|Oh, English, you are the reigning (but not the reining and raining) queen of perplexing languages!|
Your and you’re, accept and except, there and their and they’re, affect and effect, etc. Yes, it makes me cringe, too. The list of commonly misused and confused words is long and all too familiar. Because we all know the correct way to use these words, and yet most of us will still get them wrong occasionally, right? (Grateful for my editors who pick up these errors in my manuscripts!) But what about those word usage mistakes that are maybe a bit less common? To the point that we wonder if they're acceptable? As a reader, I find these "mistakes" distracting and frustrating and often downright funny. As a writer, I find them mortifying and horrifying but also still pretty funny.
Here’s my list (in no particular order) of some less common word misuses that are worth pondering.
Floor vs. ground – Can these be used interchangeably? Maybe they can, but to me, when you’re indoors the ground is the floor.
Roof vs. ceiling – Again, when you’re indoors, you look up at the ceiling. A few days ago, I read a passage in a book where the light bulb in the basement was hanging from the roof. This one gave me a chuckle and a head scratch. (But also, the idea for this post. So, yay for “mistakes.”)
Animal feet – Okay, guilty. I'm not sure if this one truly counts as a misuse, but I once called a horse’s hoof a foot. (Many thanks to Melinda Curtis for catching it when reading one of my Christmas Town novellas.) Technically, anatomically speaking, it is correct in that horses do have feet. And since I made this “mistake,” I’ve read it in books many times. But the experience converted me. I think a more concise description is better – paws, claws, talons, hooves, pincers, or whatever. Call those furry feet by their fancy species-specific names!
|That's some fancy hoof-work right there!|
Couldn’t care less or could care less – If you could care less, then you’ve still got some feelings buried in there. When what you really mean is you could NOT possibly care any less about Carol’s grammar peeves than you do at this moment.
Home in or hone in – Meaning to focus or zoom in on something. It’s home in, people! This phrase originates from the homing pigeon days where the pigeons would, well, home in. Hone means to sharpen or polish. However, when I googled it, I discovered that it’s one of those phrases that is so often misused that “hone in” is beginning to be acceptable. I promise it’s home in. Please, use it this way. Don’t be part of the problem.
Jibe or jive or gibe – Bottom line jive is music. A gibe is a mocking joke or taunt. And jibe means to agree, mesh with, or sync as in, “This doesn’t jibe with the information we received.” (This one is a bit more complex because a “gibe” is sometimes spelled “jibe.” And jibe is also a sailing term. For a more thorough explanation google it or check out this informative post: https://bit.ly/31mWbK5
|Thankful for my beta readers and editors who do not not care less!|
The funny thing is, I know I’m probably using plenty of others that I haven’t listed. So, please, enlighten me! Share your favorite and funniest word misuses. (Or maybe not so favorite and not so funny?)
For more information about Carol Ross, including a complete list of her Heartwarming novels, please visit her website: www.carolrossauthor.com