Monday, September 15, 2008

hey, kids! it's the usage nazi!

Dear The Internet,

Discreet and discrete are two different words. They mean two different things. Please stop using them interchangeably, especially in personal ads. "Seeking clean, discrete kinky person, no fatties." Doesn't make any sense. Discrete means, "constituting a separate entity : individually distinct."  

Maybe it's your really deep way of saying you want to be with somebody who can be their own person, who doesn't need to be with someone to feel like themselves. But I don't think so. I think the word you want is discreet, which means, "having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech : prudent ; especially : capable of preserving prudent silence." "You told my wife we're fucking?! Are you insane? You agreed to be discreet." "No, I agreed to be discrete. And I wanted to tell her. That's just how I roll."

Considering how many other rules of grammar and usage (and spelling, and punctuation) I just ignore, this post might seem a little silly. Especially seeing that I (surprisingly) came down on the side of the them/they solution to the he-or-she/his-or-hers controversy. (That's right, there's trouble over it in the grammar world, and I'm playing fast and loose on the wrong side of town.) But if you're thinking that, you're probably the kind of person who misuses their and they're or hear and here. And jerks off to pictures of Ryan Seacrest holding a puppy. With your mom in the room.

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