Saturday, December 6, 2008

etymology of word apparently doesn't help

I was reading the Toronto Star a week ago.
The author described a young man with an "illusive" smile.
Apparently this was quite fetching.
I suspect the author meant "elusive".
Illusive is clearly related to illusion in its origin.
Elusive, to elude.

Folks that learn language primarily by sound and not sight will make these errors in English.

I think I busted some other major newspaper for confusing "elicit" with "illicit". This is even less forgivable. Elicit is a verb and illicit is an adjective. A simple understanding of word order should have prevented this. BBC online this week had "it's" and "its" confused.

I have advice to aspiring journalists. Visit some web sites. Google a few terms such as "common mistakes English".
D: Punctuation humor.
The exclamation mark is "... a screamer, a gasper, a startler or (sorry) a dog's cock".
Poor writers are prone to using triple exclamation marks for effect. !!!
Any good editor would never accomodate 3 of these. ... ... [=