Saturday, November 28, 2015

paranoid: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Saturday, November 28, 2015

The most common meaning of “paranoid” has to do with irrational fears of persecution, especially the unjustified fear that people are plotting against you. More generally it is applied to irrational fears of other kinds; but it is often misused of rational fears, as in “I know my Mom has been reading my blog, so I’m paranoid that she’s found out what Jason and I did last Saturday night.” That’s not paranoia, but fully justifiable fear. It also doesn’t make sense to use “paranoid” about mild worries and fears. When you say you are paranoid, you should be conveying your own irrationality, not the risks you feel you are running.

This week on the podcast we present Paul Brians’ reading from his blog post “Let’s Talk Turkey” and a discussion of lots of other place names.

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

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!

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