10 Words that Make Bloggers Seem Dumb

I recently heard a CNN broadcaster use the word ‘orientate’, and she was NOT discussing a map, or its orientation.

Grrr…. How VERY wrong.

Incorrect word and grammar usage frequently frazzles my brain (and others with average English language skills) to the extent that we lose the overall message while we ponder how the speaker or writer managed to graduate from grade school, let alone university.

Note: My grade school comment does NOT apply to those who blog in English as a second language.

I admire you!

However, it IS worth your time to learn the lessons below. :-)

As for all you native English speakers – here’s a review…

  1. Irregardless – NOT a word, despite the fact that some dictionaries include it, for the following reasons:

    • Containing the suffix ‘less’, regardless already means ‘without regard’.
    • Adding the negative prefix ‘irr’ to regardless, is therefore redundant.
    • Moreover, ‘irr’ nullifies the existing ‘less’, making it a double negative.
    • Ergo, ‘irregarless’ actually means ‘with regard’, yet those using it typically mean to say (write) regardless.
  2. Orientate – The word is ‘orient’. The only time ‘orientate’ or ‘orientated’ is acceptable is when referring to the orientation of a map to its compass points – BUT ‘orient’ will suffice and simplicity always works best.
  3. Ironical – Use ‘ironic’.
  4. Conversate – Use ‘converse’. We don’t conversate, we converse.
  5. Lie vs. Lay – Instructing your dog to ‘lay down’ is going to confuse him as he wonders ‘lay WHAT down?’. The correct phrase is ‘lie down’. Lie means ‘to recline’, whereas ‘lay’ means ‘to place’.
  6. It’s / Its – Apostrophes seem to pose problems for many bloggers. ‘Its going to rain’ is wrong. It’s is the contraction for ‘it is’, therefore ‘it’s going to rain’ is correct. ‘Its’ on the other hand is possessive pronoun, indicating that ‘it’ owns something, e.g. ‘its name’. By the way, never use Its’.
  7. There / Their / They’re – They are over ‘there’ at the river and ‘they’re’ getting ready to go canoeing.
  8. Than / Then – Than is a conjunction used in comparisons. That hamburger was more than I could eat. Then is an adverb usually denoting time. They are coming at Christmas, we’ll see them then. Then can also mean in addition or in that case. If you plan to ski, then you’ll have to buy tickets.
  9. Your / You’re – Your is possessive – that’s your hat. You’re is the contraction for ‘you are’.
  10. Accept / Except – Accept is a verb that means “to receive, admit, regard as true, say yes.” His application to Stanford was accepted. Except is a preposition that means “excluding.” I know everyone here except the fellow standing in the corner. I can’t accept this gift.

OK, go ahead, find all the bloopers on my blog and I’ll correct them. :-)

Do you have pet peeves about grammar and word usage? Feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

Cheers,

sig-ros


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Comments

  1. Gene says

    I couldn’t agree more. I barely passed English in high school, but I’m still amazed at the misuse of the words and phrases you commented on ( I know I ended with a preposition). I think it’s a sad commentary on the level of education kids are getting today. I’m always yelling at the computer as I read comments on news stories and video on YouTube about the use of “there” for “their” or “they’re”. Something else I go off on is “I could care less” when the speaker/writer means they’re indifferent. “There” really not aware of what “their” saying.

  2. says

    A-bloody-MEN! Shocked to see over 90% of my blogging community not get this simple difference between its and it’s. People I highly admire and respect too. Boggles the mind.

    I once tweeted tongue-in-cheekily a few months ago:

    -You’re awesome.
    – Your awesomeness blinds me.

    – It’s awesome.
    – Its awesomeness defies imagination.

    Another one? “Should of” — > what in blazes name is that? The term is {should have} so it is {should’ve} not {should of}. Should of what?

    /rant over

    :) Happy Tuesday! Tia

  3. says

    Looks like the worst offenses have been covered here. Can’t imagine how some of these people managed to get through school. Great post.

  4. says

    Hi Ros,

    wow, I’m so with you and I really don’t wanna know how many mistakes I make – I try hard not to but because English is not my native language I might sometimes make mistakes because I simply don’t know or because the online dictionary finds vocabulary even native speakers never heard (LOL) – yes, had that already ;-)
    I’m always thankful if people are a bit lenient with me. I promise, I try hard. Still, native speaker or not we always should try to proof-read and take care of our grammar, etc. Some people asked me why I do not make a blog in my own language. The reason is easy – all my friends are from the all over the world and I write all day in English. Another reason is that I like the challenge, that I love to be able to communicate with people all over the world!

  5. says

    Somebody mentioned Bush but didn’t bring up his chief faux pas. You would think the President would learn how to say “nuclear” instead of “nucular”. If I were his speechwriter, I would have written the text as “new-clear”. Maybe he would have taken the clue.

