Mighty Red Pen

December 3, 2009

The tail end of it: curtail vs. dovetail

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:56 pm

Spottted this little tidbit in a description of a house that’s currently on the market:

Curtail means “to make less by or as if by cutting off or away some part” (Merriam-Webster), which makes this sentence say that the play/recreation space cuts off the rear patio. Doesn’t seem particularly desirable to me. The word they actually want here is dovetail, which means, “to fit skillfully to form a whole” (also Merriam-Webster), which would suggest a fluid backyard design that fits together in a pleasing way.

Somewhere, there is apparently a proofreader who could make neither head nor tail of it.


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