Welcome to the Wordlady blog!

This blog is about the fascinating, fun, and challenging things about the English language. I hope to entertain you and to help you with problems or just questions you might have with spelling and usage. I go beyond just stating what is right and what is wrong, and provide some history or some tips to help you remember. Is something puzzling you? Feel free to email me at wordlady.barber@gmail.com.
You can also order my best-selling books, Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to do With Pigs and Only in Canada You Say. Fun and informative!


Subscribe! Fun facts about English delivered weekly right to your inbox. IT'S FREE! Fill in your email address below.
Privacy policy: we will not sell, rent, or give your name or address to anyone. You can unsubscribe at any point.

Follow by email

Search This Blog

Friday, November 15, 2013

10 language errors that you really shouldn't make

Last month we looked at ten usages which started off being criticized as wrong but have since become standard. This month, I offer you a list of usages that you really should avoid, with links to my articles about them. It actually amazes me that I can find this many linguistic issues that I have condemned as "wrong", but I even have enough left over to make another list next month!

1) Casting dispersions

2) Misplaced modifiers

3) Pronounciation

4) have went

5) Confusing whose and who's

6) enervate

7) synonomous, autonomous, etc.

8) sneak peak

9) In memorium, rememberance, momento

10 forebearer

Do you want to know more about the amazing story of the English language? Sign up for my course starting in January 2014. More info here.   

You can sign up to have your word of the week delivered directly to your inbox here.


  1. Will you please add the rampant omission of auxiliary verbs in TV/radio reporters' scripts? Maybe it's intended to sound immediate and add punch, but it's a sentence fragment, not normal speech and often confusing. It often involves a questioning, rising inflection for the first part of a sentence culminating in the subject, as though asking "and what became of x?" The remainder starts with a verb minus the auxiliary spoken as though to answer the question. "The bad guy - running down the street with the loot." This style used sparingly can add interest, but it's used for nearly every statement. With their microphone and wide reach, reporters are mangling the language.

    1. Alice, I can't say I'm familiar with this so can't really comment.

  2. Surely it should be "casting nasturtiums" ;=)


About Me

My photo
Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.