Word Nerd: That’s Not Cannon!

Today we come to the one word that was the cause of the Word Nerd feature coming into existence in the first place. A friend on Facebook had posted a comment about a comic book story plot-point and said “that’s not cannon.” I responded “people who talk about the Marvel cannon should be fired out of one.”

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Be Wary

Today’s Word Nerd was a gift from Fox News, via Facebook. One of my friends posted an article about a Fox story on homeless panhandlers, and it included a screenshot. There for all the world to see was a laughably bungled word choice: “Donors should be weary of who they give money.” The word they are looking for is wary. This is one of those rare cases where two similar words have nearly opposite meanings.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Low and Behold

One of the main sources of confusion in common phrases is the prevalence of archaic and obsolete words, some of which only linger on because of their presence in these phrases. That’s the case with one of today’s words, a word that, apart from a few cliche terms, you’ll most likely never encounter outside of a church. It’s therefore completely reasonable that people would substitute the more modern word. Lo and low.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Thinking Allowed

This week’s Word Nerd is one that seems rather obvious, but I’ve seen it pop up a few times, probably the result of intrusive autocorrect systems, which really represent the point of this feature; it’s possible for a word to be spelled correctly and still be wrong. Allowed and aloud.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Censured

Today’s Word Nerd was inspired by recent news events, the most prominent being the response to celebrity chef Paula Deen’s PR problem. The social media world went crazy over this story, and more than a few have voiced concerns about censorship. There’s another word that sounds very similar, and its meaning is related, but expresses a different concept. There are also two other completely unrelated words to dispense with first.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Whose Who?

Today’s Word Nerd revolves around a common confusion between the plural and possessive form, and it’s one that’s possibly even more common than the its-it’s confusion. What makes this one more complicated is that it’s not just a question of whether or not to insert an apostrophe; there’s a whole different spelling for the possessive. Whose, who’s.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: A Gristly Scene

Time for another round of Word Nerd, the online feature that helps you learn to choose just the right word for every occasion. Today we’re going to look at three words that sound almost the same but have completely different origins and meanings. Grisly, gristly, and grizzly.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Choosing My Palate

Today we’re going to take on a somewhat tricky one; I actually saw this in print in a restaurant menu, which is what inspired the post; the menu talked about a particular item that it promised would “please your palette.” And so here we are. These words routinely get mixed up more often than not. And we’ll throw in a fourth word that’s similar in sound but has nothing to do with any of the others except that occasionally somebody will substitute one of them for it. Pallet, palette, palate, pallid.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: Formerly Formal

Today we’re going to look at two words that aren’t spelled the same, and actually don’t sound the same unless you’re sloppy in your pronunciation. They have entirely different meanings, but the result of misusing one or the other can occasionally be comical. Formerly and formally.

Continue Reading

Word Nerd: I Need My Space!

It’s nothing. No, really, it’s nothing at all. But it’s amazing how a little nothing can make so much difference. I’m talking about space. Not the Final Frontier where nobody can hear you scream; I’m talking about a word space. The presence or absence of a single space can completely alter the meaning of a sentence, possibly even reversing it.

Continue Reading