Miss Spelling and Tricky Words

Today is Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what we can find. As a matter of fact, I turned a corner and ran into my favorite vocabulary teacher, Miss Spelling. I convinced her to share another lesson with us regarding words that are commonly misspelled. Welcome back, Miss Spelling!

school-teacher-makeoverThanks for the invitation. Since I was last here, I’ve been researching some icky, sticky, tricky words. You know, those words that somehow stick in language as being spelled one way when in fact they are spelled a different way. What do I mean? I shall point a few examples today and help everyone learn the correct spellings.

Chomping champing at the bit. “Chomping at the bit” is not literally wrong because you can find reputable sources defending its usage. However, the original saying, and thus preferred spelling, is “champing at the bit.” Champing is biting or chewing noisily, so this phrase refers to a horse biting on the bit in its mouth, eager to go. If you are in conversation, chomping is probably fine. However, if you are writing this phrase into an essay or novel, go with champing.

Peaks piques interest. I have mentioned this word confusion before. However, it bears repeating because it is one of those mistakes that has been particularly sticky in common usage. Your interest may peak at some point–meaning it reaches its climax. But what one usually means with this phrase is that your interest has piqued–pique meaning to excite or to arouse.

For all intensive purposes intents and purposes. When said quickly, “intents and purposes” may sound much like “intensive purposes.” Surely, this was the impetus for the mix-up. However, the meaning of this phrase is for any and all reasons–described as “intents and purposes.” What exactly would an intensive purpose be anyway?

Heighth height. One might assume that if it’s length and width, then surely it must be heighth. No, indeed. There is no “h” in height. Toss out that extra letter, and punctuate that final “t.” Then you’ll have the correct word: “height.”

With baited bated breath. Unless you have placed a fishing lure on your oxygen supply, your breath is not baited. The word bate is not commonly used except with this idiom. Thus, many people assume that it is the more common word, bait. However, to bate means to restrain; thus, the phrase “with bated breath.”

That’s it today! A short class, and you all did beautifully!

Thanks, Miss Spelling! We’ll be sure to keep those icky, sticky, tricky words in mind.

Have you had trouble with these words or phrases? What words do have difficulty remembering how to spell?

Challenges and Changes with the New Year

New YearA New Year is a perfect time to reevaluate where you are and where you want to be. Although really, I’ve been analyzing how I use my time and what I want to accomplish for several months. Sometime in the fall, I concluded that a few changes were warranted.

Here they are.

Blog. I love blogging. I didn’t know if I would, but it’s been a fabulous activity for me to hone my writing and, more importantly, to connect with, inform, and entertain readers. For quite a while, I’ve blogged three times a week–Sunday ROW80 updates, Amazing Words Wednesdays, and Deep-Fried Fridays. I will be taking that down to twice a week.

My Wednesday posts about the labyrinth of language (aka A-maze-ing Words Wednesday) will continue, and my Sunday posts will be devoted to sharing whatever I’ve learned and want to share. In keeping with the labyrinth theme, these will be Scarlet Thread Sundays. This is my last Deep-Fried Friday post.

copy editingCopy Editing. I’m a rare individual who enjoys–nay, delights!–in proofreading for people. It’s not that I’m some sick individual who wants to red pen all over perfectly good pages. To me, line editing, copy editing, proofreading are putting the polish on a finished product–making it shine. I revel in knowing that the read will be easier and flow better with proper word choice, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. The story itself will come through and not be hindered by avoidable errors.

Consequently, my copy editing services are now for hire. If you are interested, click on the Copy Editing tab on the menu above for more information.

ROW80LogocopyROW80. I will once again be participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days. I still love this challenge from Kait Nolan for its focus, flexibility, accountability, and encouragement. Indeed, I have been a sponsor for several rounds now.

Although I will be continuing my own ROW80 challenge, I am stepping away from sponsorship this time. If you are interested in being a cheerleader for this worthy writers’ experience, head over to the ROW80 website and see about signing up as a future sponsor.

Self-publishing. This year I will be pursuing the traditional publishing route for my YA contemporary novel, Sharing Hunter. However, I plan to self-publish my first mystery, Grace & Fire, in 2013.

There are two sequels already plotted for this mystery trilogy, and it is my desire to write them as well and release all three in 2013 if I can. I have previously stated that, of all the routes now open to writers, the one of hybrid author–both self and traditionally published–appeals to me most.

What changes do you expect to make in 2013? How do you wish to redirect your focus? What are your most important goals for the new year?