Monday, July 6, 2015

foot/feet: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Monday, July 6, 2015

foot/feet
You can use eight-foot boards to side a house, but “foot” conveys a plural sense only in this sort of adjectival phrase combined with a number (and usually hyphenated). The boards are eight feet (not foot) long. It’s always x feet per second and x feet away.


___________
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!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

forego/forgo: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Sunday, July 5, 2015

forego/forgo
The E in “forego” tells you it has to do with going before. It occurs mainly in the expression “foregone conclusion,” a conclusion arrived at in advance. “Forgo” means to abstain from or do without. “After finishing his steak, he decided to forgo the blueberry cheesecake.”

 

___________
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!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

statue of limitations/statute of limitations: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Saturday, July 4, 2015

statue of limitations/statute of limitations
What would a statue of limitations look like? A cop stopping traffic? The Venus de Milo? Her missing arms would definitely limit her ability to scratch what itches. The legal phrase limiting the period after which an offense can no longer be prosecuted is the statute (law) of limitations.

___________
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!

Friday, July 3, 2015

alot/a lot: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday, July 3, 2015

alot/a lot 
Perhaps this common spelling error began because there does exist in English a word spelled “allot” which is a verb meaning to apportion or grant. The correct form, with “a” and “lot” separated by a space is perhaps not often encountered in print because formal writers usually use other expressions such as “a great deal,” “often,” etc.

You shouldn’t write “alittle” either. It’s “a little.”


___________
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!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

good/well: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Thursday, July 2, 2015

good/well
You do something well, but a thing is good. The exception is verbs of sensation in phrases such as “the pie smells good,” or “I feel good.” Despite the arguments of nitpickers, this is standard usage. Saying “the pie smells well” would imply that the pastry in question had a nose. Similarly, “I feel well” is also acceptable, especially when discussing health; but it is not the only correct usage.



___________
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!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

doggy dog world/dog-eat-dog world: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, July 1, 2015

doggy dog world/dog-eat-dog world
The punning name of the popular rap star Snoop Doggy Dogg did a lot to spread this misspelling. The original image is of a cannibalistically competitive world in which people turn on each other, like dogs eating other dogs.


 
___________
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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

shrunk/shrank: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Tuesday, June 30, 2015

shrunk/shrank
The simple past tense form of “shrink” is “shrank” and the past participle is “shrunk”; it should be “Honey, I Shrank the Kids,” not “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” (Thanks a lot, Disney.)

“Honey, I’ve shrunk the kids” would be standard, and also grammatically acceptable is “Honey, I’ve shrunken the kids” (though deplorable from a child-rearing point of view).



___________
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!