8/16/2010

Mr. Rewrite will bear any burden to improve usage

For the record, Mr. Rewrite's house is built of the finest glass. But in this case he can't resist throwing stones the size of Buicks. Barely an hour after a post poking fun at a rare usage error in the New Yorker (Mr. Rewrite dreams of having prose so clean that an error makes news), super-snarky Gawker.com bared its own usage challenges in the following tweet:


That tweet led to this headline:


Bear/bare is a classic homophone problem, and one that Gawker corrected in short order. But it's a reminder that words sounding alike frequently get writers in trouble. Homophone confusion can be very embarrassing, as anyone who's ever written about a grizzly crime will confirm.

In this case, of course, Gawker meant to challenge the president to bare his "beautiful chest." Mr. Rewrite supposes Barack Obama could actually bear, as in carry, his chest. But that would be physically challenging, to say the least.

Bear with Mr. Rewrite while he checks for media mistakes with bear/bare ...

Bare the burden gets a few hits on Google News. Bare with me gets a few more.

Enough. This is more than Mr. Rewrite can bear at this hour. Time for bed.

1 comment:

Ray Ward said...

Speaking of bears and weird headlines, check out this post on Language Log:
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2557