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My War on Errorism

Posted on November 15, 2011 @ 7:01 PM in Uncategorized

Isn’t this a great poster? One of my American Facebook Friends shared it this week and it seemed wildly appropriate for yours truly to blog about.

Typos and malapropisms abound these days.

Here are three troublesome pairs I’ve spotted or have been asked about.

Complimentary vs Complementary

Complimentary means there’s no cost. It’s free. With someone’s compliments.

Complementary almost contains the word “complete”. If you think of it that way, then two things that work together to form one would be complementary. They add to each other. Enhance each other.

When complementary angles are added together, they equal 90o or a right angle.

Adieu vs Ado

This one really surprises me because I read or hear it so often: “Without further adieu”. That makes absolutely no sense at all!

“Adieu” means “farewell” or “good-bye”. Literally, the French expression “à Dieu” means “to God” so perhaps “Godspeed” is a more appropriate figurative translation.

You would never say, “Without further farewell” when you really mean without further fuss, trouble or messing about. We’re getting on with it.

Affect vs Effect

To “affect” means to “have an influence on”. To “effect” means to “bring about” or “cause to happen”.

Associate the soft “a” sound with being tender and kind, as in “affectionate” (emotional). And the long “e” sound of “effect” with the same sound in “event” (factual).

Learning to use these pairs of words correctly will really help your writing stand out from the crowd.

What are your pet peeves or bugaboos? (Love that word!)
Do you have trouble with other pairs I might help you with?

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