Sound truly smart by avoiding common verbal gaffes

Word misuse is a modern pandemic; inoculate yourself with knowledge.

If I actually had a craw, here’s what would stick in it—the misuse of words. More specifically, I cringe when people use certain words to sound smarter than they are, only to reveal themselves as dolts.

Perhaps the most common of these offenses occurs with the lengthening—by a mere syllable, sometimes—of the correct word to make it the wrong one for the circumstances.

You ask: How about an example? Here are a couple:

“I begrudgingly lent my umbrella to that skunk of a sales manager.”

No, you would do so grudgingly. That is, you’d do it because it’s best for your company; your rep should look his best, even if he is a conniving, manipulative, malodorous cretin. And because your boss gently “suggested” it.

Now, you might begrudge someone her success or good fortune; that is, wish she had not benefitted in that way because of some prior altercation you two may have had.

The two words are somewhat similar in tone—that is, mean-spiritedness—but avoid doing things “begrudgingly.”

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