Here’s a post at Writer Unboxed: More Words You’re Probably Using Wrong
Instant reaction: Oh, I am not.
Second reaction: Who do you think you are, anyway?
Of course, my THIRD reaction is: Sure, I’ll click through just to be able to roll my eyes at your list. So, if getting people to click through was the aim, good job, that’s certainly a title that will get people to do that.
Here’s the first entry on the list:
You don’t “feel badly” for someone, unless you’re trying to have a feeling for them and you just can’t swing it; you simply feel bad for them. (Probably because of their substandard grammar, I’m betting.)
Who knew that? I knew that. On the other hand, sometimes a character may say she feels badly for someone because this is a normal, common phrase in conversation. Unless every character is an English teacher or a literature professor or unusually pedantic, they are likely to say, “I feel so badly for her — what a tough situation she’s facing!” I do agree that the author ought to know that “feel badly” is incorrect (unless someone is inferior at feeling), because sometimes a character IS an English teacher, literature professor, or unusually pedantic. In that case, the character ought to say, “I feel bad for her,” except that this sounds awkward even if it’s right, so in fact they’d probably say, “I feel terrible for her,” which sounds fine and sidesteps the whole issue.
Related: “Hey, Bob, how are you?” is frequently answered with “Good, thanks,” and this is also technically incorrect. Does that ever bother any of you? I personally avoid saying Good in this context. I could say “Fine, thanks,” which is correct, but in fact I usually say “Just peachy” or “Adequate,” or some other phrase that is mildly entertaining. I mean, entertaining to me. I may be amused by odd things.
Ah, here’s one:
While we’re on the topic, “any more” referring to quantity should be two words, not one, in usages such as the last sentence. “Anymore” is only for time, despite that for some philistines these usages are supposedly interchangeable.
And of course that immediately reminds me of “all right,” which is, in the same way, TWO WORDS. TWO. Except that in this case there IS NO EXCEPTION FOR TIME OR ANYTHING ELSE. I just loathe “alright,” and I don’t care if that’s a losing battle because this is a hill I’m willing to die on.
I don’t even know why, to be fair. Why this particular error? Which is practically becoming standard usage? I don’t know, but I detest it. It makes me flinch every. single. time. I see it in print, and because this mistake is so common, that means a lot of flinching in some books.
I may never fully recover from the original publisher of Black Dog changing “all right” to “alright” throughout WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST. I’m telling you, it was traumatic.
What else? Oh, here’s this one:
Less refers to number; fewer to amount. For that matter, “number” delineates the numeric quantity of something, and “amount” its volume.
And Pete Mack pointed out to me in the comments that the first sentence there is backward! Wow, oops. I didn’t notice when I copy-and-pasted that line, which only goes to show that when you proofread a post, no matter how casually, you should probably proofread the bit you copied as well as the part you wrote yourself.
FEWER refers to number; LESS to amount. Of course it does. FEWER people are in this room now. LESS water is in that pool now. As far as I know, everyone who gets this wrong does it in the same way: by using “less” when it should be “fewer.” That’s why you may hear me murmur “fewer” under my breath when listening to a speaker at any event.
Okay, scanning through the whole thing: I do not use any of these wrong, so there. Of course, that feeling of satisfaction means the post wasn’t a waste of my time, so there’s that.
I feel that for the sake of completeness I should add: my personal struggle with my fingers typing random homonyms continues. In fact, I’m starting to make even worse mistakes, such as typing “type” when I mean “time” or whatever, so that’s ridiculous. I do catch almost all of those instantly, before the back half of the word is on the page, but I do wish whatever part of my brain is responsible for typing correct words would take this sort of thing seriously and cut it out.
You know what else has started to happen? I don’t remember this one in previous eras of my life, but I’m starting to type “has” instead of “had” a nontrivial number of times per book. Like, I don’t know, I think I’ve corrected that particular error maybe half a dozen times in Tasmakat, which I guess would mean something like twice per normal-length book. It’s impossible that this is an actual error, so I think it’s probably another varietiy of the homonym problem. If you’re proofreading for me, I hope you won’t ever see that because I hope I will have caught all those myself. I sure do wince in embarrassment when a proofreader catches something as dire as that, which sometimes does happen. Thank you to all past and future proofreaders for helping me not look totally illiterate!
Despite all the above, I don’t think I will EVER type pique instead of peek or peak, or the other errors showcased by the linked post.