Just Deserts

I just purged my comments database.  There were over 110,000 comments in there.  My fault for being a year-long slacker?  Yes. I've jacked-up the security setting, we'll see if that stops the spam.

Why is this in the words category?  Because I'm wishing spammers would get their just deserts.  And if more than two people read this entry, I would be guaranteed an e-mail informing me that dessert is spelled with two Ses.  They would even tell me that I can remember it because dessert is yummy and you always want to go back for seconds.

These people and the most annoying kind of prissy spelling nazis.  They are the kind who are wrong, but spread their misinformation anyway.

Tell me, spelling nazi... how do you spell dessert in this sentence:  "One out of every 100 recruits deserts the armed forces." ? 

That's right.  Homophones are a bitch, aren't they?

And as for "Just Deserts", the deserts in question are NOT the final course to a meal. Deserts are what you deserve. Not what you desserve.

Don't believe me?  Google it.

Words that You Spell Wrong Without Knowing It

This week: Complement

Notice the “e”. 

Compliment and complement are two different words.

A compliment is a nice thing to say about someone. To compliment is to say that nice thing. Something that is complimentary is kind or it is free.

Complement is derived from “complete” – hence the “e”: That scarf complements your outfit. A full complement of soldiers.  Complementary colours add up to white (in RGB, anyway).

Awkward client moment:  When I was working on the account management side at an agency, I once had a client send me a list of edits to a piece that was being published the next day.  Among her edits was her desire to “correct” the spelling of the word “complement” to “compliment”.  We spent hours trying to figure out how to tell her that she was a dumb-ass without pissing her off.

How Not to Spell Things

This could easily become a serial feature.

  1. congradulations
  2. alot
  3. absense

Less or Fewer

What's wrong with this sentence?

There were less people on the train today than there were yesterday.

If you've read the title of this entry, then you've probably already figured it out.  Try this on for size:

There were fewer people on the train today than there were yesterday.

It's an easy rule so let's all try to get it right.  If you can count it, you use "fewer". If it's an uncountable quantity that varies in size, yet is basically one thing, (a collective noun, for those of you keeping score) you use "less".

Less sand.  Fewer grains of sand.

Less water.  Fewer drops of water.

Less waiting.  Fewer line-ups.

Less paper. Fewer pages.

That is all.