Thursday, April 19, 2007

The enormousness of some mistakes

The Economist style guide is making the rounds on the Internet. It's a decent read, and I am posting it here to point more people to it.

Also, I wanted to rant about the very frequent misuse of the word "enormity" that I see everywhere. I've seen this on otherwise excellent literary stuff, and it seems to be very widespread. First off, "enormity" is not the same as "large" or "enormous" -- in fact it means something of an enormous mistake, an extreme absurdness. When news sites report about the "physical enormity" of players, and "enormity" of devastation, it reads as an enormity in itself.

"Enormousness" is the word you might be after if you've used enormity wrongly. It is, unfortunately, a larger word, not so easy on the tongue or the ears, and therefore suffers from lack of love.

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