I seem to have become a bit of a nag about language and pronunciation this month, but I have to admit it is something that really bothers me.
Some reading this headline will hopefully want to comment straight away that surely it should read ‘…wonder THAN wander’.
But maybe I was meaning it to be a sequential thing. I was wondering about something and then went wandering off…
Before I lose you completely, it drives me round the bend the number of times I see the use of the word then – when the person clearly means than.
It’s a comparison thing – something is bigger than something else, I’d rather do this than that etc.
But constantly and especially on social media I see people write comparisons such as “better out then in”.
That was just one example I spotted a few moment ago.
Another example is wonder – to think (or marvel) about something – and wander – to meander around somewhere.
To me they have such clear and distinct meanings how could anyone mix them up?
I think part of the answer is that increasingly we write (or is it right?) what we think the word sounds like without considering if it’s the correct word in that context and how we should spell it.
Ah, the beauty of spell check and not learning how to spell in the first place!
Another very common occurrence (and it horrified me to see this in a senior journalist’s online opinion piece recently) is should of and could of rather than (note, not then) should have and could have.
This is just basic grammar and there is no excuse for that.