Today, I’ll tackle a few spelling and pronunciation errors that I come across more often than I think I should. Sometimes, we just get into bad habits, automatically repeating another person’s pronunciation or spelling without realizing that we’ve seen or heard variations on that spelling or pronunciation and should probably check it for ourselves.
I’m always surprised when I come across the misspelling alot, which I’ve seen in many an e-mail sent to me by family members. For whatever reason, I always associate this error with first- and second-grade students. Maybe it’s that my first-grade and second-grade teachers always seemed to be correcting this one. Here’s what I remember about it: A lot is just like a little (only more).
Another spelling error that I see too often, especially on the Internet, is alright. Again, going back many years, I remember my teachers saying that all right is just like all wrong (only better).
In the pronunciation department, et cetera and asterisk are my targets. I heard the host of a popular television show say asterik, and I hear educated people say eck cetera much too often. (This brings up a good question on another subject: If a lot of educated people start using substandard grammar, does that mean that we should adopt it as standard grammar?)
If you have the urge to say eck cetera, remember its abbreviation: etc., not eck. The –t in the abbreviation is for the –t in et, not the –t in cetera. It’s et c, which becomes etc. If you feel compelled to talk about the asterik (even just typing it makes me cringe), remember that the second part of the word is risk.