RE: Remember those pet peeves?

Subject: RE: Remember those pet peeves?
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 09:30:34 -0700

Here's an alternative perspective:

These terms contain obsolete or archaic words. I would expect that most
modern writers would not immediately know their origin, and thus would
assume the incorrect homophone.

Offhand I can't think of a *perfect* replacement for "strait-laced", but
one might use restricted or even cramped.

Instead of "just deserts", one could simply use "justice" or "what
he(she) rightly deserved".

I might use "great source" instead of "fount", "complete freedom"
instead of "free rein", "trick of the hand" instead of "sleight of
hand", "thrown by" or "disturbed by" instead of "fazed by", "stark
naked" instead of "buck naked".

The phrase "vocal chords" instead of "vocal cords" is different. This
confusion of homophones is plainly not acceptable, since both "chords"
and "cords" are common English words with very different meanings. For
this confusion, I blame the French (naturally).

No, all seriousness aside, I suspect (though I don't know) that the mass
of English homophones comes from a French influence on the pronunciation
of Anglo-Saxon words.

Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Janice Gelb
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 10:39 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Remember those pet peeves?

Read this story about common spelling abuses becoming accepted and weep:

According to the Oxford English Corpus, a database of a billion words,
dozens of traditional phrases are now more commonly misspelled than
rendered correctly in written English.


"Straight-laced" is used 66 per cent of the time even though it should
be written "strait-laced", according to lexicographers working for
Oxford Dictionaries, who record the way English is spoken and written by
monitoring books, television, radio and newspapers and, increasingly,
websites and blogs.

"Just desserts" is used 58 per cent of the time instead of the correct
spelling "just deserts" (desert is a variation of deserve), while 59 per
cent of all written examples say a "font of knowledge or wisdom" when it
should be "fount".
It has become so widely used that the wrong version is now included in
Oxford dictionaries alongside the right one.

Other mistakes fast becoming the received spelling include substituting
"free reign" for the correct phrase, "free rein". The original refers to
letting a horse loose, but many use "reign" and assume the expression
means to allow a free rule.

Other examples of common mistakes include "slight of hand" instead of
"sleight"; "phased by" when it should be "fazed by"; "butt naked"
instead of the correct "buck naked"
and "vocal chords" for "vocal cords."

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