Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2013 Contents A32
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt November 10, 2013
Malapropisms can be very amusing
to listeners, though possibly
embarrassing to those who say them
and/or learn afterwards of their mistake.
The word Malaprop means Mal (not)
aprop---not appropriate in that sentence.
It is based on the name of a character
in the play, The Rivals by Richard Sheri-
dan, in which Mrs Malaprop, in a most
laughable way, with haughty dignity,
mispronounces her words to the delight
of the audience who recognise the word
she intends to say. A character in the
British comedy Allo, Allo uses mala-
propisms eg when he enters the scene
saying, "Good mooning," to the delight
of the audience.
The following are words some of which
are close in one sense (pronunciation)
but distant in meaning, and can easily
discredit a speaker and amuse the listener.
Speakers should therefore avoid using
malapropisms, if they want to be taken
Alternate---every other, eg Monday,
Wednesday, Friday are alternate days.
Alternative---a choice: I have no alter-
native but to complete this exercise.
Bring towards/take away from. Instead
of saying that you will bring pastelles
from Trinidad up to New York; you
should say that you will take them there.
It is, by the way, redundant to say: "Bring
that and come."
Comprises: It is never correct to say
or write is comprised of. One may say
is composed of or consists of, but the
word comprises means includes, so one
should say: This groups comprises (pre-
sent tense) or comprised (past tense) 20
Damage---impair a thing; damages: a
strictly legal term refers to compensation
for loss or injury. Incorrect: The car was
found with many damages after the acci-
dent. Correct: The court granted damages
to the defendant for the loss he had suf-
Partake/participate: partake refers
strictly to sharing a meal or part of a
meal or drink; participate involves sharing
or taking part in an activity with oth-
Imminent---about to happen; emi-
nent---famous, well known. There is no
such thing as a storm that is eminent.
By the way, a man cannot have
prostrate problems; he may have
prostate problems and lie prostrate
on the floor. Note the major differ-
ence that letter (r) makes in spelling
and pronunciation here.
A speaker or a writer can imply
(suggest); a listener or a reader infers
(draws conclusions) from that which
is said or written. Don t say: I don t
mean to infer that you are careless.
What one should say is: I don t
mean to imply that you are careless.
Let the listener infer that from what
you have said.
incredulous---a person finds it
hard to believe what he has seen or
heard. Incredible---the news itself
is unbelievable to hearers. I heard
someone say when he heard in Lon-
don of the 1990 insurrection in
Trinidad that it was incredulous
news. No, he was incredulous. The
news was incredible.
Shock/surprise: Shock is unpleas-
ant; surprise is pleasant. You would
not say: I was surprised to hear of
your mother s death. Nor would
you say: I was shocked to learn that
he had won his race, earning a gold
medal---nor do we ever have a birth-
day shock party!
To reach means to stretch, extend
and try to touch or grasp, it is there-
fore inappropriate to say: Call me
when you reach home. Call me
when you arrive or get home is more
acceptable, especially when in "for-
eign" where "reach" as we use it
would be misunderstood.
At least "reach" is a word, but
there are others that are not words
at all, so use the correct version
The diplomatic The diplo
cor ; It s
it s a joke
With regards to With regard
Any more? I m collecting them.
They can be fun, as long as you
know better. I heard a new one on
TV last night: Someone said a
close male relative was too pro-
vokeable (meaning provoking).
And I swear this is the best yet:
instead of referring to our system
of government as First past the
post, an excited radio caller referred
to it as: First post the past. A slip
of the tongue, no doubt.
WASA employee Mahadeo Brown works feverishly to complete repairs on a 9''
main water line yesterday, after high water pressure caused it to rupture at the
corner of Abercrombie Street and St Joseph Main Road. The incident caused a
massive traffic pile up. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Links Archive November 9th 2013 November 11th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page