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Grammar Tips & Tidbits


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Common Misspellings in Everyday ExpressionsPart V

Summer has absolutely flown by, hasn't it? Fall begins in only one week, but the weather in my neck of the woods still feels very much like summer. I'm really looking forward to the cooler temperatures just around the corner—autumn is my favorite time of year!

In previous issues of Grammar Tips  & Tidbits, we've discussed a number of everyday expressions that contain common misspellings, such as rein in costs (not reign) and nothing fazes him (not phases).

If you missed these past tips, you can view them at the pages listed below:

●  Misspelled Expressions I

Misspelled Expressions II

●  Misspelled Expressions III

●  Misspelled Expressions IV

Many other everyday expressions contain commonly misspelled words. These spelling errors usually occur because two homophones¹ (words with the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings) have been interchanged.

The following expressions contain words that are frequently confused or misspelled:

I'm at your beck and call (not beckon call)

●  He was running full bore (not full boar)

●  Keep your eyes peeled (not pealed)

●  He peeled out of the driveway (not pealed)

●  She sat on the chaise longue (not lounge)

Look closely at the last phrase and note the correct spelling: longue. If you live in the U.S., you may be surprised to learn that the correct pronunciation is technically "LON." If you'd like to hear the pronunciation for yourself, go to this page on the Merriam-Webster site and click the speaker icon.

Don't worry if you've been using the same pronunciation for "chaise longue" as you would when inviting someone to meet you at the "cocktail lounge." Apparently, the latter pronunciation is so common in the U.S. that it has been added to our dictionaries. Click here for proof!

Here's a tip: To avoid this pronunciation issue altogether, omit the "longue/lounge" part and simply call it a "chaise." Easy, right?

For more on how the "chaise longue" became known as a "chaise lounge" in the U.S., see the World Wide Words site.

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1. Wikipedia contributors. "Homophone."
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophone (accessed September 15, 2010).