Pet peeves: misspelled words “excedera” ??

March 29, 2007

Rufus Wainwright sings that he wishes that the New York Times would publish “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL” on its front page (THAT will never happen). I wish that newspapers would help literacy by correcting commonly mispronounced and misspelled words. So I’m starting my own campaign, and today we’ll start with

et cetera

My colleague Tom, and thousands of others insist on saying something like “excedera” instead of et cetera.


It’s Latin, and no you don’t have to know Latin to say this phrase. I can only think that baby boomers may be at fault. At the same time the aspirin product called “Excederin” came out in the early 6os, boomers were expanding their vocabulary and fused the two.

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October 6, 2009 at 1:46 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

cath March 30, 2007 at 12:07 am

Annoying indeed, Roger, and somewhat akin to people asking for “expresso” coffee instead of espresso.

A commonly mispronounced word in my part of North London is “ask”! Half the children in my school “arks” questions instead – very irritating!

Keep up the campaign!

Roger Bourland March 30, 2007 at 6:59 am

Cath! You took my next peeve right out of my mouth! “Expresso” — sheesh. I also have trouble with young composers with the same problem. An Italian word used commmonly in music scores is “espressivo” which, yes, gets turned into “expressivo.”

Black vernacular in America embraces “aks” as “I wanna aks you a question” instead of “ask.” So I presume that “arks” is your version of that.

Shall we start on the death of the adverb next?

Brad Wood March 30, 2007 at 9:16 am

Yow—“Excedra”! I’m getting a headache already. Maybe an espresso would help.

Two of my favorites to hate: Flaccid pronouced flass-id, and mauve pronounced mahve. I’ve gotten arguments out of people on those, and they don’t usually want to be shown a dictionary entry.

Others: quixotic pronounced kee-ho-tick, and harbinger pronounced har-bing-ur.

Damn thing of it is, if enough people keep it up the lexicographers have to let the “dynamic” language change and duly note the variants. I say Harumph 😉

Note added in proof: I see by my Shorter Oxford 5th Ed. that the flaccid variant is already listed as a second pronunciation. So it goes.

CBJ Smith June 16, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Funny you should mention misspellings—I have never heard of “Excederin” but “Excedrin” (one letter and one syllable fewer) is a popular headache remedy. I had just finished reading one of your previous entries (I don’t remember which one, but it had a gay theme, if you need to track it down and correct it) where you substituted “effected” for “affected”, which is one of MY pet peeves, and I almost registered just to point it out to you, as I think misspellings weakens your message. Anyway, having you blog about it pushed me over the edge, and now I am registered and you now will be getting regular complaints from me about language and spelling.

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