Friday, August 28, 2015

angel/angle: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday, August 28, 2015

angel/angle
People who want to write about winged beings from Heaven often miscall them “angles.” A triangle has three angles. The Heavenly Host is made of angels. Just remember the adjectival form: “angelic.” If you pronounce it aloud you’ll be reminded that the E comes before the L.

 
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This is the tenth year 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, August 27, 2015

coupe de gras/coup de grace: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Thursday, August 27, 2015

coupe de gras/coup de grace
A coupe de gras (pronounced “coop duh grah”) would be a cup of fat; what is intended is the French fencing term coup de grace (pronounced “coo duh grahss”), the final blow that puts the defeated victim out of his misery.


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This is the tenth year 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!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

medal/metal/meddle/mettle: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, August 26, 2015

medal/metal/meddle/mettle
A person who proves his or her mettle displays courage or stamina. The word “mettle” is seldom used outside of this expression, so people constantly confuse it with other similar-sounding words.





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This is the tenth year 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!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

card shark/cardsharp: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

card shark/cardsharp
Although he may behave like a shark, the slick, cheating card player is a “cardsharp.”



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This is the tenth year 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!

Monday, August 24, 2015

scrapegoat/scapegoat: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Monday, August 24, 2015

scrapegoat/scapegoat
Leviticus 16:5–10 describes an ancient ritual in which a goat was symbolically laden with the sins of the people and driven out into the desert to the demon Azazel. In early English translations confusion led to this goat being called a “scapegoat” (for “escaped goat”). A person or cause being sacrificed as a victim to spare others is therefore referred to as a scapegoat. You load the burdens on; you don’t scrape them off.



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This is the tenth year 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!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

pair (number): Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Sunday, August 23, 2015

pair (number) 
“This is a left-handed pair of scissors.” “There is a pair of glasses on the mantelpiece.” “Pair” is singular in this sort of expression. Note that we say, “That is a nice pair of pants,” even though we also say, “Those are nice pants.”



 
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This is the tenth year 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!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

academia: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Saturday, August 22, 2015

academia
Although some academics are undoubtedly nuts, the usual English-language pronunciation of “academia” does not rhyme with “macadamia.” The third syllable is pronounced “deem.” Just say “academe” and add “ee-yuh.”

However, there’s an interesting possibility if you go with “ack-uh-DAME-ee-yuh”: although some people will sneer at your lack of sophistication, others will assume you’re using the Latin pronunciation and being learned.


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This is the tenth year 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!