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Home » Archives » August 2008 » Incidences. No really, I hear it all the time.
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08/01/2008: Incidences. No really, I hear it all the time.

You know what's been bugging me lately? Words and phrases being used almost but not quite correctly. Sir, you mean "unkempt," not "unkept". "Whirlwind," not "worldwind." You might mean "incidents," or you might mean "instances," but you certainly do not mean "incidences." And, Miss, you must mean "hot on the heels of," not "hot OFF the heels of." Good lord!

Oh, and if you say that someone looked as though "butter wouldn't melt in their mouth," you mean that they had a very cold expression, not that they looked sweet and harmless -- what's your reasoning there? That they look so benign they wouldn't even harm butter?

The only thing wrong with feeling superior about knowing how to use these words is that each of us has a matching supply of words we're using wrong without even knowing it.

This is yet another reason to make your friends read your scripts and give you honest and thorough feedback on issues like these. By the way, for stuff like this, you don't even need to rely on your screenwriting friends. Try giving a copy of a script to your most literate "I only read the classics" friends. They may not have anything useful to say about space battles, but they are very likely to be the ones to tell you about the difference between "invoke" and "evoke," "lie" and "lay," and about that weird second "i" in liaison.

Lunch: Penne Arrabiata


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