December 9, 2012
confusion, English, healer, heeler, homophones, language, misuse, rain, reign, rein, waive, wave
Dang, has it been that long since I posted here? Actually, I’ve had some real editing work to do: a technical paper, a teen novel, some test papers . . . and now, another novel/memoir.
But I can’t leave the gap, so here are three more word-mixups to conjure with:
- reign/rein/rain: The first word (reign) has to do with royalty (some folks also use it to refer to presidential terms), and refers to the length of the term royalty (elected or otherwise) stays on the throne. The second one (rein) comes from horsemanship, and refers to those straps of leather used to steer a horse. It is also used (metaphorically, in most cases) to refer to controls on people’s behavior, as in “we need to rein in our Senators and Congresspeople, before they spend us into bankruptcy.” The third word (rain) is only about the weather, those drops of water that fall down from the sky.
November 30, 2012
a lot, confusion, English, flair, flare, homophones, language, misuse, principal, principle, reigh, rein, tenant, tenet
Sorry for the long delay between posts; been dealing with some personal stuff, more than the usual levels (those who know me already know the details; those who don’t have no need to).
Okay, let’s do a few others that almost everyone seems to get wrong:
- “a lot” is a synonym for “a whole bunch of stuff”; it can also be written as the single word “lots” if you prefer. However it should not be written as “alot” (that’s not only not a correct usage, it’s not even a word in the English language!). Meanwhile, if you spell it with two l’s (as in “allot”) you are dividing something into shares, as in “giving to each his allotted portion.”) This is less often misused.
- Then there is “principal” vs. “principle” . . . most folks know this, but still get it wrong at times.The “-pal” word has several meanings: (a) to describe an upper-management school official, (b) to indicate the “main” portion of something, or (c) to define the pre-interest portion of a financial transaction, such as a loan.The “-ple” version is a synonym for “tenet” (see below). (We could of course refer to a “lack of principles by the unprincipled principal” and be speaking about an educator with no ethical sense.)