Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 43)

Some more commonly misused words for you:

Couple vs. several

I’m constantly amazed when someone says he wants to make a couple of points and then proceeds to enumerate three or four. Remember, just as it takes two to tango, it takes two to make a couple. More than that is a trio, a quartet, a handful, several, a half-dozen, numerous, etc.

That having been said/That being said/That said

Wrong: That having been said, it’s time to act.
Right: Therefore, it’s time to act.

The phrase “that having been said” and its shorter versions, are empty phrases that add nothing to a sentence. Sometimes they’re used as a continuation of the previous sentence (as in the example above), and sometimes they’re used to introduce an opposing argument. (“That being said, I think we need a new approach.”) In fact, this phrase has been so overused as to approach cliché status. Why not use a shorter, clearer alternative, such as “Therefore, it’s time to act.” or “However, I think we need a new approach.”?

More next time.


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