The Misfits: Incorrect Verb Usage

TypoOhNo

Easy To Assemble Typo

Photo courtesy of Nathan Wright IV

Easy to “assembly?” How about easy to assemble?

Incorrect verb usage happens for many reasons. Sometimes, the author is not a native English speaker. Or he or she is a native English speaker who’s simply clueless about correct verb usage. Let’s look at some common issues. . .

The past participle riddle. We use the linking verbs had, has or have with verbs that indicate past action. Example: I had run out of toothpaste last week before I could make it to the store. I often see and hear “had ran” and cringe when I see or hear “had saw” instead of “had seen” and “had came” instead of “had come.” I can’t offer easy advice on how to remember past participle rules–as they don’t have a clear rhyme or reason–other than to consult a grammar book or dictionary.com.

Gone vs. Went. Another past participle. I hear this on court shows all the time: “When I had went over to the defendant’s house. . .” It’s always “had gone.” No exceptions.

Verb butchering. “Ain’t” falls into this category but has become somewhat accepted in casual conversation. There are others that are candidates for this status that I wish would never get there. They are “tooken” for “taken,” “drug” for “dragged” and “aks” for “ask.” Please stop the insanity. Leave these words where they belong–in the nonsense category.

Happy reading and writing, my friends!

Sean C. Wright is the author of the short stories Hazel Hogan and Devil Does Dallas. She is also an editor. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit http://www.iwrightaway.com/.

SpaghettiWords

Send me your typo images! Snap pictures and email them to msseanc@aol.com. They must be real pictures and not images in online links, as those might be doctored. I’m looking for the real McCoy. Try to conceal the company’s identity if possible. No sweat if you can’t. I’ll hide the name before I post it. We’re not looking to embarrass but to educate.

The Consonant Conundrum

TypoOhNo

Confussed

A business posted this on its Facebook page. They’re confused about how to spell confused. . .

Whether or not to double consonants in a word can be a real head scratcher. The rule is usually simple: double the consonants if the vowel sound is short. Of course there are exceptions, like “buses” and “benefiting.” Here are some others that may send you running to a dictionary for help:

Bookkeeper. Treat this word as the two separate words that they are, linked together, and you will never misspell it again.

Embarrass. It’s different from its cousin “harass” in that the consonants are doubled in both places, the middle and the end. My mnemonic device for remembering is that “embarrass” and “entitle” both have an “e.” “Embarrass” is “entitled” to double consonants in the middle and end.

Occurrence. Yet another confounding word whose relative doesn’t have double consonants: reference.  I use the same principle to remember this word’s spelling. “Occurrence” and “okay” both have an “o.” It’s “okay” for “occurrence” to double its consonants at the beginning and middle.   

Happy reading and writing, my friends!

Sean C. Wright is the author of the short stories Hazel Hogan and Devil Does Dallas. She is also an editor. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit http://www.iwrightaway.com/.

SpaghettiWords

Send me your typo images! Snap pictures and email them to msseanc@aol.com. They must be real pictures and not images in online links, as those might be doctored. I’m looking for the real McCoy. Conceal the company’s identity if possible. No sweat if you can’t. I’ll hide the name before I post it. We’re not looking to embarrass but to educate.