Minority Opinions

Not everyone can be mainstream, after all.

Run-on Words

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I’m not alone in my annoyance at seeing “a lot” joined into a single word.  I’m starting to suspect that those who speak more than they read are doomed to repeat that mistake until they’ve been individually criticized at least once for it.  In fact, it happens so often that notable English usage books speculate that the single-word form may eventually become acceptable, as “awhile” and “another” have.  Until then, it will still cause my estimation of a writer’s intelligence to plummet.

I’m seeing the same trend with a contraction of the “never mind” idiom.  After seeing reasonably respectable co-workers use it several times in instant messages, I can no longer work up the same vitriol as “a lot” inspires, though I still consider it an error.  Curiously, the single-word form seems to have a few colloquial meanings as a noun, and has also been used in titles.

Similarly, many phrasal verbs come in single-word forms, but with an entirely different meaning.  I cringe when I see the noun used as a verb, but at least can understand how it happens.

In contrast, contracting “no one” is just plain ugly, not least because it looks too much like a time of day.  Sometimes it gets hyphenated, which isn’t much better.  Then again, even the two-word form is a bit awkward; “nobody” usually looks better for some reason.  And is yet another case where two words have legitimately become one.

But the ones for which I have absolutely no respect are ofcourse, infact, and aswell.  In this age of universal spell-check, it should be difficult to type one of those without knowing that it’s completely wrong in every context.  There is no excuse for seeing any of them more than once a year.  Including this time.


Written by eswald

9 Jul 2013 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Lifestyle

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