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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:

by Pegg Thomas said...

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

Melissa said...

:)

Natasha Hanova said...

Agree with Pegg. Annunciate was new to me.

Melissa said...

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

Carrie Butler said...

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

Melissa said...

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

Allison Kraft said...

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. ;)

Melissa said...

Ha! Yeah. Me, too.

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

cbwentworth said...

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

JEFritz said...

Annunciate and enunciate...prefixes are so confusing.

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

Melissa said...

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

Lynda R Young said...

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

Mark Koopmans said...

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' :)

Melissa said...

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. :)

Melissa said...

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

Morgan said...

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

Brilliant!

Melissa said...

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

Thanks for visiting! :D

Tia Bach said...

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!

Melissa said...

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. :)