Mighty Red Pen

November 12, 2010

It’s a draw: drawer vs. draw

Filed under: Spellbound,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:14 pm
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This little tidbit was spotted on the community classifieds  board at my local supermarket. If you’re looking for a three-drawer bureau, you’re out of luck. But if you need a bureau with 3 draws, this might be just right for you:

Oddly enough, this bureau actually seems to have way more than 3 draws. Does that make it multi-drawed? Bonus.

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September 14, 2010

Assentation vs ascension

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 4:09 pm
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Hear ye! Hear ye! The Court of Proper Word Choice is now in session!

Gentles, I present to you the accused: King Richard’s Faire of Carver, Massachusetts. They stand accused of using the word assentation when they meant ascension.

While I was prepared to charge King Richard’s Faire with “Failure to use a word that exists in the English language,” let us not forget that even an old MRP can learn some new tricks (or, in this case, some new words). According to Merriam Webster, assentation is “ready assent especially when insincere or obsequious.” So it’s a word, it’s just not the right word.

Okay, here’s the deal: When we’re talking about a king taking over the throne, assuming his rightful place as ruling monarch of the land, expecting to wield supreme authority because some watery tart threw a sword at them*, the word we wish to have at the tip of our tongues is ascension (“the act or process of ascending”).

Charges amended. Next!

********

*Help! Help! We’re being repressed! You know you want it. Well, here it is.

March 18, 2009

Bush speaks: Authoritative vs. authoritarian

Filed under: Lit review,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:17 pm
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This just in from former President George W. Bush, who is planning to write a book:

“I’m going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened.”

Did Bush say authoritarian when he meant authoritative?

These words are markedly different: authoritarian means “requiring unquestioned obedience to authority, dictatorial,” as in His approach to discipline was authoritarian; he would brook no disagreement or discussion whatsoever. Authoritative has no pejorative overtones where it means “reliable, official, well-qualified,” as in She has written the authoritative biography of the poet. The only overlap is in the sense of “being fond of exerting authority,” but authoritarian is much the stronger in that meaning and suggests a less admirable quality. (Columbia Guide to Standard American English)

Or was this just one those, er, Freudian slips?

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