Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
“Defuse” is a verb meaning to remove a fuse, to take away a trigger.
“We sill defuse the situation if we arrest the trouble maker.”
“Diffuse” is a verb meaning to disperse, to circulate, to distribute or to spread. The emphasis is on the first syllable.
“The liquid will diffuse throughout the area as the winds increase.”
“Diffuse”, as an adjective, means not concentrated in one place or lacking preciseness and the emphasis is on the second syllable.
“The company is a diffuse organization of skilled technicians and brainy idea people,”
Identify and correct the errors in the following selections.
“For months now, Essex County, its seven towns and Windsor have been talking seriously about creating a regional public transit system. You know, the kind we should have had a hundred years ago.”
The second group of words is not a complete thought and should be connected to the first group with proper punctuation.
“For months now, Essex County, its seven towns and Windsor have been talking seriously about creating a regional public transit system, you know, the kind we should have had a hundred years ago.”
“Without notifying the others it applied to the province of Ontario for an operating licence under the Public Vehicles Act. On Windsor Streets. Without asking Windsor.”
There are three incomplete thoughts here and they are not interjections.
“Streets” in the second group of words should not be capitalized.
“Tecumseh applied without notifying the others it applied to the province of Ontario for an operating licence under the Public Vehicles Act, on Windsor streets and without asking Windsor.”
Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.
“The chronicle of back-to-back Memorial Cup champions.” (This is not a headline.)
This is incorrect because it is not a headline and, therefore, not a complete thought. A verb is needed.
“The Spitfire story is the chronicle of back-to-back Memorial Cup champions.”
“Mitigating factors include young Barker’s young age, the fact he has no criminal record, his roots in the community and himself having a young son, aged 3.”
“Himself” is a reflexive pronoun and cannot be used in this case. Eliminating it solves the problem.
“Mitigating factors include young Barker’s young age, the fact he has no criminal record, his roots in the community and having a young son, aged 3.”
“Obsolescent” is an adjective meaning tending to becoming out of date, passing out of use or gradually disappearing.
“With all the new hand-held gadgets, the desktop computer seems to be becoming obsolescent.”
“Obsolete” is an adjective meaning no longer in use, worn down or out of date.
“A VCR is almost completely obsolete.”
MAJOR PET PEEVE
“EVERYONE’S DOING IT”
After reading the following comment complaining that I should quit being upset by common “errors”, read my rebuttal.
Hi Michael. I think you get too upset by common “errors” like not distinguishing between “who” and “that,” or pronouncing “a” as “hay.” If everyone is doing it, can you really claim that they are wrong? I’m not trying to argue linguistic philosophy, but just here, in your case, I think you should recognize that language shifts happen, and there’s no point in insisting that they are bad.
I applaud that language is alive. I know language shifts are not bad. But I want language to evolve, not devolve. I will never accept that, “If everyone is doing it, can you really claim that they are wrong?”
Yes, at times, I can really claim that they are wrong!
If everyone is misusing “who” and “whom” or “who” and “that”, that makes everyone wrong, and I do not apologize for trying to correct everyone nor will I stop endeavouring to maintain correct and proper standards.
Everyone should strive to improve and to become better, and not wallow in ignorance, otherwise, “I seen” or “I shoulda went” or “mischievious” or “Tom and myself are going to the game” will become the acceptable norm.
I expect everyone not to settle for the lowest common denominator and, particularly, I expect newspaper writers and television and radio readers and newscasters to be correct at all times. They are paid professionals and should write or speak professionally. They are the ones heard or read by thousands on a daily basis and they should lead by example and, if they do not, they should be held accountable.
The mandate is simple: strive for correctness at all times and do not accept “good enough; they get the idea”. Ignorance is not bliss; it is ignorance.
“I REST MY CASE WITH THIS”
Identify and correct the error in the following piece.
“Yes, for the friendly voice on the radio that caused countless thousands to fall in love with Tigers baseball, but more so, for the quality of person he was from the day he was born until the day he died.”
This is an incomplete thought; there is no principal verb.
“Yes, we grieve for the friendly voice on the radio that caused countless thousands to fall in love with Tiger baseball, but more so, for the quality of person he was from the day he was until the day he died.”
WOW! THINK OF THIS
Identify the author of the following observation.
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.”
William James, a US philosopher & psychologist who lived from 1842 to 1910, wrote this.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Covetous” (adj.) means wrongly or inordinately desirous of another’s goods or advantages, grasping or greedy.
“Covet” is the verb form.
“Covetously” is the adverb form.
“Covetousness” is the noun form.
“Investiture” (n.) refers to the ceremony of installing a new monarch, coronation or enthronement, investing.
“Invest”, meaning to clothe or to empower, is the root.
“Interloper” (n.) refers to someone who on the privacy or property of another, a trespasser.
“Mordant” (adj.) means grimly humourous, pungent, biting, resentful or sardonic.
“Gesticulation” (n.) refers to making or using gestures or body language in an animated fashion.
“Gesticulate” is the verb form.