The Write Stuff
February 2013 Volume 9 Issue 2
I’ll Take Potpourri for $200, Alex
I assume those of you who are fans of Jeopardy will understand the headline. As for the rest of you, you may wonder if I’ve gone off my rocker. Not yet. Like the Potpourri category on the long-running game show, I present a hodgepodge, assortment or variety–take your pick–of word use gaffes and note how to eliminate them.
1. Make sure you’re not inadvertently repeating yourself.
- ATM machine. While easily said, when you consider that ATM stands for automated teller machine, you may blush with shame when you realize you wrote “automated teller machine machine.”
- 500 hundred. Same principle here, except this one will trip up your tongue. Your error should come to light if you read your copy, when you say “five hundred hundred.”
2. Use the right word, especially when the wrong one won’t be noted by spell check.
- Beautiful shudders on windows. I shudder at this with disbelief, which isn’t at all beautiful. A real estate agent included this gem on a property description instead of using the correct word, shutters.
- 5 miles passed P&H. Thank you to my eagle-eyed friend, Elizabeth, for forwarding this. She wondered whether readers of this Places to Stay direction should be mourning for five miles. Homonyms can be pesky; passed and past might sound the same, but they sure don’t mean the same thing.
3. Speaking of spell check, why wouldn’t you always use it?
- Schedule a prvate tour. Does this aggravate you? Would it aggregate you more if I told you I saw it in a brochure from a private school? Yikes!
- Pleed your case. Hmmm… Spell check suggested eight alternatives, including the right one–plead–all of which are words. Pleed is not.
Do you know businesses that could benefit from my writing or editing expertise, or book authors who need a talented editor? I’ll treat your referrals like gold and you’ll be viewed as a superstar for making the introduction.
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