It might not be a big deal to most people, but you ain’t most people, ai’ you?

Lina Lamont: "People"? I ain't "people." I am a - "a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament."

Lina Lamont: “People”? I ain’t “people.” I am a – “a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament.” (photo and quote courtesy of IMDB)

When I’m reading a scholarly piece of writing, and run across the word purposefully, I pause. It’s probably inadvertent because if the writer had used the correct word, I’d have breezed on by.

Immediately on the heels of the pause, I usually cringe because the author used the wrong word. Purposefully and purposely are purposely two different words with two different meanings. Because of ignorance, we’ve allowed purposefully to piggyback on purposely‘s meaning—which throws our language out of balance. The result is weak, muddy writing that casts aspersions on the authority of the author. If they don’t even know the difference between purposely and purposefully, how can I believe everything else they say? Read More →