Thursday, September 12, 2013


I want to write a blog that people look forward to reading, one that gets bookmarked and linked to and shared. I think about something I want to discuss.. Then, instead of writing about it, I play another game of spider solitaire on the computer so that I can think about it some more. How's that working out for me? Not so well.

Bad grammar and incorrect word usage bothers me. I've managed to pass at least some of this on to my children. When we watch TV together, we all shout "ly" at the TV when somebody leaves the -ly off an adverb. Example: Somebody on TV says "Wow, I did bad." "Ly", I'll add. I thought this trait had skipped my daughter (the most normal of my three children), but I recently found out she does it, too. It made me happy.

So today's Grammar Rant is about AUGUR vs. AUGER.

AUGUR, as a verb, means, according to Merriam-Webster, to foretell (or to predict the future) especially from omen. AUGER, on the other hand, is a sharp tool that is used chiefly for making holes. So, when I recently read in a book "This augers well," what the author was trying to say was that it was a good omen for the future. What they in fact said was that it drilled holes well.

This kind of word misuse is just poor editing, in my opinion. It's the kind of error that stands out to me, but might easily be missed.

I also have a collection of typos that made it through spell checks because they actually spell another word. A medical student wrote a report of a patient encounter in which she complained of "irritable bowl syndrome". This still makes me laugh. Then there was the grant proposal they asked me to edit in which the "faculty" had been called "faulty". Just one letter different, but what a difference in meaning!

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