8/24/2010

Exercise caution if tempted to write 'wreckless'

Mr. Rewrite is enjoying The Accidents of Style, Charles Harrington Elster's lively tour through common usage errors. Making the tour even more interesting: This is Mr. Rewrite's first Kindle book.

It's a little disconcerting not hearing the crinkle of pages or feeling the power of knowing that trees perished for one's benefit. Plus Mr. Rewrite can't recall having to make sure a book was charged.

That said, Mr. Rewrite feels ever so hip.

Elster's first stop, frequent mistakes with everyday vs. every day, warmed Mr. Rewrite's heart, as this is a longtime pet peeve. The second stop, wreckless vs. reckless, surprised yours truly. Surely the general public knows that reckless, not wreckless, means acting with a lack of caution, such as not owning a dictionary. Wreckless doesn't even show up in Mr. Rewrite's dictionary, though a bureaucrat might use it to mean one who's never been in a wreck.

But Mr. Rewrite found several dozen botched references to wreckless on Google News, some by news organizations that employ editors.

Perhaps those responsible are being reckless by not consulting the dictionary.

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