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Peter MadridWe’ve all got our share of improper word usage and language butchering that drives us crazy.  Recently, veteran journalist Peter Madrid, communications specialist for Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc., who also teaches writing at Arizona State University, shared some of his pet peeves.

These come right out of his students’ assignments.

Enormity: Look it up before using it as a synonym to enormous.

Notoriety: Should not be used as a synonym for publicity or exposure. Consider the root of the word.

“She set a new record:” As opposed to setting an old record …

“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.” Incorrect literary reference. Either get it right or don’t use it. It’s actually, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

More than/over: However, AP made the change and said either one is OK.

In exchange for: How about just “for?”

Singular/plural agreement: “The ASU football team is off this week” … “The Sun Devils played their best game of the season by beating Arizona.”

Believes/says he believes: Unless you have ESP, you don’t know what someone believes, feels or thinks unless they tell you.

In fact: In fact, don’t use it!

Contraction vs. possessive: It’s good that its life was spared.

Their, they’re, there …

Fighting back tears, the applause of his class was too much for Prof. Madrid. The applause was not fighting back tears.

Jones gave the ring to his girlfriend that he had won in a poker game. Really, he won his girlfriend in a poker game?

The_Adjective_Noun:  The 33-year-old Madrid signed a contract … Madrid, 33, signed a contract.

We know this list could go on for pages!

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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