I bet you thought I was dead!

In my wanders through the many pages of the Internets, I came across several things that really boggled my mind, now I like to consider myself reasonably well read and that I have a pretty good grasp on the English language, and only want to throttle it occasionally.

I do understand that for some people English is a bit hard to grasp hold of and that it is filled with words that look alike, but have vastly different meanings, for the average person I can understand making a mistake, but when I come across certain words on a professional business site, as well as within the confines of a published authoritative piece, I start to wonder.

The three words that have garnered my attention for the most amazing misuse within recent  memory are COMMENSURATE, COMMISERATE and COMMEMORATE.

Commensurate means:

  1. having the same measure; of equal extent or duration.
  2. corresponding in amount, magnitude, or degree: Your paycheck should be commensurate with the amount of time worked.
  3. proportionate; adequate.
  4. having a common measure; commensurable.

Commiserate means:

  1. to feel or express sorrow or sympathy for; empathize with; pity.

Commemorate means:

  1. to serve as a memorial or reminder of
  2. to honor the memory of by some observance
  3. to make honorable mention of.

So when I saw a business offering a sale for the ANZAC day long weekend holiday with the banner:-

“To commiserate the ANZAC long weekend, all items 20% off”.
I nearly fell out of my chair, that word, it does not mean what you think it means.

I started to wonder if this was just an isolated incident, but Google got me many hundreds if not thousands of cases where people have used these three words interchangeably, I saw lots of questions posed along the lines of :

“Is your pay commemorate with your experience?”

and even:

We gathered to commensurate the occasion with a few drinks and a song or two

If anyone feels like commiserating with me over the commensurate angst I felt upon reading all those  errors, then we could commemorate the occasion with a wild HUZZAH or two.

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