    Another pet peeve of mine is that here in Florida, many members of a particular ethnic persuasion seem to have added a new term to Ebonics. They insist on turning “ask” into “aks” as in, “He axed me for directions.” Fingernails on a blackboard! Do they still make blackboards? If not, I need to change my metaphor.

    • says

      Hi Lou,

      I have a blackboard in my office, if that makes you feel any better. :-)

      Ebonics is a new term for me, thank you!

      At some point they’ll have to stop axing folks for directions — pretty hard to get an answer from d.b.’s.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  6. says

    Hi Ros. Great post – irregardless of what anyone might say! (Easily amused.)

    Aside from the grammatical errors, there are some quirky cultural language differences. I “take” a shower, however, my adorable Canadian husband will go and “have” a shower. (That actually makes more sense.) When I’m done with my shower I have to be to work “by” 7:30. He has to be there “for” 8:00. And please, I don’t need to know the PRO-gress on the repair work on the ROOOF. I guess that’s aboouut it for now! (Who knew we could have so much fun with language!)

    Cheers,
    Laurie

    • says

      Hi Laurie,

      Too funny!

      I pick up and use accents so easily that I sometimes have to prove that I’m Canadian. “It’s all about the progress on the roof, eh?” usually answers the question. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  7. says

    Hi Ros,
    Unless I am mistaken, this article has received more response than any other you have written, at least since I have been a member. I have to wonder if some spelling errors are the result of hearing “professional” speakers on the radio and tv constantly mispronoucing words. For example:

    goverment instead of goverNment
    Febuary instead of FebRuary
    AerEate instead of aErate (There is actually a landscaper mispronouncing this word during his commercial; and I have heard it numerous times from others, as well.)

    Interestingly, the “take”/”bring” issue is one that I thought only I was bothered by, but I see that one of your other fans notices it, too. I am not exagerating when I say that in recent years, I have NEVER heard or read those words used properly. (By the way, I recently received an e-mail containing the word “egsagerate”)

    To make a long story short…oh…too late. Sorry.
    Doug

  8. says

    Hi again, Ros,
    You’ll notice that in my previous comment, I left an ‘n’ out of the word “mispronouncing”. You’ll find it in the word ‘goverNment’ 3 lines lower. (:>)
    Doug

  9. Jack says

    I see this in MANY articles and comments, the incorrect use of “loose” Example: I’m going to loose some weight. Instead of saying lose. Drives me crazy every time. BTW,
    I noticed the city you live in from some previous posts. I’m up the road in Kelowna. Howdy neighbour (and yes neightbour in Canada has a “u” in it :)

    • says

      Howdy Neighbour!

      Yes, I’ll use the ‘u’ for you, but I typically use American word spellings as they represent the majority of my audience.

      As to ‘loose’… I so hear ya. That one drives me insane. I will definitely write another article on this topic and will be sure to include the lose/loose error. Thanks!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  10. says

    Oh!!! Here’s one that MUST be addressed: “I COULD CARE LESS”.

    Do people not ever think about the phrases and colloquialisms they use? When someone says that, they really mean to say, “I COULDN’T care less.” In other words, “There is no possibility that I could care any less than I do now. My caring has reached it’s absolutely lowest point. My caring has reached the bottom of the barrel and cannot go any lower.”

    If it is possible for you to care LESS, then there is still an element of caring in your thinking, thus leaving the potential of reducing your caring to a lower degree…LESS. If I could care less, that means that I do care!

    Phew! Thanks. I feel better now. Hopefully, some of your readers could care less about this.
    Doug

  11. John Cirak says

    It’s about time this topic was discussed. But, are you throwing in a few bloopers in the replies to test us? Phil South says “But unless standards improve they will continue irregardless. Ugh.”… irregardless, wasn’t that one of the word corrected in your blog? and in your reply “BTW, you should include Facebook like buttons on your posts… I was already to push one.” shouldn’t that be ‘all ready’
    BTW, I love your style. Your book was the first e-book I bought. Unfortunately I still haven’t done anything about it. Do you coach?
    John

    • says

      Hey John,

      OMG, you are so right about ‘already’. Yikes! But I think ‘irregardless’ was thrown in for effect… or that affect? LOL

      Happy to hear you enjoy my style. If you are interested in advancing your affiliate knowledge, I’d recommend checking out my Academy first. $27/month vs. $499 an hour for one-on-one consulting. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  12. says

    Hi Rosalind,

    A ton is two thousand pounds. How much traffic weighs 2000 pounds? How much money weighs 2000 pounds? I see this all over the Internet.

    I have listened to telephone interviews and hear “you know” over, over, over and over again. This is not something I hear on occasion. It seems to be consistent.

    Thanks for this post. It’s a good one.

