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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Is That What You Really Meant to Say?

I like to read about gardening (sometimes I even work in the garden) and the following caught my eye:
Can this groundcover store
the sun's heat as gravel?
“To complete your landscaping, plant low-water-demand groundcover plants near your house on the south and west sides. These reflect more of the sun’s heat and do not store it as gravel.”
Well, now. I could really use some more gravel on my driveway. Have I missed something about plants that store the sun’s heat as gravel? Perhaps high-water-demand groundcover? And would this be a practical alternative to calling the local quarry and ordering a truckload of gravel?
The more I thought about it, though, the more I thought maybe the
We need to watch our use
of words right from the gecko.
article wasn’t really saying that some plants can store the sun’s heat as gravel. Maybe they just left out a word, and meant to say, “as gravel does.”
A disappointing thought, but that really makes more sense.
It started me thinking about frequently misused words.
Of course, there are the commonly confused words that sound alike. Accept/Except. Elicit/Illicit. Climatic/Climactic. Principal/Principle. There are lots more.
What's your wok of life?
And the smack-yourself-in-the-forehead common ones. Their/There/They’re. To/Too/Two. Its/It’s.

Don’t forget the commonly mis-said phrases. Suppose to. Use to. Couldn’t care less.
Then there are the sometimes puzzling substitutions of one word (or non-word) for another.
Chester's drawers
Firstable, those of us who have chosen woks of life where language is important need to sit the standard high. From the gecko, we need to make sure we use our words in pacifically the correct manner. For all intensive purposes, our use of the language should reflect our skillets and hard work. Otherwise, our efforts may be all for knot.
One agent has tweeted, “Note to authors: if you're going to call an agent stupid in response to a rejection, remember - it's ‘YOU'RE stupid.’ Not ‘your stupid.’

In spite of all that, I’m not sure I want to speculate on what’s contained in Chester’s drawers.


Kait said...

Hilarious! Never did think about Chester's drawers! I didn't know I was having one of those moments until Patty Duke died and I read that the words to the theme song were "a hot dog makes her lose control." I always thought it was "a hop that makes her lose control." For those of you who are too young to remember--hop was a word for dance--at least in my neck of the woods. Still trying to digest the hot dog version.

Jim Jackson said...

It is sssooo hard to catch homonyms in you’re own rigting. The one that, but threw the grace of God and my partner, Jan, nearly snuck into my first published novel was this sentence: In the second grade, Sister Margarite beat it out of me, wrapping my knuckles bloody with the edge of a metal ruler she carried in the sleeve of her habit. Threw a dozen drafts, two critique groups, a publisher, and editor, and a dozen beta readers, the wrapping staid in place covering with the edge of the metal ruler knuckles that, in reality, Sister Maragrite had rapped.

~ Jim

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Too funny! I remember all the patriotic songs and hymns we routinely mangled as children. There's a story about Chester's drawers.

Warren Bull said...

Watt fun!

KM Rockwood said...

Kait, I vaguely remember that Patty Duke song--I always thought it was "a hop that..."
We had "sock hops," because the dances were held in the gym, and they didn't want shoes on the gym floor.

You're right, Jim. There's nothing more frustrating than reading your own published work and finding an idiotic misused word that has somehow made it past me, critique readers, beta readers, editors, etc.

Margaret, my favorite "patriotic" story is the one about the classroom guinea pig named "Frall." It seems that he was born in a neighboring class room, and his parents were Liberty and Justice. Someone--Bill Crider, I think--has a lady with a trio of goats: Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, who, needless to day, "follow her all the days of her life."

Tanks, Warren.

Shari Randall said...

Oh, this is fun! And thank goodness for sharp eyed readers like Jan!
I love the way kids mangle words. One of my favorite passages from a book is when Beverly Cleary's Ramona learns the National Anthem. She hears "through the dawn's early light" and thinks there's a special light called the dawnzer that throws a lee light.

KM Rockwood said...

Shari, I'll never forget the cousins who were not particularly well versed in the German part of our heritage, and dutifully sang the Christmas carol "Atomic bomb, Atomic bomb," when everyone else was singing "O Tannenbaum."