Word Nerd: Duel Identity

In a recent conversation on Facebook, I saw someone discussing the current presidential campaign, in which he referred to the fact that Ted Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother is an American, and therefore Cruz has “duel citizenship.” Naturally a Word Nerd installment was called for. Dual and duel.

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Word Nerd: A Tint of Rogue

Today we have another one of those word pairs that gets mixed up more often than one might expect, and the mix-up seems to only go one way. “Vogue” rhymes with “rogue” and both are spelled with the same ending, but nobody ever spells it “vouge.” I suspect people see “rouge” and read it as “rogue.”

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Word Nerd: Opening Gamut

Today’s Word Nerd topic is one that’s become so ubiquitous that it even turns up among political pundits. Last month, Chuck Todd of Meet the Press suggested to Senator Bernie Sanders that they should do an interview in which they could “do the gambit of issues,” and the nation’s English teachers wept.

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Word Nerd: It’s Inflammable!

Every so often, somebody will email me about words and meanings. Sometimes it’s a suggestion for words that they’ve seen misused (most recently, invasive when evasive was meant), sometimes it’s a question. Recently, my friend Sara Mallory sent a Facebook message asking about today’s words. What’s the difference between them?

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Word Nerd: Guilty Conscious

This week’s Word Nerd is one of those that actually surprised me; I thought that because the two are relatively harder to spell than most of our frequently-confused words, fewer people would mess them up. Of course, the fact that they evolved from different conjugations of the same Latin word may have something to do with the confusion.

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Word Nerd: Up a Creak

Today’s Word Nerd is not a terribly common one, though it pops up from time to time. Maybe it’s due to autocorrect, or maybe it’s apathy, but it’s one I’ve seen a few times online, usually in the form of people talking about “hearing the door creek” or “fishing in the creak.”

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Word Nerd: I’m a Looser.

We’re back! And with three different illustrations this week. Here’s another one of those words that a lot of people get wrong simply because spellcheck doesn’t catch it, and it’s another of those in which the mistake typically only goes one way. People often write loose when they mean lose, but I’ve never seen anyone write lose when they meant loose.

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