    Bill

    • says

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I know I have used ‘ton’ as an adjective on many occasions. Now I will make more effort to choose a better descriptor. Thank you!!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  13. says

    Hi Ros

    I’m glad I am not the only one! Spelling and grammar mistakes literally jump out of the screen or page and poke me in the eye. As an Aussie, I like to make up words and speak in strine at the best of times, but there’s a place for it and I am still very passionate about spelling and grammar. I am disappointed that it seems to be falling by the wayside these days, but reassured to find others who still find it to be important.

    I don’t use spell check. I can’t stand it.

    Two words that come to mind are ‘effluent’ and ‘affluent’. In the Aussie version of the comedy TV show, ‘Kath & Kim’, the characters often mixed up words. In one episode, they referred to someone who was ‘affluent’ as being ‘effluent’. In a TV show, it is funny, but in real life it doesn’t do much for one’s credibility.

    Thank you for an entertaining post. It has been a pleasure to read so many well written comments.

    • says

      Hi Kathryn,

      I’ve never come across the ‘effluent / affluent’ thing, so perhaps it’s an accent thing?

      And I agree. Today has been a total pleasure for me… reading through so many intelligent and instructional comments. Joy!! :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

    • says

      Hi Ros

      It’s not so much an accent thing but more like when someone uses ‘then’ instead of ‘than’ or has their words mixed up….otherwise, it’s just plain, good old Aussie humour :)

      Just out of interest, do you shorten your words when you send a text message or do find you have to type out every word properly? I initially found it really hard to bring myself to use text language. When I realised I don’t actually like texting, the quicker I could get it done, the better. There’s a time and place for everything.

      Cheers

      Kathryn

  14. says

    Ros, I don’t remember hearing you say “ton” on any of your youtube videos, but I am an old guy and my memory is about two seconds.

    I hope you don’t a compliment. You are a very good writer. I have your book “Super Affiliate Handbook” and it is a very good one. I like your writing style.

    My comment was not to pick on you.

    Bill

  15. says

    Ros, I screwed up. I should have typed “I hope you don’t mind a compliment”.

    I may have screwed this one up with my punctuation.

    Bill (creepy old grandpa)

  16. Jenny Horn says

    Hi Ros,

    I was surprised to read the comments about “you” and “me”. I was taught to use “you and I” at school many years ago. The use of “you and me” or “me and you” makes my skin crawl. A rap across the knuckles was inflicted by my English teacher for the use of “me” instead of ” I ” . I have to wonder if different cultures have different rules in relation to grammar as I am not American but Australian. The English I was taught at school was British English. Maybe some of the rules of grammar are different as well as the spelling of some of our words (colour v’s color, gaol v’s jail) .

    Cheers,
    Jenny

  17. says

    Hello Ros,

    Aahhhh… it’s a relief to see that every language has such (little!) problems.
    Here in Holland it is not different.
    Perfectionisme regarding this we also call Purisme.
    I like perfect use of language too, but I’d like to make one remark:

    It is undoubtedly a fact that people MAKE their language and thus there will always be changements, albeit over a long periode.

    In other words, if the majority of people uses ‘conversate’ in stead of ‘converse’, then (not than ;) we’ll have to accept this, despite of all resistance.

    Not convinced? Look to the language from couple hundred years ago!
    Things are moving. And KEEP moving. All things – forever!

    Cheers!
    Leo S.

    • says

      Goedendag Leo,

      Je hebt gelijk, maar ik ben nog niet klaar te laten ‘praten’ versus ‘conversate’ gewoon nog niet gaan. Geef het nog 200 jaar.

      groet,
      ros

      P.S. See… even Google translate doesn’t like conversate! :-)

  18. says

    Hi Ros,

    Great post and many good comments given on this subject.

    One pet peeve of mine is the misuse of “past and passed” – many of these are
    more grammatical in nature, but still drives me nuts.

  19. Angela Wills says

    Rosalind I’m curious about a grammar issue I face as a fellow Canadian.

    Since you speak to both Canadians and Americans but you’re a Canadian how do you spell words like colour, neighbour, cheque, etc?

    I tend to go with the American spelling because most of my customers (about 90%) but I feel guilty doing it!

  20. Ray K. says

    Sufferin’ Suckotash! I get folks sending me spelling and grammar corrections
    from my newsletters all the time. Most of them aren’t English majors either.
    Once, someone actually printed one out and took the time to correct ALL the errors
    and snail mailed it to me. Was an English teacher…..LOL

  21. says

    I think it’s pretty bad to see bad English on blogs, Facebook and email newsletters. However, it’s particularly hilarious to see when people outsource the content of their blogs to someone in a 3rd world country. I once saw one referring to “pulling your leg” and it said something like “pull your leg on . . .”

  22. says

    I have found many people writing ‘sell’ instead of ‘sale’. Or vice versa. i.e. I haven’t had many sells lately, but I would really like to sale something.

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