Thursday, October 23, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 65)

Here are some more words to ponder:

Set up vs. Setup

Wrong: You can setup the stereo system over there.

Right: You can set up the stereo system over there.

Right: That’s a nice stereo setup you have.

In this context, set up is a verb phrase that describes the action of assembling something or making it ready for use. This particular use of setup is as a noun that refers to the equipment or items necessary for a particular activity or period, or the way things are arranged.

Que or Cue vs. Queue

Wrong: Cue up at the ticket office.

Right: Queue up at the ticket office.

To queue up is to get in line or line up. The spelling isn’t intuitive (another word borrowed from the French) and often gets mangled as cue or que. A cue is a hint, guiding suggestion, or prompt (among other meanings), as in “That was his cue to enter.” or “Cue the music.” Que is simply a misspelling of queue (or an obsolete term for a half-farthing coin). So take a cue and get in queue.

I'll have more words for you shortly.


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