Misused and Misspelled Words

I got an email today from the editor at Noble, with an updated “Pre-Edits worksheet.” While a bunch of it is the same, there are quite a few more things I need to look at again. I did chuckle through some of it, as I read about things that bug me as well when I come across them. And of course, it means a bit more work for me as I go back over things, but I found it a really helpful guide. I also realized my comma usage is what could be considered by some to be “old-fashioned.” But what I really liked a lot were the lists at the end.

The first was about 6 pages of commonly misspelled and misused words. Thankfully, as I read through that, those weren’t an issue for me. Spelling and word usage is one of those things that has always come easy to me, in fact, whenever anyone in the office needs to spell something, they ask me. I can think of one time in the last 14 years where I’ve been wrong, though I’m sure there were a couple of others, that instance is the only that sticks out in my head. Sadly, I’ve seen many of the words on the list misused in published works.

But the list I really liked was the one comprised of compound words. One in particular that caught my eye was “all right.” I know it’s common today to use “alright” and it is in the dictionary, although indicated as Non-Standard, but that has always been one of my particular peeves. I never ever ever use “alright.” It goes back to the days when Sister Maureen was my English teacher in freshman year, and she was absolutely adamant that “alright” was not a word. Along with “alot.” I see that often and it makes me cringe. It is two words – a lot. MS Word even auto-corrects it. I laughed at some of the phrases specific to erotic romance – this is not a list I’m going to share with my daughter when she’s doing her homework, that’s for sure!

The list didn’t include home/hone in. I have always thought the expression was “hone in,” but I see and hear “home in” all the time. Or this one – I was always raised with the expression “buck naked.” Not “butt naked.” Technically, I suppose both are correct, but which is “right?”

Any other words or phrases that bug you or that you’ve heard used one way, and learned they were meant to be used another? Language is constantly evolving, but I wonder if some of the changes dilute or alter the meaning. Certainly some of the phrases in use today that originated generations or even centuries ago, would not have the same meaning as when they were first used.

And lastly, a Happy New Year to all my friends celebrating today.