Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Editing for Grammarphobes: What the Heck?


Language is fluid. It evolves and changes as generations add their own words to the mix. Many people write like they speak, which causes trouble when certain statements have been uttered incorrectly.

Watch out for these phrases in your writing.

Wrong: That’s a mute point.

Correct: That’s a moot point.

Mute means silent and incapable of speech. When something is moot, it is debatable, doubtful or has little or no practical value, which is what the speaker wants to say, right?

Wrong: Nip it in the butt

Correct: Nip it in the bud

The phrase refers to stopping something while it is in its early development, not while it is up someone’s posterior.

Wrong: bob wire, barb wire 
Correct: barbed wire 

Unless they are your neighbors down the street, bob wire and barb wire do not exist. The fencing material is called barbed wire.

5 comments:

Kelly Hashway said...

This just made me laugh. I think it's the former language arts teacher in me. I totally love that you post these things. Everyone should know this stuff.

By the way, the moot point one mad me think of the episode of Friends where Joey says, "a moo point". He explains that it's like something a cow says. LOL

Janel said...

Oh my, just about fell out of my chair when I read "nip it in the butt"!! Thanks for the laugh today! :)

wosushi said...

I thought of the same "moo point" reference Kelly mentioned when I read this.

Thanks for posting these. Made me laugh!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Thanks for stopping by Kelly, Janel and wosushi. Glad I could provide some levity today.

Fi said...

Made me chuckle too. Great post.