Saturday, March 28, 2015

exorcise/exercise: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Saturday, March 28, 2015

exorcise/exercise
You can try to exorcise evil spirits using an exorcist; but when you give your body a workout, it’s exercise.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

bail/bale: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday, March 27, 2015

bail/bale 
You bail the boat and bale the hay.

In the expression “bail out” meaning to abandon a position or situation, it is nonstandard in America to use “bale,” though that spelling is widely accepted in the UK. The metaphor in the US is to compare oneself when jumping out of a plane to a bucket of water being tossed out of a boat, though that is probably not the origin of the phrase.

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This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rueben/Reuben: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rueben/Reuben
Diner owners who put “Rueben sandwiches” on their menus may rue the day they did so when they encounter a customer who cares about the correct spelling of this classic American concoction of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread. Although the origin of the sandwich is obscure, being credited to several different restaurateurs, all of them spelled their name “Reuben,” with the E before the U.


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This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

soar/sore: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, March 25, 2015

soar/sore
By far the more common word is “sore,” which refers to aches, pains, and wounds: sore feet, sore backs, sores on your skin. The more unusual word used to describe the act of gliding through the air or swooping up toward the heavens is spelled “soar.” This second word is often used metaphorically: eagles, spirits, and prices can all soar. If you know your parts of speech, just keep in mind that “soar” is always a verb, and “sore” can be either a noun (“running sore”) or an adjective (“sore loser”) but never a verb. In archaic English “sore” could also be an adverb meaning “sorely” or “severely”: “they were sore afraid.”

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This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

tender hooks/tenterhooks: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Tuesday, March 24, 2015

tender hooks/tenterhooks 
A “tenter” is a canvas-stretcher, and to be “on tenterhooks” means to be as tense with anticipation as a canvas stretched on one.

 
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This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

exasperate/exacerbate: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Monday, March 23, 2015

exasperate/exacerbate
People get exasperated (irritated); situations get exacerbated (made worse).


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This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

practice/practise: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Sunday, March 22, 2015

practice/practise
In the United Kingdom, “practice” is the noun, “practise” the verb; but in the US the spelling “practice” is commonly used for both, though the distinction is sometimes observed. “Practise” as a noun is, however, always wrong in both places: a doctor always has a “practice,” never a “practise.”

 
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This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

Enjoy the calendar? Buy the book!