PHRASE: Up your intelligence and don’t get lackadaisical with language


1. “Irregardless” isn’t a word, but “regardless” is.

2. There’s no B in supposedly.

3. It’s “newk-lee-ar,” like a nucleus, not “newk-yoo-lar.”

4. Are your purposes very intense? No? Then it’s “for all intents and purposes.”

5. Not one word, but two: a lot.

6. No S on the end, just “anyway.”

7. Do you not care at all? Then you couldn’t care less.

8. It’s pronounced “mis-chuv-us,” like mischief, not “mis-chee-vee-us.”

9. Unless someone is of a mind to close things, it’s “closed-minded.”

10. Pick one, either “end” or “result,” but together they’re the Department of Redundancy Department. See also: own personal, join together, free gift, actual fact, sum total, plan ahead…

11. If you’re not newly arrived from Italy, it’s “vice versa.”

12. “Literally” indicates exactness, so if you’re very hungry you’re probably not “literally” starving, you’re “figuratively” starving.

13. Those who feel nausea are “nauseated,” while those who cause the nausea are “nauseous.”

14. Random does not mean “weird,” it most commonly means “without pattern, aim or reason.” So, the cat in the Santa costume isn’t random, it’s weird.

15. It’s “whole other” or “another,” because “nother” is a colloquial fabrication.

16. This one’s just ridiculous. Why utter the made-up “impactful” when “powerful,” “influential” and “important” exist in the world?

17. Unless you’re on a ship, the flag is flying at “half-staff.”

18. The strong Italian coffee is “espresso,” not “expresso.”

19. “Purposely” means intentionally or on purpose; “purposefully” means with a sense of purpose. So, chances are good she purposely ignored your calls, rather than purposefully.

20. On hot summer days, we enjoy “sherbet,” not “sherbert.”

21. We “orient” ourselves in space, no extra syllables needed.

22. Actually, it doesn’t “jibe,” unless it refers to jazz and hepcats and all that.

23. “Your” is the possessive form of “you” and functions as an adjective. So, unless this “awesome” is a noun, use “you’re,” the contraction of “you are.”

24. “Each” and “every” are synonymous, so pick just one for simplicity.

25. The word is “thus.” It was always thus.

26. OK. We verbized. Oops!




Youths, school may be out for the summer, the weather may be infernal, but this is no time for brain melt.

In fact, we address this not just to the youths, but to everyone: Grammar Grouch is on the prowl.

Yes, everyone’s favorite curmudgeon (though, if being a warrior for the excellent and proper use of language is curmudgeonly, then fine) has decided it’s time, in these languid days of late spring and summer, to take a stand for Respecting the Language.

Beyond the terrible misuse of words when they’re printed on the seats of pants and shorts — a terrible, terrible thing — are the common culprits, the fingernails on chalkboards, the “supposably” and “irregardless.”

Sure, lazy days might seem like they call for lazy language, but they don’t! Herewith, in a handy word cloud, are the culprits that must be stopped!


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