I don’t know whether anyone read my errant attempt at pedantry this past week. That probably means that no one did.
Nonetheless, for those who might support my effort to preserve some accuracy in language, here goes.
I wrote a few painfully constructed paragraphs containing various errors that an editor should be able to spot and correct. I then challenged readers to see how many they could find.
Here is the list (aside from those I may have missed myself). You can see them in context in the past week’s edition.
Unphased – It’s unfazed, entirely different from being in phase. I am neither unfazed or in phase.
Empty space – That’s what space is: empty.
Irregardless – Some might argue but not a legitimate word, say “regardless’ instead.
Particularly unique – Unique is unique, you can’t qualify it as “really” unique or “very” unique.
Center around – The center is the center or middle, you can center on but not around.
Planning ahead – What other type of planning is there?
Foreseeable future – If one could foresee into the future he could become quite wealthy.
Another eight – You can’t have “another” until after you’ve had the first one; eight now and another eight later.
Comprised of – Comprise means include and you don’t say included of. Say the group comprises individuals, not is comprised of.
True facts – All facts are true despite what some politicians say
Brief summaries – If it’s long it isn’t a summary.
Free gift – A gift is something that is free (unless you have to pay shipping and handling).
Unexpected surprise – Any surprise is by its nature unexpected.
Off of – Jump off a cliff, not off of.
Impact – This one is iffy in that it used to be a noun but somehowbecame a verb.
Close proximity – Proximity means something is very near on its own.
Completely surrounded – Surrounded means 360 degrees. You can’t be partially surrounded or surrounded on three sides.
Diagnose – I have trouble with this. One diagnoses an illness, not a person with an illness. A person is not diagnosed with the flu but the doctor diagnoses flu.
Raze to the ground – That’s what raze is: all the way to the ground, nothing left.
Complete destruction – Like completely surrounded, destruction is complete although one might argue for partial destruction.
Small plethora – A plethora is a large amount so a small plethora is a contradiction, sort of like a Jr. Whopper.
Hopefully – Full of hope, it shouldn’t be used to start a sentence but everyone has pretty much given up the fight on this one and just lets it go.
You may find more. And as a victim of hubris, while focusing on deliberately getting as many errors in as possible, I overlooked two typographical errors as well – to my embarrassment.
Hopefully I won’t try something like this again.