It’s not even a homophone, dude.

I decided to register at for some unknown reason, and I started perusing the articles. A little bit of politics, a couple of book reviews, an article about the lota (it’s an Islamic ritual instrument I’ll refer to as a portable bidet), and then . . .

I found it. The error that would give me reason to post here today. I wasn’t overly happy to find it, I’ll be honest. I was almost hoping I’d fail in my search. Ah, Salon, you didn’t let me down. At least this one wasn’t a headline.

If the word misused were really a homophone for the word the writer intended, I’d be happier, I think. As it is, the evil spellchecker wouldn’t have stopped to even contemplate the possibility of the word being incorrect. It’s spelled just fine. It’s just the wrong freakin’ word.

“This is the part–the explanation–where I’m supposed to demure and look a bit embarrassed, as I downplay it, and pretend that it’s really not even worth talking about.”

No. You’re not supposed to “demure.” You’re supposed to demur. 

My kingdom for a copy editor on the staff at!

Mmm–tasty child labor!

Our first entry in the “Prepositional weirdness” category (also known as “It’s only a preposition; how important can it be?”) comes from Thanks go out again to Scott Douglas for sending this.

Tasty child labor!

How important can a preposition be? Well–it can make the difference between a headline no one would look askance at for grammatical reasons, like “Chocolate produced by child labor, says new report,” and one like Salon’s, which stopped our contributor and at least me for a long moment. “Chocolate produced from child labor”? I suppose if I were to think about it long enough I might be able to come up with a reason for using “from” instead of “by” that didn’t have anything to do with a) sheer laziness or b) poor usage, period.

I don’t feel like thinking that long, though.