Drivel Style Manual

From my lofty perch here atop Drivel HQ I pronounce these spelling and grammar rules inviolate, and demand that all readers follow them to the letter. Don’t make me hold my breath until you do.

acronym

The similarities and differences between an acronym and an initialization are much the same as those between a whale and an elephant. Both are mammals, and really huge, but that’s about as far as the similarities go.

An acronym is a contraction or abbreviation that is always pronounced as a word. NASA, scuba, and fubar are acronyms.

An initialization is an abbreviation of a title or phrase using only the first letter of each word. FBI, ATM and GPS are all initializations which are also sometimes called abbreviations, but they’re not acronyms. Saying they are is like calling a whale an elephant.

agree vs. disagree

You may agree with someone, and you may disagree. If you “agree to disagree” with someone, then you are disagreeing, and you should have the fortitude to say so. Saying you “agree to disagree” doesn’t make you sound agreeable, it makes you sound as if you don’t have any convictions at all.

Use this phrase only when quoting someone. If it doesn’t appear in quotation marks and isn’t attributed to someone, you will be asked to arbitrate an agreement that disagrees with the agreed outcome.

focus on

Images are “out of focus,” not “focus out of,” so why would you ever “focus in on?”

home in

Do you “go home,” or do you “go hone?” That’s where the phrase “home in” comes from. Pilots returning to base headed for a radio beacon they called “home.” Likewise, when you are heading toward a conclusion or otherwise finding the object of your search, you are homing in.

memento

A souvenir that reminds you of a place or time is a memento. “Momento” is alphabetic garbage hastily scribbled by someone too lazy to take notice of the squiggly red line of their spell-checker.
To remind you of the correct spelling, think of remember. To remind you of the incorrect spelling, think of Joan Crawford, the mom from hell whose ghost will be summoned to beat you with a fistful of wire coat hangers for using the made-up word momento.

reason

Although “reason why” has a long history of accepted use in English, it’s difficult for the Drivelers de Luxe to see the reason for it. The word “reason” is deemed strong enough to stand on its own without “why” dangling off its nether regions, and the convoluted repetition of “reason why is because” is so frowned upon that the frown resembles rictus.

unique

“Unique” means one of a kind. It is superlative. There is no way in heaven or on earth, Horatio, for anything to be “more unique” or “very unique.”

Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 8:23 pm CDT
Modify:
No Comments »