martes, 8 de marzo de 2011

I bet you thought I was dead!

In my wanders through the many pages of the Internets, I came across several things that really boggled my mind, now I like to consider myself reasonably well read and that I have a pretty good grasp on the English language, and only want to throttle it occasionally.

I do understand that for some people English is a bit hard to grasp hold of and that it is filled with words that look alike, but have vastly different meanings, for the average person I can understand making a mistake, but when I come across certain words on a professional business site, as well as within the confines of a published authoritative piece, I start to wonder.

The three words that have garnered my attention for the most amazing misuse within recent memory are COMMENSURATE, COMMISERATE and COMMEMORATE.

Commensurate means:

1. having the same measure; of equal extent or duration.
2. corresponding in amount, magnitude, or degree: Your paycheck should be commensurate with the amount of time worked.
3. proportionate; adequate.
4. having a common measure; commensurable.

Commiserate means:

1. to feel or express sorrow or sympathy for; empathize with; pity.

Commemorate means:

1. to serve as a memorial or reminder of
2. to honor the memory of by some observance
3. to make honorable mention of.

So when I saw a business offering a sale for the ANZAC day long weekend holiday with the banner:-

“To commiserate the ANZAC long weekend, all items 20% off”.
I nearly fell out of my chair, that word, it does not mean what you think it means.

I started to wonder if this was just an isolated incident, but Google got me many hundreds if not thousands of cases where people have used these three words interchangeably, I saw lots of questions posed along the lines of :

“Is your pay commemorate with your experience?”

and even:

“We gathered to commensurate the occasion with a few drinks and a song or two“

If anyone feels like commiserating with me over the commensurate angst I felt upon reading all those errors, then we could commemorate the occasion with a wild HUZZAH or two.

8 comentarios:

s-p dijo...

You understand English better than people who speak it! I am amazed at the mistakes "professional" writers make in advertising and media. I wish my Spanish was as good as your English! :)

The Loudest Fan dijo...


Anton Nuemus dijo...

very, very informative post

soulvask dijo...

interesting post, thanks

viljami.korianteri dijo...

Good post!

Random Fan dijo...

I love this stuff. Next: Except or accept!

Porfirio dijo...

AWWW YEAAHh, nice post, love this blog

Anónimo dijo...

haha, I think it's so funny when advertisements get words mixed around.