KingMidget's Ramblings

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I’m Going to Say This Only Once

Lightening = the process of making something lighter.  (Interestingly enough, it is also the descent of the uterus into the pelvis during the late stages of pregnancy.)

Lightning = that scary stuff that is followed by thunder or alternatively something that happens as quickly as lightning


So … something does not happen with lightening speed.  It happens with lightning speed.  Thunder does not follow a volley of lightening.  It follows a crash of lightning in the sky.

Why am I saying this?  I’ve seen people use lightening for lightning way too many times in manuscripts recently and now I just read “lightening speed” in an article on Slate where “lightning” was the appropriate choice.  I’ve never seen this before.  When did these two words get so confusing?


9 responses to “I’m Going to Say This Only Once

  1. Charles Yallowitz October 20, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I’m going to guess when autocorrect became a thing. Since people have a program to fix their mistakes (or make them), there’s not much awareness when they’re writing.

  2. sknicholls October 20, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I believe it is a phonetically complex thing. people spell words like they pronounce them…even if incorrectly. Then spell checks don’t catch it. I have done it myself.

  3. Pamela Beckford October 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Just one more of my wrong word pet peeves

  4. Carrie Rubin October 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

    You already saw from Twitter that I recently discovered the difference between ‘hone’ and ‘home in,’ and now that I know it, I’m seeing ‘hone in’ used incorrectly all the time. Funny how much we notice things once we’re aware of them.

  5. Gibber October 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Can you repeat that? 😉

  6. JunkChuck October 26, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Maybe Sknicholls is on to something with the phonetics. When I was a kid I wrote “for all intensive purposes” for years and no teacher corrected me. I never really gave it a thought–just assumed it was a strange idiom. Like my friend who used to sing Bob Marley, “I shot Sherry, but i did not shoot her da-a-addy.” On the other hand, maybe it’s just a typo. Or maybe some people are just idiots. It’s a schmorgas board of possibilities. Oh, I mean smorgasbord.

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