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.
- having the same measure; of equal extent or duration.
- corresponding in amount, magnitude, or degree: Your paycheck should be commensurate with the amount of time worked.
- proportionate; adequate.
- having a common measure; commensurable.
- to feel or express sorrow or sympathy for; empathize with; pity.
- to serve as a memorial or reminder of
- to honor the memory of by some observance
- 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?”
“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.