( Are you sure you don’t mean the ground floor? )
Just look at those words! Aren't they wonderful? And as readers who consume a wide variety of literature, we recognize them, don't we? Of course we do!
A more difficult question is "Do we know exactly what they mean?" For my part, I'm not ashamed to say "not exactly, no."
These sorts of words are what author Seth Stevenson calls "bubble vocabulary." In his 2014 Slate article Shibboleth. Casuistry. Recondite., he takes a look at these words at the very edges of our vocabularies and suggests some strategies for attempting to employ them.( Wrestling with bubbles … )
( I shudder to think of closing the shutters. )
( weary vs. wary vs. worry )
( Let’s look at these two words with some help from the Avengers. )
( Allies and alleys – not the same thing )
My first thought on reading this is that the "real" should actually be "really", but that's probably just me being pendantic.
But this comic brings home the point of proper comma usage, too. If I was that bully, I'd probably punch the well-digger in the nose for calling me "Stupid."
So how would you rewrite this comic to be more grammatically correct?
When I showed this comic to the other fandom grammarians they loved it. Have you seen something similar? Does the person who is the first to criticize someone wearing white after Labor Day behave in the same way as the person who goes ballistic at the inappropriate usage of an apostrophe? Then perhaps you're seeing the same correlation that Randall Munroe of XKCD does.
( Blast from the past: it's/its and your/you're )
( There are a lot of lots to allot. )
( Blast from the past: their/there/they're and to/too/two )
“What are the differences between ‘sit,’ ‘sat,’ and ‘set?’”
An excellent question as both writers and readers tend to mix up these three—particularly “sit” and “set”—quite a bit. Lara and the rest of the characters of Tomb Raider will help us discover the answer.
( And the answer is just under this cut: )
While I have loved XKCD for years, and I knew that this was a comic that I had to post here, I'm a little on the fence about Munroe's message in this particular instance. Perhaps not quite as much as Michael LeSauvage from Geek Dad, but I think along similar lines. What do you think about correcting other people's language?