Comments: Lisa: Kudos on your correct usage of "amongst." Ugh.

So then, do you throw your hat in with the conservative or liberal lexicographer? The conservatives tend to think that good communication is predicated on a well-structured language with clearly defined rules and word meanings. The liberals tend to hold that language is fluid, with word meanings changing as common understandings and interpretations change. I used to side with the conservatives, but have migrated toward the liberal camp as I've come to accept the inevitability of change.

My favorite example has to be "snuk," used as a past-tense of "sneak." Technically, if you previously skulked about, you "sneaked" around. "Snuk" simply doesn't exist. But the reality is that if I tell you I snuk a new word into the English language, you know what I mean -- because usage/understanding have combined to create a new word (and one that was very likely created out of ignorance).

Posted by Dave at March 10, 2008 10:31 AM

Getting back to "among," a one of my favorite mistakes is to confuse "between" and "among." Between is meant to be used when two (and only two) parties are involved, because tween/twain/two indicate a pair (and not a group). Hence, "the war between the States" should be "the war among the States," or "the war between the North and South."

But good luck trying to get that change to happen . . . :)

I also enjoy the phrase "steep learning curve," which is often used to describe something that is difficult to learn. In time-plot graphs, time is usually plotted on the X (horizontal) axis, while the amount is usually plotted on the Y (vertical) axis. So if a learning curve appears "steep," the amount you learn is rising very quickly when compared to time -- meaning you learn a great deal of information in a short period of time, which indicates that the lessons are easy to learn.

Of course, the common understanding of the phrase is that a "steep learning curve" means something is difficult to understand or master -- regardless of how the phrase probably ought to be used.

Posted by Dave at March 10, 2008 10:46 AM

This reminds me of the action-packed thriller A Stranger Among Us starring Melanie Griffith. And I think now that it should have been A Stranger Amongst Us. I feel just terrible bringing this film up sorry.

Posted by Jeremy at March 10, 2008 10:52 AM

Remember how Mom used to buy Kudos bars sometimes? And how they were tasty? Mmm Kudos. I would enjoy being amongst many Kudos.

Posted by sarah at March 17, 2008 12:31 PM