alien Apostrophes Invade American Department Store!” are here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This Week: Romancing the podcast (part 3) + wonderkind/wunderkind

wonderkind/wunderkind
We borrowed the term “wunderkind,” meaning “child prodigy,” from the Germans. We don’t capitalize it the way they do, but we use the same spelling. When writing in English, don’t half-translate it as “wonderkind.”


____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we continue our discussion of romanticism.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

This Week: Romancing the podcast (part 2) + “lite” spelling


“lite” spelling  
Attempts to “reform” English spelling to render it more phonetic have mostly been doomed to failure—luckily for us. These proposed changes, if widely adopted, would make old books difficult to read and obscure etymological roots, which are often a useful guide to meaning. A few—like “lite” for “light,” “nite” for “night,” and “thru” for “through”—have attained a degree of popular acceptance, but none of these should be used in formal writing. “Catalog” has become an accepted substitute for “catalogue,” but I don’t like it and refuse to use it. “Analog” has triumphed in technical contexts, but humanists are still more likely to write “analogue.”


 

____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we continue our discussion on the word romantic.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Week: Romancing the podcast + impeach

impeach
To impeach a public official is to bring formal charges against him or her. It is not, as many people suppose, to remove the charged official from office. Impeachment must be followed by a formal trial and conviction to achieve that result.

A source you would never think of accusing of any wrongdoing is “unimpeachable.”



____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we begin a series of discussions on the word romantic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This Week: More pronunciation on the podcast (French this time!) + rondezvous/rendezvous


rondezvous/rendezvous  
The first syllable of “rendezvous” rhymes with “pond” but is not spelled like it. It comes from a word related to English “render” and is hyphenated in French: rendez-vous. In English the two elements are smooshed together into one: “rendezvous.”



____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we make a few more pronouncements about pronunciation (this time it's French).

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This Week: Pronunciation on the podcast + "lite" spelling

“lite” spelling
Attempts to “reform” English spelling to render it more phonetic have mostly been doomed to failure—luckily for us. These proposed changes, if widely adopted, would make old books difficult to read and obscure etymological roots, which are often a useful guide to meaning. A few—like “lite” for “light,” “nite” for “night,” and “thru” for “through”—have attained a degree of popular acceptance, but none of these should be used in formal writing. “Catalog” has become an accepted substitute for “catalogue,” but I don’t like it and refuse to use it. “Analog” has triumphed in technical contexts, but humanists are still more likely to write “analogue.”



____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we make a few pronouncements about pronunciation.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017