Two compendia of horrible, no good, frequently misused words

Steven Pinker, Harvard Linguist

A Harvard linguist offers a monster list of commonly misused words.

“Some languages, like French, have an official body that decides how words can and cannot be used. English, as a flexible, global language, has no such designated referee. Therefore, there is no definitive answer to whether you’re using a word “correctly.” It’s all a matter of taste and context. But there are opinions. And some count more than others.

Steven Pinker is probably as good an expert to ask as anyone. Helpfully, the renowned Harvard linguist and best-selling author recently wrote a book, entitled The Sense of Style, that aims to help readers improve their use of the English language.”


Another article on words.

From alright to zap: an A-Z of horrible words

 | The Guardian

Very interesting. But in addition to the commentary about the 26 words, I found the use of punctuation fascinating. Every style book I’ve read calls for placing all periods and commas inside the quotation marks. Always – no exceptions. This author puts the commas and periods outside the quotation marks. Also, it starts off italicizing the reference words, and then switches to using quotation marks around them. Interesting stories about words, but inconsistent (at best) punctuation.


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Kim Schlossberg created Kim Schlossberg Designs to help businesses and non-profits refine their messages and get them out to the right audience, in a clear, consistent, and integrated way. She provides strategic planning, execution and coordination of marketing, branding, and design by developing a deep understanding of clients’ businesses and their goals, and serves as a trusted advisor to help them grow their businesses and brand. Kim speaks to business and non-profit groups about marketing and related topics, and publishes a well-received (but slightly irregular) newsletter.

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