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February 24, 2012

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Nina

Language Log has a great post every so often about "eggcorns." The adieu/ado confusion is one of my pet peeves, I must admit. I've found some clever ones in my students' papers, though (even though they didn't realize how clever they were). One student wrote that she came from a "close-net family." I could see the family being close together, as if they were in a net. I almost hated to tell her that her version was incorrect!

Sara Rodriguez

I was speaking with someone today about the use of French in everyday language. Perhaps the person who wrote the original sentence studied English, but not French.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Nina, thank you for all the good information. I loved learning about Language Log, "eggcorns," and the "close-net family."

The family reference is very dear. I can understand your hesitance to correct the writer.

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Sara. You may be correct.

Thanks for dropping by.

Lynn

Barbara

Adieu actually means "see you at God's" which infers that you will see the person in heaven, so you do not say "adieu" unless you plan to not see the person again on this earth. I come from Belgium, and that is how we used the word.

Terry Murphy

I don't know what the current elementary English teaching vogue is, but for a long time it was thought better to accept any attempt at words without correction. As a result there are large numbers of people who were never encouraged to identify the difference between homophones, thus the frequent confusions of here/hear, there/they're/their and so on.

By the way (copied from Wikipedia), "... homonyms are simultaneously homographs (words that share the same spelling, irrespective of their pronunciation) and homophones (words that share the same pronunciation, irrespective of their spelling)." In this case, ado/adieu are (depending on pronunciation) homophones.

Anonymous

Lynn, I loved that you mentioned the "compliment-complement" confusion.
For over 10 years, the technology company I work for used this word incorrectly in their company vision, stating that they offered "complimentary technologies."
When I started here last year, I politely informed our office manager that this was not the correct word, explaining that "complimentary technologies" really meant that we offered *free* technologies- which is certainly not the company vision! Needless to say, she quickly rushed to have the word changed on all company documents.
It surprised me that it took that many years for someone to notice it, and that the person who finally noticed it was me- a recent college graduate brand new to the business world. I guess I'm just an English nerd!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Barbara. Thank you for educating me on the true meaning of "adieu."

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Terry. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share definitions. I suspect the person who wrote "Without further adieu," pronounces "adieu" the same as "ado."

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Anonymous, thank you for telling that interesting story. Good for you!

Lynn

Amy

I used to type "ado", though, because that's how I heard it when a presenter at our school said it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

"Without further ado" is correct.

Lynn

Kathryn

I find your statement about people not reading as much anymore leading to these errors. I found myself correcting a mistake of mine as I read a book and found the phrase "for all intents and purposes." I had never seen it in writing and based on people's pronunciation I thought the phrase was "for all intensive purposes."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Kathryn. Thanks for that great example. I am glad you recognized the correct version.

Lynn

nicemandan

Obvoiusly nobody has watched The Sound of Music to get the proper pronunciation of adieu. It is not a homophone of "ado"

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thank you for reminding me of a movie I like!

Lynn

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