While sitting in the reception area of an assisted living facility, Tidbits, an informative little news paper, caught my eye. I quote from Kathy Wolfe’s article on MISUSED WORDS & PHRASES.
“If you’re going on vacation, and your friend asks you to bring him back a “momento,” what he really means is a “memento,” which is a keepsake or souvenir. there is no such word as momento.”
Step up to the coffee bar and order an “expresso,” and you won’t be ordering coffee! The correct term, “espresso,” has its origins in the Italian language, from their word for “pressed out”, referring to the process of making coffee under steam pressure. One of the first espresso machines was patented in 1901, and could make a cup of coffee in 45 seconds. To think that I ordered “expressos” while in Paris. How embarrassing!!!
Has something exciting grabbed your interest lately? Perhaps you think that it “peaked your interest.” The appropriate phrase is “piqued your interest.” The word “pique” means to cause a feeling of interest or curiosity.
When you give someone complete freedom to do as he or she pleases, you are giving “free rein,” not “free reign”, as it used by some. “Free rein” is a reference to horseback riding, when the rider holds the reins loosely allowing the horse freedom of movement, the opposite of keeping a tight rein. “Reign” can mean to rule as a monarch, such as Queen Elizabeth, who reigns over the United Kingdom. It can also mean to dominate or control, such as a certain team “reigning supreme” in the NFL.
Do you know the difference between “regardless” and irregardless? The difference is, one is a word and one isn’t. The word “regardless” means “without regard.” Some people argue that “irregardless” is indeed a word, with the same meaning as “regardless.” Some dictionaries have given “irregardless” an entry, which technically makes it a word, even though it’s considered “nonstandard.”
So there you have it. Ms Wolfe refers to several more misused words and phrases in Tidbits. Why not pick up this Neat Little Paper! Who knows —- you may end up on Jeopardy some day when this information will come in handy.