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10 Commonly Misunderstood Words in English

If you're not sure about a word, look it up.

If you’re not sure about a word, look it up.

Here’s a helpful blog to help you brush up on your vocabulary. That’s always a good exercise.

10 Commonly Misunderstood Words in English.

I’m going to add a couple of words to the list.

Dearth: I’ve heard people use it to mean a full complement or lots of something. In fact, it means a scarcity or lack of.

Irregardless: Doesn’t exist. Use “regardless.”

What misuses are your pet peeves?

Best Wishes,

Where You At?

Every once in a while, I use my blog space for a language pet peeve. I tolerate it as well as a corkscrew in the navel when people end some sentences with prepositions. Not in all cases. I’m not crazy. I just like to maintain a certain elegance in language.

Ending a sentence with a preposition is not incorrect. You can do it. If someone has a small, handheld contraption that you can’t identify, you wouldn’t point and say, “For what is that?” Go ahead, say, “What is that for?”

From The Grammar Bible, by Michael Strumpf and Auriel Douglas [Henry Holt and Company, 2004]:

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a mortal sin to end a sentence with a preposition, as long as the sentence sounds natural and its meaning is clear. . . . It is absolutely antiquated to forbid ending a sentence with a preposition.

Fair enough. Never let it be said, I advocated something antiquated (except for genies). But. I will maintain that sometimes it just sounds better not to end a sentence with a preposition. Case in point: Jennifer Hudson’s song, “Where you at?” It’s a really good song. She has an incredible voice. Would it be too much to ask her to re-record the song with “Where are you?” Same number of syllables. I should write a letter.

Meanwhile, there is another language peeve I have that is, in fact, incorrect. Here comes that corkscrew: When the subjective case pronoun I is used as the object of a preposition. I know, right? Horrifying. If the pronoun is the object of the preposition, it should be objective case me or her or him. Lady Gaga offers a great example of turning that corkscrew every time she sings “There’s something about you and I.” Come on, Ga! It’s me. About you and me. Gaaaa!

Go ahead, listen for yourself. I’m going to listen again…well, because she has a great voice. And check out those skimpy though fabulous costume changes. If she and I did a video together, there may not be enough fabric for her and me. (See how I did that…)

Best Wishes,


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