Wednesday, 4 August 2010

doing the write/right thing

Early this morning I started a sequel to the novel I have just published at, which just goes to prove that insomnia has its uses. Actually, I wanted to start on August 1st with a view to writing at least 1000 words per day, which would take me well into the book by September. I won't force myself to keep to this schedule, but I will try! 
There has been a big discussion about using thesauruses and dictionaries in one of the linkedin groups to which I belong. Some people even deny themselves online versions, feeling more at home with their well-thumbed paper editions. Not me. I go for speed and I have no compunction about using anything that can help me find the word or phrase I need at a particular moment. I don't wait till draft 2, 3, or even 4, either, as some scribes seem to. I tend to follow a given train of thought to the bitter end. Nothing is sacred, however. If a word later sticks out like a sore thumb, out it goes!

So when I decided to write 'damp squid' I had to ask myself if I was doing the right/write thing. The result of my research was a correction to the phrase, which should read 'damp squib', and a nice list of ten commonly misquoted popular sayings with the corrected versions in brackets. Some of the entries will no doubt surprise you. I don't make most of the errors, but only my curiosity spared me the damp squid. Go here for the full article. 
The top ten misquotes by British people are as follows:

1) A damp squid (a damp squib)

2) On tender hooks (on tenter hooks)

3) Nip it in the butt (nip it in the bud)

4) Champing at the bit (chomping at the bit)

5) A mute point (a moot point)

6) One foul swoop (one fell swoop)

7) All that glitters is not gold (all that glisters is not gold)

8) Adverse to (averse to)

9) Batting down the hatches (batten down the hatches)

10) Find a penny pick it up (find a pin pick it up)

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