Friday, June 24, 2011

Have you been waiting for this with baited breath?

Gosh, I hope not! The correct term is "bated" breath--that's "bated" as in restrained. Baited breath implies that you might have some worms, or bait of some other type, in your mouth. Yuck.

Oxford Online Dictionaries have published a page that can help you avoid floundering and foundering in your written work.  Pore over it to ensure you have the correct word, lest you accidentally leave your readers "week" with laughter.  They do have a couple of British spellings--the word "kerb" might look funny to anyone who hasn't tried using it in a cut-throat Scrabble game--but it's a useful list.

One pair that the list missed is marital/martial: I once made this typo in a paper about Greek drama (in my defense, the line between war and marriage was pretty thin in the play I was writing about). Luckily, my teacher thought it was hilarious.

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