Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This Week: Paul Brians' Latest Blog Post is The Bomb + defuse/diffuse

defuse/diffuse
You defuse a dangerous situation by treating it like a bomb and removing its fuse; to diffuse, in contrast, is to spread something out: “Bob’s cheap cologne diffused throughout the room, wrecking the wine-tasting.”




____________ 

Paul Brians' latest blog post goes over bombs, real and metaphorical.

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

We’re switching the podcast to a monthly show. We’ll return with episodes that feature guests and special segments, but in the meantime we invite you to peruse the archives.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

This Week: A Break in the Podcast & an Announcement + brake/break

brake/break
You brake to slow down; if your brakes fail and you drive through a plate-glass window, you will break it.


 
____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

We’re switching the podcast to a monthly show. We’ll return in about a month with episodes that feature guests and special segments, but in the meantime we invite you to peruse the archives.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This Week: A Gluten-Free Podcast + feint/faint

feint/faint
A feint, whether in chess or on the battlefield, is a maneuver designed to divert the opponent’s attention from the real center of attack. A feint is a daring move. Do not use this very specialized word in the expression “faint of heart” (or “faint at heart”), which implies timidity.


____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we discuss medical terms, including EKGs, MRIs, CAT scans, and more.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This Week: Refills, Emergencies & More on the Podcast + Paul Brians' latest blog post + taunt/taut/tout

taunt/taut/tout
I am told that medical personnel often mistakenly refer to a patient’s abdomen as “taunt” rather than the correct “taut.” “Taunt” (“tease” or “mock”) can be a verb or noun, but never an adjective. “Taut” means “tight, distended,” and is always an adjective. “Taut” is also occasionally misspelled “taught.”

Don’t confuse “taunt” with “tout,” which means “promote,” as in “Senator Bilgewater has been touted as a Presidential candidate.” You tout somebody you admire and taunt someone that you don’t.


____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up on our discussion of terms related to politics and government

Paul Brians talks about Donald Duck and translating interjections in his latest blog post.

Buy the book!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This Week: Crusades, Demagogues, Stump Speeches & More on the Podcast + vapid/vacuous

vapid/vacuous
“Vapid” is used to describe something flavorless, weak, flat. Many people confuse this word with “vacuous,” which describes things which are unintelligent, lacking serious content. A boring speech may be vapid even though it’s learned, and a lively speech may be vacuous even though it’s exciting. A dull person may be vapid, but it is not standard usage to refer to a person as vacuous—only their speech, thoughts, etc., can be so described. To avoid the most common error involving these words, just remember that something vapid isn’t stupid, it’s bland.



____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up on our discussion of terms related to politics and government.

Buy the book!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

This Week: A Modicum of Civility on the Podcast + unrest

unrest
Journalists often use this mild term to describe all manner of civil disorders, but it’s silly to call mayhem or chaos merely “unrest” when there are bullets flying about and bodies lying in the streets.


____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we pick up on our discussion of terms related to politics and government.

Buy the book!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This Week: Wrapping Up the Book Sale, Plus The Magi(c) of Christmas + wreath/wreaths/wreathe/wreathes

wreath/wreaths/wreathe/wreathes
One circle of greens is a wreath (rhymes with “teeth”). The plural is “wreaths” (rhymes with “heaths”). In both cases the TH is unvoiced (like the TH in “both”).

To decorate something with wreaths is wreathe it (rhymes with “breathe” with a voiced TH like the one at the end of “bathe”). He or she wreathes it (also with a voiced TH).




____________ 

https://commonerrorspodcast.wordpress.com/

On the podcast this week, we air our traditional Christmas episode.

Final week of the book sale! Through the end of the year, buy the Common Errors in English Usage book now for $15 with free shipping in the US.