Say it with me.

I’m rather unfussy as writers go. You’ll see my less-than-perfectly punctuated, grammatically liberal writing in my posts (I try to save all the analness for my paying jobs, plus there’s that “by ear” factor I’m quite fond of). And you won’t find me tsk-tsking over someone else’s casual writing.

But I have my limits — and I’m tired of cringing. Allow me to put on my writer’s hat (or, more appropriately, writer’s ear) for just a moment.

Say it with me:

  1. voilà (vwa-lah) — not “wala”

  2. verbiage (verb-ee-ej) — 3 syllables with an “e” sound in the middle; not “verbage” (as if there was a “nounage”) Damn, I was wrong about this one. All you people keep on saying “verbij” if you’re OK with it only being the second (and clearly more obnoxious) dictionary pronunciation…

  3. masonry (may-sun-ree) — 3 syllables, not “masonary” with 4

  4. realtor (real-ter) — 2 syllables, not “real-a-ter” with 3 (REALTOR® in all caps is a registered trademark, but that’s beside the point)

  5. nuclear (nuke-lee-er) — not “nuke-u-ler” (I know, I know, this one has been done to death)

That’s it, I’m done (for now). Just my small bit to clean up spoken English — 5 words at a time. If you have a pet word peeve, let me know, and I’ll cover it next time.

Now yinz all get back to work annat.

If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk,
then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf. 
                                                       ~ Lemony Snicket

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3 Comments

  1. Mel L said,

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Chris–I am with you. However. Must point out that verbiage has two acceptable pronunciations…one of which is the pronunciation that makes you cringe. See for yourself:
    http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/verbiage

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Well, I stand corrected. Thanks, Mel. It will still make me cringe, but now for no good reason.

  3. Mel L said,

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    That’s okay, lots of things make me cringe for no good reason. Sometimes they make me utter oaths that I shouldn’t! {: O

    And I’ll bet that your pronunciation was the right one, and misuse over the years relaxed the standards until both became okay. That happens in a live language all the time, sadly.


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