Common Errors in English Usage


Consider this paying it forward. My coworker and friend, Louis McBride, shared the following link with me a while back, and it was one of the kindest things he could have done for me as a fellow writer. Here’s the link:

Common Errors in English Usage

But you don’t have to be a writer to appreciate the value of the link I’ve just shared. If you use the English language at all, bookmark it and visit often. By doing so, you can save yourself from my wrathful stare the next time you are tempted to use “loose” in place of “lose.”

This confusion can easily be avoided if you pronounce the word intended aloud. If it has a voiced Z sound, then it’s “lose.” If it has a hissy S sound, then it’s “loose.” Here are examples of correct usage: “He tends to lose his keys.” “She lets her dog run loose.” Note that when “lose” turns into “losing” it loses its “E.”

Or say “Once and a while.”

The expression is “once in a while.”

Or perhaps you are unduly afraid to use the phrase, “Piss and Vinegar.”

To say that people are “full of piss and vinegar” is to say that they are brimming with energy. Although many speakers assume the phrase must have a negative connotation, this expression is more often used as a compliment, “vinegar” being an old slang term for enthusiastic energy.

Some try to make this expression more polite by substituting “pith” for “piss,” but this change robs it of the imagery of acrid, energetically boiling fluids and conjures up instead a sodden, vinegar-soaked mass of pith. Many people who use the “polite” version are unaware of the original.

In any case, there is a good chance that you’ll learn something (and probably have to correct something you’ve been saying wrong for years).


4 responses to “Common Errors in English Usage

  1. Its interesting to see how often we abuse english. Their are to many ways too show are ignorance of the language. If writers can’t get it write, they should lie their pens down.

    Good post, Josh. 🙂

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