or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


When the hell are websites going to hire some goddamned copy-editors?


If someone's going to write an article about sleep, it's a pretty sure bet that they're going to drag Shakespeare into it, and it's a pretty sure bet that they're going to get the quotation wrong. Slate doesn't disappoint:

They can secrete hormones, repair cells, or shore up their immune systems. Humans, for one, may engage in various kinds of emotional processing; sleep may "knit up the raveled sleeve of care," as Shakespeare put it.

If Shakespeare put it that way, then less the writer he. What he wrote, in fact, was sleave, not sleeve. They aren't the same word at all, with entirely different provenances, spellings, and meanings. "Sleeve" is something you slip your arm into, and in fact is related to slippery words such as "slip", "slop", and "sloop" (which slides through the ocean). "Sleave", on the other hand, is a fine thread, easily tangled--this is what Shakespeare was referring to--and is related to "sliver", which still exists in the sense of "fine thread" as well as "fragment" or "shard": sliver (usually pronounced "sly-ver") is a length of wool, cotton or flax that hasn't been spun into thread yet..


In the most recent installment of Heather Havrilesky's TV column, "I Like To Watch":

But now that the little monkey in the trash can has whet your appetite for lighter, more humorous fare, we'd better move on to "The L Word," which had its worst season yet -- and that's saying a lot.

A past tense of "wet" is, it is true, "wet" (another one is "wetted", depending on the context). However, "whet" is not the same word, and the past tense of "whet" is always and only "whetted".


From a game review in The Onion:

What's the best way to simulate the mysterious creative process that leads to a hit song? A rhythm game? A metaphorical "fighting your demons" mini-game? Rising Star takes an even further-out tact: you have to play a tile-matching game, like that old card game Memory, and the more tiles you match, the better the song. Because nothing rocks harder than good short-term memory.

Somebody actually thinks that "tact" is the correct word, rather than "tack"?

Yes, as it turns out. Shoving an inappropriate "-t" onto the end of a word that ends in a hard "-c" sound is relatively common. Wrong and horrible, but common. Here in Canada, there's a ubiquitous in-store debit system called Interac (as the Wiki page says, "In Canada, the word Interac is often used as a synonym for debit card"), but I'd wager that I've heard it pronounced "Interact" more often than I've heard the correct pronunciation. (I vaguely remember an ad campaign attempting to get people to pronounce it properly. If such a thing existed, I'm sure it was a miserable failure.)


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