Malapropism Monday, Week 7 — Prescribe vs. Proscribe

Happy Monday, friends! For today’s Malapropism Monday I have just a short one — mixing up “prescribe” and “proscribe.” This is one I’ve seen online and in TV closed captioning, and it’s one that spell checkers won’t catch because they’re both real words. The problem is, they have vastly different — almost opposite — meanings.

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Malapropism Monday, Week 6 — Loose vs. Lose

Happy Monday, everyone! Well, for most of us in the US it may not be the happiest of Mondays due to the “spring forward” daylight saving time that stole an hour of our sleep this weekend!

Personally, I do enjoy having more daylight in the summer, but the clock change in the spring is tough, isn’t it? Even getting the hour back in the fall doesn’t work out so well when you have young kids as I do. Somehow their little bodies don’t get the message that we can all sleep in longer.

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Malapropism Monday, Week 5

It’s Monday again! Exciting, right? For today’s Malapropism Monday I’d like to bring up yet another writing and speech pattern that bugs me! I know you’re dying to find out about it.

Today’s topic is the use of “try and ____” vs. “try to ____.” Did you know that these are not interchangeable? People often say “try and ____” when they should say “try to ____.” Or, at least in my opinion, they should…

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Malapropism Monday, Week 4 — Compliment vs. Complement

It’s Monday again! You know what that means, right? I still have some malapropisms left on my list, so I’ll continue with this series a while longer.

Today I wanted to focus on the use and misuse of “compliment” and “complement.” This is a pair of words that people mix up all the time, in my experience. In fact, I mentioned it in my recent post on TokyoTreat snack subscription boxes. Here’s a screenshot from their (overall enjoyable and well-done) magazine that comes in the box:

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Malapropism Monday, Week 3

It’s a bit late here for today’s Malapropism Monday post due to today being Presidents Day — in the AP writing style there is no apostrophe — here in the US.

Today’s malapropism will be a short and quick one, because I’m tired after wrangling a couple of kids through the rain. Speaking of tiredness have you ever seen “weary” written in place of “wary”? I do all the time. People will say things such as, “I’m really weary of the new policies at work — I don’t think they’ll have a positive effect on absenteeism.” It’s not likely that you can be weary of a new policy, right? Weary means tired or fatigued. I suppose it’s possible, but not very likely.

The more apropos word in that situation would be “wary,” which means “watchful, cautious, or alert” according to It’s also possible that you could mean to say you’re “leery” of a policy, since leery means “suspicious” and is a synonym of “wary.” You could say I’m weary of seeing this error and wary whenever I see the word “weary,” and I’m leery of the misuse of these words!

Anyway, the reason my post is late today is because my family and I went to San Francisco since we all had the day off of work and school. We’ve only lived in the Bay Area for a few months, so there’s still a lot we haven’t seen here. There was rain all day long, so we didn’t spend as much time outside walking as we would have liked to, but we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (a family favorite anywhere in the world we can find one) followed by some walking around Pier 39 and a bit of driving tourism.

Here are a few photos from today:

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Malapropism Monday, Week 2

Another week, another Monday, another Malapropism Monday here! It’s been a pretty busy day — there’s only an hour left of Monday in my time zone — but I want to maintain the habit. This will be a short one, but something I see all the time nonetheless.

In my main job I translate and process market research surveys and survey responses. I take care of the Spanish and French responses that come in, and at times help with the English ones as well. One mistake I see regularly in customers’ responses is when they write referring to themselves or other customers as “costumers.” Let’s just say that none of the clients my company works with have anything to do with theater, fashion, dressing up, or costumes of any type.

I’ve read dozens of responses similar to: “I’ve been a costumer at Company X for 10 years…” No. No, you haven’t. Company X is a car dealership!

Just a small thing, but another mistake that a spell checker won’t catch as long as “costumer” is spelled right!

Malapropism Monday

First of all, do you know what a “malapropism” is? It’s the misuse of a word, often similar in sound to the apropos word, which changes the meaning of the sentence to something ridiculous. See what I did there? I used the word “apropos,” which means “appropriate” or “pertinent.” The prefix “mal-” means “bad, wrong, or ill;” add it to “apropos” and you get that a malapropism is a wrong usage of a word.

I don’t know if I’ll have one of these every week, but when I do, it’s Malapropism Monday! For our first installment, I’d like to discuss one that drives me nuts, and I see it everywhere — especially on the internet! I think when people are writing, they defiantly mean well, but…

Did you catch it? Yes, today’s malapropism is using “defiantly” when “definitely” should be used! To tell the difference, think about the root verb “defiantly” comes from: defy. If you do something defiantly, you’re defying someone or something. If you can’t name the person or entity being defied, you probably meant to use “definitely.” I definitely want everyone to start using these two words correctly! I will defiantly blog against the misuse of “defiantly.” Get it?

As with many of the errors I find, this will not be caught by a spell checker if “defiantly” is spelled correctly but used wrong. I doubt even a grammar checker would catch it, either, since both words are adverbs. You just have to know the difference, or get help from someone who does!

Sentence 1: I’m definitely going to scream the next time I see this mistake.

Sentence 2: I’m defiantly going to scream the next time I see this mistake.

Can you tell the difference? Both are correct sentences, but they have different meanings. Sentence 1 means I will certainly scream, while the second sentence means I will rebel against the forces of ignorance by screaming — probably not effective, but it’s possible to do.

I found this page with more examples:

So that’s the first edition of Malapropism Monday. Do you have any more examples of this one? Any other malapropisms you’d like to see discussed here?