Today we are going to Muse about what you are saying. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
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Is that what you meant to say?
Today it is chilly, actually down to the 40°’s. Now, for most of you that is nothing. For some it is a balmy day. But here in south Florida it is notable. We haven’t experienced this since last JANUARY.
So, I am bundled up in a sweater (seldom used), with the heat on (dust from the vents) hunkered down for a day at home.
Language and how it is misused
For some reason my thoughts today turned to language and how it is misused. I’ve expressed my views in the past about expressions such as “Listen up!” Tell me how that is done. Do you listen down? The recent usage that has repelled me the most is the now common dictate to “Take a listen.” That just sounds ignorant to me. But . . . I must admit it makes as much sense as “Take a look“.
I recently came across a discussion on StumbleUpon which I found quite interesting. I will share it with you.
The topic was “Homonyms — words that are spelled or pronounced the same but mean different things …which (can cause) even the most highly educated English speakers get tripped up sometimes.”
Steve Pinker, a linguist and cognitive scientist at Harvard University, compiled a list of commonly misused words. Here are some.
Adverse: Unfavorable or harmful; commonly confused with “averse,” which means disinclined.
Appraise: To evaluate the value of something; commonly confused with “apprise,” which means “to inform.”
As far as: The same; commonly confused with the phrase “as for,” which means “with regard to.”
Begs the question: Implies a conclusion that isn’t supported by evidence; commonly confused with “raises the question.”
Bemused: Bewildered; commonly confused with “amused,” which means entertained.
Cliché: A noun; commonly misused as an adjective.
Criteria: A plural word; commonly misused as a singular word. The singular is “criterion.”
Data: A plural word; commonly used as a singular noun.
Depreciate: To decrease in value; commonly confused with “deprecate,” which means to disapprove of.
Dichotomy: A division between two things; commonly confused with “a difference.”
Disinterested: Unbiased; commonly confused with “uninterested.”
Enervate: To cause someone to feel drained; commonly misused to mean “to energize.”
Enormity: Extremely bad or morally wrong; commonly confused with “enormous.”
Fortuitous: To happen by chance; commonly confused with “fortunate.”
Fulsome: Excessively flattering; commonly misused to mean “full or copious.”
Homogeneous: Pronounced “home-genius.” The word is commonly misspelled as “homogenous.”
Hone: Sharpen or refine; commonly misused in the phrase “home in on,” which means to move toward a goal or target.
Hung: Suspended; commonly misused to mean “suspended from the neck until dead.”
Intern (verb): To detain or imprison; commonly confused with “inter,” which means to bury a body.
Ironic: To happen in a way that’s opposite to expectations; commonly misused to mean “unfortunate.”
Irregardless: Not a word, but commonly confused with “regardless.”
Literally: A fact; commonly confused with “figuratively,” or metaphorically.
New Age: Spiritualistic and holistic; commonly misused to mean modern or futuristic.
Noisome: Smelly; commonly misused to mean noisy.”
Nonplussed: Surprised or confused; commonly misused to mean bored.
Opportunism: Exploiting opportunities; commonly misused to mean creating opportunities.
Parameter: A variable; commonly misused to mean a condition or limit.
Phenomena: A plural noun; commonly misused as a mass noun.
Politically correct: Inoffensive or appropriate; commonly misused to mean fashionable.
Practicable: To be able to put together successfully; commonly confused with “practical.”
Proscribe: To condemn; commonly confused with “prescribe,” which means to recommend.
Protagonist: An active or lead character; commonly confused with “proponent.”
Refute: To prove something false; commonly misused to mean “to allege to be false.”
Reticent: Restrained, or shy; commonly confused with “reluctant.”
Staunch: Loyal; commonly confused with “stanch,” which means to stop the flow.
Tortuous: Twisting; commonly confused with “torturous.”
Unexceptionable: Not open to objection; commonly confused with “unexceptional,” which means ordinary.
Untenable: Not sustainable; commonly misused to mean painful or unbearable.
Urban legend: A false and widely circulated story; commonly misused to mean “someone who is legendary in a city.”
Verbal: In linguistic form; commonly confused with “spoken.”.
To lie (as in “lies, lay, has lain”): To recline. To lay (as in “lays, laid, has laid”): To set down. To lie (as in “lies, lied, has lied”): To fib.
So, I ask you,
“Is That What You Meant To Say?”
More to come.
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