“Carrots” are those crunchy orange vegetables Bugs Bunny is so fond of, but this spelling gets misused for less familiar words which are pronounced the same but have very different meanings.
Precious stones like diamonds are weighed in carats. The same word is used to express the proportion of pure gold in an alloy, though in this usage it is sometimes spelled “karat” (hence the abbreviation “20K gold”).
A caret is a proofreader’s mark showing where something needs to be inserted, shaped like a tiny pitched roof. It looks rather like a French circumflex, but is usually distinct from it on modern computer keyboards. Carets are extensively used in computer programming. Just remember, if you can’t eat it, it’s not a carrot.
End-of-year sale on the book: Use the coupon code FIFTEEN to get Common Errors in English Usage 3rd Edition at $4 off the cover price. Order through wmjasco.com.
This week on the podcast we go back in time and discuss a great George Eliot sentence.
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!