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Diabolically Arcane

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Here Comes Trouble

18 August, 2011

This Saturday – just for fun – I’ll be tap-dancing in a minefield. One slip and a grammatical Claymore will detonate. The sport is part of my Wordplay column in the SMH, a risky piece about troublesome words.

You know the kind – continuous and continual, farther and further, imply and infer. The trigger for the topic was my lapse in a previous column, using the word homogenous, when I should have said homogeneous. Peeling back to the roots, the first word means same-source, while the second translates as same-kind. Lucid on paper, but aren’t two peas in a pod homogenous – AND homogeneous?!

Tellingly the Macquarie has waved the white flag in this regard, accepting the cousins as synonyms in many settings. Just as a usage note in the same tome begrudges the merging of uninterested and disinterested. While alternate and alternative are on standby.

But we all have our bugbears, right? What troublesome words do you supervise, ensuring the pair is rightly used in polite society? Or which turbid/turgid double makes you cross-eyed? And dear God, don’t get me started on willy-nilly!

Welcome to the new forum. Looks scary? It’s not. Feels iffy? It ain’t. The DisQus platform is here to block spam and lend us more chat options. That’s all. Please note, you don’t have to create a DisQus account to make a comment. If you do, however, it will speed your future visits. Be assured no details are abused, misused or reused. Let’s fight spam as one, and get back to the grand conversation. Thanks, DA

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Text-speak is creeping into Scrabble. Where do you sit?
OBVS I'm fine with it
Entrenched stuff - like LOL and OMG - but no more.
Words With Friends, maybe. Scrabble, no
Let the 'real' dictionaries decide first
Just the handy stuff, like FAQ and EUW
I mean, WTF?! No way
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