Thursday, May 12, 2005

Meltdown

A short, sharp note to those of you who think that incase means in case:

IT DOESN'T.

Incase is a transitive verb meaning To inclose in a case; to inclose; to cover or surround with something solid.

In case, on the other hand, means if there happens to be a need. Whether you call it an adverb, an idiom or a prepositional phrase depends on what brand of grammar you're using to classify it, but it is NOT a transitive verb and you cannot replace it with a transitive verb. If you do, you stop making sense.

When you wrote, Just incase you were worried..., you stopped making sense with the second word you typed. ARE YOU TRYING TO SET A NEW RECORD?

I suspect the people who write incase for in case are the same people who write alot.

JUST STOP IT, ALL RIGHT?

Oh, and for those of you who take this idiocy a step further and write encase when you mean in case, I don't even want to talk to you. Go and stand in the corner.

And don't just stand there. REPENT.

13 comments:

Cheryl said...

Err, as far as I can make out, and I may be wrong, enclose and inclose are synonyms, but encase is a valid word and incase isn't. So, in case you want to incase me for commenting, you'll have to do it with an e.
Not that I pay much attention to the rules, unless theres a fascinating blog firing my enthusiasm, as is the case.
Case closed?
Sorry!

Badaunt said...

I also thought that incase wasn't a word, but my spell checker disagreed so I looked it up. Apparently it's like enclose/inclose - they're both valid spellings. I suspect the 'in' forms (of both) are a bit old, though.

I don't pay all that much attention myself, usually, but as it happens I came home last night and there were two bills in the mailbox. That was bad enough, but there was a large slug attached to one of them and I didn't see it in the dark. I put my finger on it. Firmly.

I know it isn't logical, but writing a diatribe against bad spellers made me feel better about the whole incident.

Shawn said...

Surfed in through Blog Explosion and had to laugh at this post. While my typing skills are not the best, being that I work in a college writing center, I can appreciate the humor in this post.

Rose said...

I'm of your ilk. These things bug me. You should have heard me groaning with despair yesterday when I heard someone on National Radio talking about the antidote someone had just recounted. And I don't think he was talking medication.

She Weevil said...

... and inquiry and enquiry. I am standing in the corner alot (LOL)these days as I appear to have a compulsion to contract a bit in a similar vein.

She Weevil said...

I do know better and I am suitably repentent. No-one can see my hair shirt but it is there.

Lippy said...

And let's not forget the stunning - nay, staggering - misuse of "your" and "you're"! Gah!

melinama said...

When I used to date via the personals online, this kind of mistake in a guy's email was an automatic deal-killer, though I tried to conceal that because it seemed petty.

Paula said...

That's so funny, Melinama! I'm happy I married a good speller.

Badaunt, is the that/which thing over now? Lawyers use "which" all the time when, in the old days, you would have crossed it out and put "that." But I figure they know what they're doing...

Kim said...

could you please expand this list a little to include the proper usage of
Their
They're
and
There?

ugh.

Faerunner said...

While we're at it, we musn't forget to, too and two, and then and than, and accept and except, and affect and effect, and who can ignore its and it's, lets and let's, and other assorted punctuation errors? I think that about covers the basic usage errors one would find in the vocabulary of the average English speaker.

I feel your frustration. If I could pull out a red pen and mark every person I caught making errors, I'd run out of ink before 10am, and I'd probably have a few marks myself.

Ms Mac said...

It's "I should have", not "I should of". That is currently driving me insane.

In Australia, particularly the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, using brought as the past tense of buy is extremely common. AS common as it is annoying. I once tried to tell my friend how much it annoyed me and asked her, "if brought is the past tense of buy what is the past tense of bring?"

"Brung of course!"

Apologies for any mistakes in grammar or spelling from my high horse!

Badaunt said...

Rose: I LOVE the antidote/anecdote mistake. It always brings such interesting images with it. What is a 'funny antidote,' do you think? One that makes you laugh or one that makes you not laugh?

SheWeevil: I'm not too clear on the difference between inquiry and enquiry myself. I imagine inquiry is more like an investigation and enquiry is a question, but that's just my impression. I must confess I've never looked it up. You'll notice that I've never used either word in my blog.

Lippy: The you're/your thing is getting worse, don't you think? I'm sure I never used to see it so often.

Melinama: That would put me off, too. I don't think it's petty at ALL.

Of course The Man can't spell to save himself, but I forgive him because English is not his language, I'm practically illiterate in Japanese, and in any case his guesses at spelling make me laugh and give me something (else) to tease him about.

Paula: The this/which thing is a nightmare. Sometimes it's OK to use either. Other times it's necessary to make the distinction between a restrictive and non-restrictive clause. I think the rules used to be stricter.

But the fuzzy area in the middle makes it easy to make mistakes, and since most of the time even if there's a mistake it doesn't bother the reader either (who also doesn't know) then the meaning isn't affected. I think it's pretty well a lost cause, really, except for those few cases where it's really necessary for meaning.

Michael Quinion wrote a good essay about the this/which problem here.

Kim and Faerunner: DON'T GET ME STARTED!

Ms Mac: My brother does the should of/should have one in his emails to me. This makes me want to return to NZ, just so I can stand over him as he types and rap his knuckles whenever he does it. I would like to think he's doing it to wind me up, but unfortunately I don't think he's that subtle.

As for the brought/bring one, I never do that one in writing but I'm ashamed to say that I sometimes do it when I'm speaking. It stops me in my tracks and makes me want to slap myself. I have no IDEA why I make this mistake.