Huffpost Books
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Rob Reinalda Headshot

Are You Guilty of Using These Malapropisms?

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

In their spoken and written expressions, many people use, misuse, and abuse words in the most extraordinary ways.

To set things straight -- and with a nod to Mrs. Malaprop (go on, Google it) -- I offer the following glossary, with which all writers, editors, and other communicators should become familiar.

Linguistic: A type of pasta. I'll have the linguistic with white clam sauce, please.

Grammar: Grampa's wife.

Quotation: A minimum for a given period. I need five more to make my quotation for the month.

Verbiage: Foliage that's still green.

Semicolon: What's left after surgery on the lower gastrointestinal tract.

Comma: What you're in if the above surgery doesn't go so good.

Period: Past tense of look. He period through the window.

Nominative: A candidate for political office.

Genetive: The first book of the Bible.

Predicate: Expecting a baby. My cousin Gladys is six months predicate.

Adverb: Very bad. She shot a 3 under par despite adverb weather conditions.

Conjunction: Pink-eye.

Communicator: Someone who gives you conjunction.

Pronoun: A noun that gets paid.

Phrase: A stage of life. He's just going through that awkward phrase.

Compendium: The 47th element on the Periodic Table.

Past perfect: Threw for a touchdown.

Dangling participle: Please, this is a family website.

Subjunctive: Tinged by personal opinion. Don't evaluate this project so subjunctively.

Preposition: A romantic suggestion. Felicia was appalled by Horatio's lewd preposition.

Apostrophe: A disaster.

Mnemonic: Something that helps you remember Satan's name at a networking event.

Subordinate clause: An elf.

Asterisk: In peril (of): Asterisk of sounding like a know-it-all, let me explain the Pythagorean theorem.

Parenthesis: A hare-brained notion your mom or dad came up with.

Hyphens: A Russian-born violinist.

Imperative: A drink before dinner.

A version of this article originally appeared on www.Ragan.com.