The Bible

An alphabetical collection of pet peeves and nit-pickery. Because we humor my pedantic nature.

Aesthetic vs. Esthetic: While technically (" ") both correct - the latter is cited as an American spelling, the former as European - the former is preferred for its fidelity to the subtleties of the word's pronunciation.

Ambivalence: This does not, even a little bit, mean that you don't care. It means that you're torn: i.e. that you care very much, you just don't know what your ideal outcome is. If you don't care, the word you're probably looking for is "meh".

Epigraph vs. Epitaph vs. Epigram: Epigraph is the phrase or quotation occasionally found at the beginning of writing, signalling either a true master or a dilettante 's complete lack of inspiration/inability to overcome blank page paralysis. Epitaphs are on graves - the word is derived from the Greek for "funeral oration". And an epigram is a brief, memorable, often high-freaking-larious witticism.

i.e. vs e.g.: The first (i.e.) is an abbreviation of id est ("that is") and is correctly used to rephrase something potentially confusing or unclear, or to supply a complete list of relevant items. The operative word here being "complete". E.g., on the other hand, is an abbreviation of exempli gratia ("for example") and signals the inclusion of an incomplete list which may or may not further clarify the sentence.

Toasting: While people have tried to write this a number of different ways (considering the homonyms, I suppose that's not the worst thing in the world), if you think about it "hear here" or "here here" are the two most appropriate interpretations, depending on what you'd like to emphasize. Never, however, should you attempt "hear hear" or "here hear" - both of which I've run into in the last week. Gee golly willikers, you guys.

Try and vs Try to: Think about this. Scores of perfectly respectable, and even otherwise excellent writers don't seem to give it any thought at all, but that doesn't mean they should get away with it. What's the difference between "try and catch me" and "try to catch me"? The first is common in colloquial speech but horribly misconstrues the relationship between the two verbs. The second is less commonly found in speech (and, sadly, writing) but much more accurately conveys the meaning. Let's all stick to accuracy, for pete's sake, and see if we can't shift the balance.
      There are a few instances when the former does actually make more sense, such as "try and fail", but these should be clear to anyone who gives the matter some thought.