I picked up a funny little book called I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar by Sharon Nichols because it supports my motto: everyone needs an editor. It is a collection of road signs, store advertisements, and excerpts from books and newspapers that contain “egregious errors, disconcerting bloopers, and other linguistic slip-ups.” It resides on my coffee table and now has puckered pages because it also serves as a coaster.
Well, the shoe is on the other foot, the tables have turned, and the pot is calling the kettle black. (Thank you clichesite.com.) I discovered a list of commonly misused words and some of them were new to me—not the words, but the actual meanings. And, I have been guilty of misuse. Now, I judge me.
Here is a portion the list compiled by Tyler Vendetti at hellogiggles.com.
What I thought it meant: to skim or glance over something
What it actually means: to review something carefully, in-depth
What I thought it meant: a tragedy, an unfortunate event
What it actually means: a mockery, a parody
What I thought it meant: to willingly do something, to feel like you need to do something
What it actually means: to be forced to do something (willingly or unwillingly)
What I thought it meant: enormousness
What it actually means: extreme evil
What I thought it meant: awesome, fantastic
What it actually means: causing terror
I am guilty on all five counts; in fact terrific is one of my go-to words when wonderful isn’t quite enough. It’s time to expand my horizons and my vocabulary too.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” ~William Goldman, The Princess Bride