Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mistakes I see and hear every day...

...or have just noticed recently.

The English language is a tough one. It is a fusion of a few different languages; Latin, Greek, Norse and Norman-French to name a few. Britons should consider themselves lucky that they were raised learning English because it's one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. Despite the fact that it is 'our' language, I still notice mistakes every single day, some of which I've been guilty of too.

Bought/Brought
‘Bought’ relates to buying something. ‘Brought’ relates to bringing something. For example, "I bought a new donkey and brought it back to my farm." The easy way to remember which is which is that ‘bring’ and ‘brought’ both start with ‘br’. ‘Buy’ and ‘bought’ start with ‘b’ only. This is one of those awkward ones that a spellchecker won’t catch. - Also, I realised I don't actually own a farm, so does anyone want this donkey? I named him Dave.


Your/You're
This one grates on me like a chalkboard being scratched. I find it so simple, yet I see it on Facebook and MSN all the time! ‘Your’ - belonging to you. ‘You're’ - You are. "You're your father's son" or "You're going to annoy me if you can't get your ‘your’s and your ‘you're’s the correct way around."
The thing that makes me lose faith in the educational system is when I see kids typing ‘ur’ and ‘ure’ and still getting it wrong!

Affect/Effect
When people get grammar or words wrong, it has an effect on me. How does that effect affect you? Well, you end up reading this blog post for one. ‘Effect’ is almost always a noun, and it is the result of something. To ‘affect’ something is generally a verb. The effect is the change, and affecting something is the process of changing or influencing something.



Accept/Except
This is a minor one, but not many people realise that they're doing it. You may be thinking to yourself that you never get these two words mixed up, and you may be right. The reason that they're on my list is because of the way that a lot of people pronounce the word ‘acceptable’. I hear it pronounced ‘exceptable’ all the time, which is not a word. Try saying both versions out loud and determine if you're one of those people. Broken down, acceptable becomes ac-cep-ta-ble, and due to the ‘ac’ and ‘cep’, we get a false ‘X’ sound. It's the first ‘ac' sound that makes all the difference. - Pronouncing it as ‘exceptable’ is unACceptable!

Lose/Loose
An understandable one, this. In our language, a single ‘O’ makes an ‘oh’ sound, whereas a double ‘O’ is pronounced ‘ooo’. The way that ‘lose’ is spelled, implies that it should be pronounced ‘lohse’, and I think that's why many folks get it wrong. ‘Loose’ is an adjective, meaning the opposite of tight, take away one ‘o’ and you get ‘lose’. - The modelling agency told me to get lost because I needed to lose some weight. I returned in a month to prove my weight loss by showing them that my trousers were loose. They told me I was too ugly anyway. Their loss, losers.






Its/It's
Guilty. I make this mistake often, despite knowing the difference between them both. ‘It's’ means ‘it is’, while ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun. The reason that this sometimes catches me out is because usually when something belongs to a man, it's the man's possession (notice the apostrophe usage), but when something belongs to ‘it’, it's its. Oh well - if it wants its own section in my blog, it's going to get it.

Alot
...is not a word. - I still see it a lot though.

Literally
Right, this one is a bit different. It is used wrongly so often that we've forgotten its actual meaning. ‘Literally’ means "it really happened". So when you tell me that your dad literally exploded when he found out you were having sex, and that he literally flew out the door to go to your boyfriend's house, I find it hard to believe that he could fly, especially after having just exploded. What you mean to say, is figuratively. - Unless of course, he literally did explode for some reason and the explosion caused him to fly out of the door. Nope, probably not.

Desert/Dessert
I don't really blame people for getting this one wrong. Words like ‘desert’ have only one ‘s’ in them and it's normally pronounced like a ‘z’. So why then does ‘dessert’ have two of them and yet still they get pronounced like a ‘z’. Are we being purposely confused? Who thought that was a good idea?




Two/Too/To
Two turtles went to my house. Two toucans went to my house too. We should all know these by now? Surely? No? You're a lost cause.

Crotch/Crutch
This one annoys me. You walk around with the aid of crutches. You can kick a guy in the crotch, not in the crutch - unless he's been maimed, uses crutches and you want him to fall over, you evil person. The word ‘crotch’ gets confused with ‘crutch’ because crutches were fashioned from the crotch of a tree, which is where its limbs divide (the same goes for our bodies).
After searching for images relating to this confusion, I found out that there is such a thing as a crotch crutch:

Wow.

Accidentally
A lot of people write this as ‘accidently’, which is wrong. The way to remember the spelling of this word is thinking about the root word: ‘accidental’. The same goes for a few other, similar words. He said he did it accidentally. Incidentally and coincidentally his friend said he did it unintentionally too.

Receive, Relieve, Believe etc.
"I before E, except after C" seems like a good rule to live by, but then you grow up and realise that actually... your teachers set you up to fail in that regard. There are actually hundreds of words that this rule does not apply to; deity, foreign, science, height, beige, society, veil, weird, seismic, neighbour, seize, protein, either, forfeit, feisty are quite a few examples. This isn't counting the plurals of many words ending in ‘cy’, such as; frequencies, fallacies, vacancies and indecencies.
I still have to double check after I type a word like ‘receive’ or ‘believe’. I propose a new rule: "I before E, occasionally".

