Press-Republican

Columns

April 8, 2012

I may be a loser, but I'm not a looser

I don't care what you say, I am not a looser.

A loser? Quite possibly, but absolutely not a looser.

We all have our pet peeves and tiny things which drive us completely insane. This is mine.

It's not like I'm the spelling police. Other than my children's school work, I rarely correct others' miscues. I, myself, have trouble spelling necessary, accommodate, definitely, occurrence, separate, sometimes even receiver (which I had to use writing several hundred football stories throughout my life).

I am not a grammar snob either. I might gently push you into the right there, their or they're. I might casually explain its and it's, but I would never criticize you for the prepositions you like to end sentences with.

I'm even understanding with punctuation misuse (except for multiple exclamation points!!!!). Man, I was a terrible editor.

The one faux pas that I cannot overlook or forgive, however, is the criminal misuse of loose and looser — in place of lose and loser — that has somehow become rampant in this country.

Some of you probably aren't even aware of this crime against my senses, but where I hang out on the Internets — social-networking sites and sports blogs, message boards, mailing lists and chat rooms — the problem is epidemic. Even among intelligent, educated people, and among my personal friends.

The sports sites are, of course, consumed every day with loosing and winning (wining? whinning?), so the word is misused constantly there. Weight loss and diet sites have the same problem with people loosing weight.

I'm not sure if thinner and more cultured people are having the same problem with lose. Perhaps they have their own different common misspelling, for instance, when they talk about a night at the oppruh. Should I blame the public education system? My children seem to have been taught the proper spelling, so I don't think that's it.

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