The other day, my iPhone’s power button broke, so I called Apple customer service with hopes of getting a replacement. The man on the other line, Mr. Apple, told me that, “irregardless,” I would still have to pay a service fee of $26 before tax. This annihilation of the word rubbed me the wrong way.
“That’s a double negative!” I shouted.
“Well, I guess you’re right.” Damn right I was.
Irregardless is not a word. Correct: regardless.
Maybe I feel that it’s my duty or responsibility to learn and then correct those who make the same mistakes I have. Hell, I was even called out this week (that’s not to say I don’t get called out every week—or every day for that matter. Thank you, art school). A SCAD staff member emailed me and in the first paragraph tipped his hat for, “taking on a topic, that in the days of abbreviations and webspeak, is increasingly important.”
In the second paragraph, he corrected me on the title of this column. He asked if I intentionally titled the article “Write good” as that is proper usage, but normally would call for an adverb to describe how someone writes.
He said all of this in a private, polite and professional manner for which I have profound respect. His email considered the difference between what we write and what we say.
It’s interesting to see how people speak compared to the way they write.
I myself use slang throughout the day and create my own word contractions like “whaddup,” or use grammatically incorrect statements, “where you at?”
And when I sit down to write, I turn a complete 180 and focus intensely on what it is I’m saying, and how it will sound to others.
What sounds right could be wrong.
Whether vs. If
Following up from last week, it’s a no-no to substitute “whether” with “if” as they express two separate thoughts. There is controversy in this area but my stance is firm:
Whether: use when expressing an alternative.
If: use when expressing a condition.
“I can’t decide whether I want to go home or not.”
“I’m not going downtown if you’re going home.”
The health complex
So you think you’re healthy? Well, you’d be right. “Healthy” is defined by Merriam-Webster’s as “enjoying health” whereas “healthful” is “beneficial to health.”
“Gee wiz, I feel so healthy after an hour at Club SCAD.”
“Oh no! The food at Café SCAD made me sick, I don’t think it’s too healthful.”
The use of peruse
After hearing this word for the first time last week, I looked it up to discover the person had used it wrong. In fact, they used it as the complete opposite of the correct definition.
Peruse: to read thoroughly or to scrutinize/examine.
Incorrect: “Don’t just peruse over it, read it thoroughly!”
Correct: “Do you even know how to use ‘peruse’?”
Correct: “I perused that art history book for hours!”
Next match-up: Americans vs. British
It semi-embarrasses me to think that when I first applied to SCAD, I used “advisor” in most emails. Apparently, this is wrong because we’re Amurrican!
British spell it this way: advisor
Americans spell it this way: adviser
By request: “Than” is used to compare. “Then” is used as a reference to time.
Than: “Your project is way better than that man, don’t cry.”
Then: “I can’t help myself dude. I tell myself not to worry, but even then I’ll still weep.”
Disclaimer: “Write good” is a sarcastic attempt at humor. Always say, “Write [insert adverb] well.”
Contact Kenneth Rosen.