Irony
You all have Alanis Morissette to blame for this one. When something is ironic, it is unexpected. It's that simple. Alanis Morissette had no clue when she sang "it's a free ride when you've already paid" or "it's like rain on your wedding day". This is not irony - it is misfortune or coincidence. - A traffic jam when you're already late... to receive an award from the Municipal Planning Board for reducing the city's automobile congestion by 70 percent. Now that's irony.


This is but a select few that I can be bothered to write about today. There are a lot more though, feel free to let me know which ones you notice the most. Also, bonus points to anyone who finds errors in my post, it would be quite ...ironic.



47 comments:

Gabriel said...

I wish more people read this blog! English native speakers need it!

OatmealStout said...

I see this all the time mostly with people who speak English as their first and only language. =/

Potholderz said...

Interesting post, i'm not an english major but i would assume these misuses would drive them insane.

Icepax_Nmir said...

Oh, how I have enjoyed this post...
These are mistakes I see everywhere and yet nobody does something against it...
Makes me sad

Team Panda said...

people always tell me English is a tough language to learn as a second language, its hard to relate cause it's the only one i speak.

tortoracer said...

most of these are forgivable, but most i have down anyways

Jozzy said...

Yes!! I love this post. For some reason, it bothers me when people don't use words correctly.

Aamir Muhammad said...

Dammit english you are not my first language, am I still accountable?

BrAd? said...

Very true, ESPECIALLY on social networking sites.
People use excuses like "it's the internet, who cares if i use abbreviations".
Writing the completely WRONG word isn't an abbreviation, assholes.

Remi said...

I'm not an English major either, but most of these are common sense. It's a shame these days, really.

Alistarr said...

I live in the deep south...trust me, most people should have their lips sewn shut at birth around here. It would save my forehead from the repeated wall-bangings the misuse of English inflict to it.

DynamiteGanja said...

I admit to being a horrible speller. Thank god for spell check!

Janez said...

Thats interesting and quite an in depth read thank you...

Just Me said...

i enjoyed this very much

der said...

Very interesting. Reminded me of a few things I keep forgetting.

Clint Mullins said...

My girlfriend is a grammar nazi, you would get along with her. But not too well I hope!

J said...

Now if only this were mandatory in highschool

MrChris said...

Grammar nazis, the only thing keeping idiots in-line. <3 Much love my frined!

Leizer said...

You forgot There, They're and Their ..that's really annoying

Oscar said...

This needs to be copied and pasted. Everywhere. All the time.

Frank Garbachino said...

Woohoo english class.

SOMS said...

Accidently, oops i mean accidentally i made this mistake.

Fenno said...

Nothing bothers me more than seeing these mistakes made by my friends.. sadly, trying to correct them has never shown any results.

Lich King said...

It's not my native language, so sometimes English is driving me nuts

Prof. Keeling said...

Sometimes though, it seems it's the native speakers that laze into bad habits- like they have this sense of entitlement regarding the English language. "I know how to speak English, I don't need to take a class over it," is what I heard a lot in school.

Ender said...

I'm new here so I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, but my personal pet peeve is the difference between less and fewer. If you can count it, then it's fewer, whereas if you can't count it, it's less.

Ex: There's less water in the ocean/There are fewer drops of water in the ocean.

Johnny R said...

I wouldn't say that english is one of the hardest language to learn... it's not easy, yeah but it's not so complex either, take hungarian for example - 29 grammatical cases?! - thanks, but no thanks.
Anyway you've made very good point with all that typical typing mistakes.

Butcher Bradley said...

Very nice post. The only one that sometimes gets me is affect/effect.

Clint Mullins said...

I just wanted to say that irony is ALWAYS used incorrectly. So frequently that I believe the definition has almost been replaced. Its like the "I could care less." Which is wrong, but everyone (not me though) says it meaning "I couldn't care less."

R.C said...

It would be ironic if you got the definition of irony wrong, wouldn't it? But yeah, I'd be lying if I said I didn't make those mistakes either!

Fishy Corporation said...

Thanks for the info, will remember this :)

NHM said...

wow, you've pointed out many mistakes, gonna have my desert now :D

Malkavian said...

sup bro

Neuroquila said...

A lot of my friends make these mistakes when I chat with them and it irks me to no end. >.<

Nate said...

ill make note of these

freightblog said...

really nice work.
i dont have this bar where i can follow you?

lordxchris said...

Oh goodness. All of these things anger me so deeply.

biboa said...

sometimes people just can't be bothered i guess. nice blog, btw

Kerry said...

To simply be 'unexpected' is not the definition of irony, was that a deliberate ironic mistake? Irony, put simply, is the expression of something that is opposite to the literal meaning, commonly for humourous effect. For instance, it is ironic that people do not understand the definition of irony.

philmin9 said...

I hear people say 19 cent instead of 19 cents.

Lundra said...

Great blog. Will read again. followed.

Jacob said...

I see the affect/effect and your/you're mistakes the most.

Nice blog, +followed

Necroticism said...

Some people get upset when you corrected them... they don't want to learn! what a shame.

pixel said...

i hate when people mix up words like these

Scrogglez said...

than/then

makes me so mad

UGHH!!

Kamatacci said...

I know alot isn't a word, but I still use it all the time. Affect/Effect is really the only one that gets me alot. (crap)

Thanks for putting the definition of irony in. So many people mess that up anymore.

Dark Scheme said...

Very helpful guide to those who don't know the differences. Thanks for this!

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