Monday, December 29, 2008

Definitely Losing

I will be the last to say I am a grammar nazi.

I know that I don't always use punctuation correctly; I never did learn many of the rules of writing. My knowledge of writing rules are slow in coming, and I know I make mistakes quite often. I know I'll likely make mistakes in the writing of this post.

Blogs are a personal thing for most of us. I purposely overlook grammar and punctuation when I read them, because they're not intended to be a perfectly polished piece of writing. It would take away the joy if I were constantly analyzing, and I hope that no one would do that to me either.

I have, however, increasingly come across two words that are being shamefully misused. So often, in fact, that I can no longer keep quiet about it. There is no reason for these poor words to be tortured so. Just because you see someone else do it doesn't mean it's ok. I'm not kidding, the misuse of these words causes me physical reactions, from ranting and raving to having the urge to toss the computer across the room. I'm not normally a violent person.

I don't think anyone who has a blog I regularly read misuses these words, and if you have, you're forgiven. I still love you. Just please, please, for the love of all that is good and decent in this world learn from this post.

The first one, my number one all time pet peeve, is the incorrect usage of the word 'lose'. Use it, people. This word is going to expire from our language if it's not used correctly soon. As in "I'm going to lose my mind if you don't stop this insanity." It is NOT 'loose'.

One of the main definitions of the word 'lose' is, according to Webster: "To miss from one's possession or from a customary or supposed place."

The definition of the word 'loose', also from Webster
:" Not rigidly fastened or securely attached." and "Free from a state of confinement, restraint, or obligation."

So if you say that you always "loose your shoes" you mean that you barely put them on your feet, or set them free to find their own way in the world. If you mean that you always misplace them then you always "lose your shoes".

Repeat after me:

My shoelaces are loose. I need to tie them.

The chain on the bicycle is getting loose.

My grip on this language is getting loose. I should tighten it.

Now, let's try this with 'lose':

I hate to lose.

I lose my mind often.

Lose the attitude.

Both these words start looking funny the more I type them. Where was I? Oh yes. Here are your last sentences, combining the two words properly. Study them as long as you wish.

I want to lose weight so my pants will be more loose.

My dog's collar is loose. I should make it fit more snugly, or he'll lose it.

See? It's not hard.

The other word is definitely. Not defiantly. If you are "defiantly going to the store", you're doing it in spite of whatever obstacle is trying to impede you. Most people mean that they're "definitely going to the store", as in they're absolutely going.

The fastest way to get this one right is to read it out loud as you type. The misuse of 'definitely' tends to crack me up. I don't get as upset as I do with lose/loose, because the mental picture it provides is, in some cases, awesome.

"I'm defiantly loving the way the dress looks on you." I see that person twisting your arm.

"You're defiantly a special person." Uh, thanks.

"One scoop of ice cream is defiantly enough." You tell 'em!

"We defiantly had a great time." I'm so glad you had fun in the face of such opposition!

I do feel a little bad being so sarcastic. Just a little.

Will you stand with me in reclaiming the proper use of these words? Please?

If not, I will definitely lose my mind at the defiant looseness of it all.



Heidi Ashworth said...

Amen! Though I regret to say, I have a problem with a few words myself--though neither of those are it. Esp. not the lose/loose thing. aii yii yii!!

Jeni said...

These peeve me too! I could add a few more, but the lose/loose one is top on my list!

Annette Lyon said...

A kindred spirit! Yes! I knew I liked you. :D

mindyluwho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mindyluwho said...

One that I've seen lately is sale/sell, as in, "I'm going to sale this dress."

One time a friend of mine wrote something like "we are all yolked together"...she meant "yoked", as in "working together". The sad thing is she argued with me about the spelling!

Abra said...

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
I definitely agree with all the things you've loosely written about here. I'm about to lose my mind with all the uses of misunderstood spellings, meanings, etc... of words... or... are they Defiantly being misconstrued?


Nancy Face said...

I am most DEFINITELY a grammar Nazi! Not with other people's posts...but I hate making mistakes on my OWN posts! :0

I have never seen anyone use the word defiantly in place of definitely! Weird. What I've noticed is that nearly EVERYONE misspells definitely (with an a: definately)!

Your examples were funny! :D

LexiconLuvr said...

I've been convicted of grammatical murder before. Hopefully not for the misuse of "loose/lose" or "definitely/defiantly," but should you see me do it, please pull out the ruler and rap my knuckles fiercely!

Loved the post!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Whew! I don't think I commit these particular atrocities. =) I love posts like these, though, because somtimes I am getting it wrong and need the lesson.

Jen said...

I don't do those two, but I always spell definitely wrong. Definately? Here's the thing though, my browser has built in spell check, so hopefully I've caught most of the errors before I click "publish".

I've also noticed that now that I type so fast (100+ wpm), I've started making errors that I know better--spelling words how they sound, like no instead of know, too instead of two, etc. I get going so fast and somehow type auditorally, even though I never ever got those mixed up in school, and if someone else wrote it it would be glaringly obvious to me! Throw in trying to type of DH's laptop, and I'm done. Lots of errors.

LisAway said...

Both of these bother me a tad, too. The stranges thing is that it feels like such a shock. Like I was reading someone's interesting and articulate post and WHAM! they don't know how to spell lose and I get stuck there for a minute or two before I can move on and finish reading the post.

Unfortunately I seem to have a little problem with some homophones and especially your and you're and sometimes their there and they're (though less often). The thing is I KNOW VERY WELL WHICH IS WHICH, but I sometimes type up a comment and read back through before publishing, or worse, re-read it after publishing, and find that I've told someone "you're husband is nice!" AAAAAAHHHHHH! I sometimes type it wrong, but I NEVER read it wrong. It jumps straight off the page to me. Why is that?

And I wish I was good with punctuation, but I'm not. And I like beginning my sentences with And and having sentences that don't contain all the proper parts etc. In a word, I write the way I speak, and when I speak, I don't form perfect sentences ever time. And I'm okay with that.

Look, I've written my very own post in your comment section here! (Sorry) I just love this post. And your clever usage of these words all interchangeably. (Not YOU'RE clever usage, mind.)

LisAway said...

Oh sorry, one more. I almost always start writing ridiculous "redi. . ." What's up with that?

An Ordinary Mom said...

The lose/loose one drives me bonkers, too, and I am definitely no English major. (In fact I majored in Biology!) I see that word misspelled all the time!

Michal said...

i laughed through this entire post because you sound like me. you have no idea how often i rant to my husband about such obvious and oft repeated mistakes. of course, our blogs do not need to be shining examples of perfection, but COME ON, PEOPLE! use the english language, please!:)

Kimberly said...

Oh we are so similar in this one! Amen! Well said!

No Cool Story said...

I used to have write "loose" until I saw the correct way to use it on a friend's blog...But I am Mexi hence the confusion (which is also my standard excuse). Now I keep track of it much better, and with your added examples, I know I will win!

Now, definitely, wow, I have never confused it with defiantly.

Aubrey said...

AMEN!!! I could have written this. I'm not a nazi either, but those same mistakes drive me bonkers. Defiantly so.