20 Misused Words (or “Susan and Tom Have a Very Bad Week”)
1. Irregardless– This is not a word, irregardless of what you’ve been told all your life.
2. Peruse– This means to review something in depth, although most people believe it means to skim an item quickly. Susan perused the tomb, certain that she’d find the answer to her strange dreams here.
3. Bemused– This means to be confused about a thing, not to be amused by a thing. When Tom kissed Susan passionately and told her he never wanted to see her again, Susan couldn’t help but be bemused.
4. Conversate– This is not a real word, so please don’t conversate with it.
5. Enormity– This means extremely evil. It does not mean “huge”. Only after Tom saw the death and mayhem his hasty act had brought about did he feel the enormity of his actions.
6. Compelled– Some people use this to mean “to willingly do a thing”. However, this word means “to be forced to do something”. The vampire compelled Susan to fall into his embrace against her wishes. Forgive me, Tom, Susan thought.
7. Redundant– This does not mean repeated. This means it is superfluous and can be cut out. The vampire Lefevre promised Tom that if he walked away from Susan, Lefevre wouldn’t harm her. Tom walked away. Tom walked away quickly. Tom walked a bit too quickly, come to think of it. Sort of more like a gallop than a walk; maybe Tom raced away. No, no, on second thought it was more like a saunter but with the rock in his shoe it just looked a bit faster. These last five sentences are redundant.
8. Nauseous– I don’t feel sick. If I’m nauseous, I’m making you feel sick. The fresh corpses of exsanguinated vampire victims were nauseous to all in their vicinity.
9. Refute– Many people think this merely means “rebuttal”, but it means to disprove with evidence. Indeed, the defense attorney refuted the prosecution’s case by having the defendant try on the glove to prove it was three sizes too small. Clearly, the milkman did not exsanguinate anyone.
10. Data– Did you know a single piece of information is a ‘datum’, while plural or multiple pieces are ‘data’? Tom knew just one datum: Tom was mad about Susan. Scratch that. He knew two data: Tom was mad about Susan, and Tom hated vampires.
11. Cliché– This is a noun. It is not an adjective. The adjective is “cliched”. Tom used the best cliché he could muster to tell Susan he needed her. “You’re so cliched!” She replied.
12. Disinterested– This word means “unbiased”. It does not mean not interested. Judge Forbes was disinterested regarding the fact that Lefevre was a vampire. What he needed to know was if Susan willingly said, “I do”.
13. Hone– Hone means “to sharpen”. It does not mean “to home in”. Tom honed his tracking skills so he could find Susan despite the vampire’s supernatural veiling technique.
14. Nonplussed– This means “stunned”. It doesn’t mean “unimpressed”. The courtroom was nonplussed when the vampire burst into flames as he took the oath on the stand.
15. Hung– This word means “suspended”, not “suspended from the neck until dead”. “Well,” Judge Forbes remarked, “at least now the sentence is hung. Otherwise, that vampire would’ve hanged for what he did to Susan.”
16. Beg the Question– When a statement ‘begs the question’ it assumes the truth of what it is proving. “I would say Count Lefevre is a bloodthirsty nocturnal marauder, but as he was a vampire, that’s begging the question.”
17. Enervate– This means to weaken, not to energize. As Lefevre’s secret vampire love child Maurice began draining Susan’s blood in an act of revenge, Maurice enervated Susan.
18. Fortuitous– This word means ‘unplanned’; it does not mean ‘lucky’. The scoundrel with a weak spot for damsels in distress happened upon Maurice and Susan quite fortuitously.
19. Intern– Intern means ‘imprison’, not ‘bury’. After saving Susan and returning her to Tom, the scoundrel alerted the police, who interned Maurice.
20. Ironic– Something is ironic if it contrary to what you’d expect. It’s not at all like rain on your wedding day. Although superstitious Susan believed her marriage to Tom would be doomed as it had rained on her wedding day, their marriage ironically turned out to be a glorious example of wedded bliss. Well, after a few normal marital problems.