Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This Week: A Gluten-Free Podcast + feint/faint

feint/faint
A feint, whether in chess or on the battlefield, is a maneuver designed to divert the opponent’s attention from the real center of attack. A feint is a daring move. Do not use this very specialized word in the expression “faint of heart” (or “faint at heart”), which implies timidity.


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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we discuss medical terms, including EKGs, MRIs, CAT scans, and more.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This Week: Refills, Emergencies & More on the Podcast + Paul Brians' latest blog post + taunt/taut/tout

taunt/taut/tout
I am told that medical personnel often mistakenly refer to a patient’s abdomen as “taunt” rather than the correct “taut.” “Taunt” (“tease” or “mock”) can be a verb or noun, but never an adjective. “Taut” means “tight, distended,” and is always an adjective. “Taut” is also occasionally misspelled “taught.”

Don’t confuse “taunt” with “tout,” which means “promote,” as in “Senator Bilgewater has been touted as a Presidential candidate.” You tout somebody you admire and taunt someone that you don’t.


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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up on our discussion of terms related to politics and government

Paul Brians talks about Donald Duck and translating interjections in his latest blog post.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This Week: Crusades, Demagogues, Stump Speeches & More on the Podcast + vapid/vacuous

vapid/vacuous
“Vapid” is used to describe something flavorless, weak, flat. Many people confuse this word with “vacuous,” which describes things which are unintelligent, lacking serious content. A boring speech may be vapid even though it’s learned, and a lively speech may be vacuous even though it’s exciting. A dull person may be vapid, but it is not standard usage to refer to a person as vacuous—only their speech, thoughts, etc., can be so described. To avoid the most common error involving these words, just remember that something vapid isn’t stupid, it’s bland.



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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up on our discussion of terms related to politics and government.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

This Week: A Modicum of Civility on the Podcast + unrest

unrest
Journalists often use this mild term to describe all manner of civil disorders, but it’s silly to call mayhem or chaos merely “unrest” when there are bullets flying about and bodies lying in the streets.


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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up on our discussion of terms related to politics and government.

Buy the book!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This Week: Wrapping Up the Book Sale, Plus The Magi(c) of Christmas + wreath/wreaths/wreathe/wreathes

wreath/wreaths/wreathe/wreathes
One circle of greens is a wreath (rhymes with “teeth”). The plural is “wreaths” (rhymes with “heaths”). In both cases the TH is unvoiced (like the TH in “both”).

To decorate something with wreaths is wreathe it (rhymes with “breathe” with a voiced TH like the one at the end of “bathe”). He or she wreathes it (also with a voiced TH).




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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we air our traditional Christmas episode.

Final week of the book sale! Through the end of the year, buy the Common Errors in English Usage book now for $15 with free shipping in the US.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This Week: Book Sale Continues! Plus, A Christmas Podcast + anxious/eager

anxious/eager
Most people use “anxious” interchangeably with “eager,” but its original meaning had to do with worrying, being full of anxiety. Perfectly correct phrases like “anxious to please” obscure the nervous tension implicit in this word and lead people to say less correct things like, “I’m anxious for Christmas morning to come so I can open my presents.” Traditionalists frown on anxiety-free anxiousness. Say instead you are eager for or looking forward to a happy event.




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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we discuss holiday greetings and the war on Christmas.

Book sale! Through the end of the year, buy the Common Errors in English Usage book now for $15 with free shipping in the US.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

This Week: Book Sale Continues! Plus, More on the Language of Politics on the Podcast + yea/yeah/yay

yea/yeah/yay
“Yea” is a very old-fashioned, formal way of saying “yes,” used mainly in voting. It’s the opposite of—and rhymes with—“nay.” When you want to write the common casual version of “yes,” the correct spelling is “yeah” (sounds like “yeh”). When the third grade teacher announced a class trip to the zoo, we all yelled “yay!” (the opposite of “boo!”). That was back when I was only yay big.




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https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up our discussion of words related to government and politics. This week the topic is caucuses, lobbyists, PACs, and more.

Book sale! Through the end of the year, buy the Common Errors in English Usage book now for $15 with free shipping in the US.