Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Problematic Prose (Part II)

Today is part two of the Problematic Prose rounds!

Founder vs Flounder:
The word founder means to fall or sink down. The word flounder means to struggle clumsily and helplessly. Something that helps me: If a ship goes under, a diver might claim, "I found 'er!" Whereas a Flounder fish will flounder on the shore.

~ The ship foundered in the rough ocean.
~ The fish floundered in the sand.

Altar vs Alter:
The word altar means a shrine or place of worship. The word alter indicates a change in being.

~ The groom met his bride at the altar.
~ They vowed their undying love would not alter. (Not the best, but you get the picture ;)

Bated vs Baited:
Bated means to moderate or restrain. Baited indicates to hook or trap. Remember, if it has an "i" you use it to lure something/one in.

~ We baited out poles and waited with bated breath ;)

Lose vs Loose:
This is one we use on a daily basis yet is oftentimes hard to get right. The word lose means you can't find it or you didn't win. The word loose means you've released something or it isn't tight together.

~ If you lose your cash, you can't go shopping.
~ Because the the pens came loose from their package, they were 50% off.

Amount vs Number:
Another booger of an issue because these terms are often used interchangeably when they shouldn't be. Number refers to items which can be counted such as people, crayons, flying monkeys. The word amount means a measurable substance such as cough syrup or food coloring.

~ The amount of starch you add to the dinner is determined by the number of servings.

Principle vs Principal:
I still remember learning this in elementary school. Gotta love the good teachers who use mnemonics to help their kiddos! A principle is something that governs the way an item or person behaves or reacts; a law, truth or professed rule of action; standards. A principal is the man or woman who runs your school. My mnemonic device: Your princi-pal is your PAL. Easy, right?

~ The principal at Edgar Allan Poe Elementary was hired for his sound principles.

Did you miss Problematic Prose (Part I)? No worries! You can find it here.

1 comment:

  1. I see the lose and loose problem all the time in published text. Even the big six get it wrong sometimes. I know it's weird, but that makes me happy :-)