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Monday, June 25, 2012

Grammar Police Monday - Say what?

After getting nabbed for a usage error recently, I decided to do a few GPM posts on specific homophones that are commonly confused words. When we speak, such misuse may go unnoticed; but when we write, it's there in print for all the world to see. 


Let's start with the one I goofed.

Which is correct?
The man's hands were (calloused / callused) from years of work.
He has a (callous / callus) attitude toward the homeless.

In the first sentence, callused is correct, because it specifically refers to hardened places on the skin. In the second, it's callous. Even though callous means 'to harden,' it refers to an emotional state, meaning to be insensitive. 

Another mistake I made for years before becoming enlightened to the error of my ways was using the verb pour when I meant pore. You pour water from a pitcher into a glass, but if you are studying something intently, you're poring over it.

A thirdand one I was glad I looked up the other day before hitting send on an emailis annunciate. Actually, the word I wanted was enunciate. Though these two are related, they are not interchangeable. Annunciate means to announce, while enunciate means to say your words clearly. (Be sure to enunciate when you annunciate. :P)  And by the way, annunciate is not used much anymore. The word announce works just fine.

I hope you found this little dose of grammar usage helpful. Thanks for stopping by. :)


19 comments:

  1. I larned sumthin new. Never heard the word annunciate before. :)

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  2. Agree with Pegg. Annunciate was new to me.

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    1. Ha. Probably because it's so old.

      I wouldn't have come up with had I not been trying to spell a word I couldn't remember ever seeing written. :P

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  3. Oo, this is a fun one! Homophones are tricky. :)

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    1. Yes they are. Would you believe mom was even stumped by the first one? Said she probably would have made the same mistake. Now I don't feel so bad. :D

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  4. I just came across this blog. I'm a bit of a Grammar Police as well, though as a writer I find I'm not immune to making mistakes of my own. Commas are my particular downfall (I tend to overuse them), so that lesson was very handy. Thank you. :) I'm sure I will refer back to it often.

    One of my biggest pet peeves is the improper use of homophones. Pore and pour is one that bugs me, as well as bear and bare. I can't help giggling when I see a notice saying "please bare with us." No thank you, I prefer to keep my clothes on. ;)

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    1. Ha! Yeah. Me, too.

      I'm glad you found my blog. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. :)

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  5. I had no idea the spelling was different for those situations! Thanks for that very handy piece of info!

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  6. Annunciate and enunciate...prefixes are so confusing.

    Thanks for the info on callous and callus. I never knew that!

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  7. I hear ya. These stump a lot of people.
    Thanks for visiting, ladies. :)

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  8. Yeah, there are a few words like these eg scold and scald, effect and affect. I could name many.

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    1. Ha! Yup. There's a whole list. I could do GPM posts 'til the end of time on commonly confused words alone. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  9. Hey Melissa,

    Not only are you a RT Queen, you also dish out grammar greatness... what moor could a mane ask fore?

    PS... my big ones were always the classics (their/there - its/it's - here/heir) and I know it's not grammar per se, but I still struggle with "that" and "just."

    Just sayin' :)

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    1. I have a grammar post for that! :P
      Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  10. Love it! And I'm laughing because yesterday I had to google the "pore" vs. "Pour" thing as he "pored" over the papers...

    Brilliant!

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    1. Now that I know the difference, I see it ALL THE TIME!!!

      Thanks for visiting! :D

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  11. I love these helpful posts. When in doubt, I always look up a word. I tend to doubt myself quite a bit, even though I'm passionate about correct grammar/usage, because...

    1) I overthink and get confused. My gut is usually write, but I'd rather check

    2) I am particular about people's mistakes. Those that cast stones, you know.

    I always love stopping by!

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    1. I do the same thing--both when I write and when I crit, just to be sure--but with calloused, I didn't know there was another spelling.

      I'm glad you did. :)

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