The day before I peed on a stick and learned Sylvia was on her way, I lost my temper at work.
Actually that’s putting it mildly.
I freaked the eff out and lost it completely on one of my colleagues.
I was working for a weekly newspaper at the time, and as any community journalist knows deadline days come fast and furious. They are filled to the brim with red pens and cropping photos and brainstorming headlines and shuffling ads around to make everything fit.
That particular day (it was a Monday) we were handing pages of copy (articles) back and forth across the hall as we all edited each other’s work. I flagged a misused word. It was something rather innocuous, but the wrong word in its place was comical. (Like mixing up accepted and excepted or toe and tow. More serious, yet rarer than your average your/you’re/yore mix-up).
Instead of explaining the different meanings and sharing a laugh over it, I picked up my (hefty) Oxford Canadian tome and hurled myself across the hall. I slammed the book on his desk and shouted, “Use a FUCKING dictionary!” before storming back to my office.
Once the calm had been restored an hour or so later, another colleague suggested I may be pregnant.
Turns out, I was.
I don’t remember what word cause me such grief that day. In fact, I’ve since combed that edition a couple of times, trying to find the word that would have put me over the edge. I’ve never found it. My former-colleague and friend remembers the outburst (as well one would) but not the word either. I guess I’ll have to wait til I’m pregnant again to know.
In the meantime, I pay closer attention to misused words. They’re not always synonyms, and goodness knows I don’t always catch them before I publish (either here, or in my offline work), but they make me smile.
Here’s a few I’ve come across lately. Synonyms and similar words with completely different meanings: