Wrong Word Usage – Part 3

Today is the third in a series of lessons on correct word usage. I’ll post one lesson a week. The words we’re going to look at today are: duck tape/duct tape, dew/do/doo/due, drug/dragged, duel/dual, and doubt that/doubt whether/doubt it. Do you know how to correctly use these words? Let’s see…

Duck Tape/Duct Tape: I’ve often wondered why some people use the term “duck tape” when describing “duct tape” and now I know why. During World War II, Johnson & Johnson developed a green adhesive tape to waterproof ammunition cases called “duck tape.” A similar tape, only silver, called “duct tape” was often used when connecting ventilation and other ducts in buildings and is now sold in stores for multiple uses. However, the correct term is “duct tape.”

Dew/Do/Doo/Due: “Dew” is moisture on the grass in the morning. “Doo” on the grass means a dog left you a present. However, the most common confusion with all the “dos” is when people use “do” for “due” (owing) in expressions like “credit is due,” “due to circumstances beyond our control,” and “the bill is due.” To make matters more complicated, “do”, normally a verb, can be a noun meaning “party,” “gig,” “hairstyle,” and used in the phrase “dos and don’ts.” Some people chose to add an apostrophe in that last phrase, but it means having two apostrophes awkwardly close together “don’t’s,” so I don’t recommend this.

Drug/Dragged: “Dragged” is the past tense of “drag.”

Duel/Dual: “Duel” is a dispute or fight. “Dual” means two things that are together, or double as in “dual purpose,” or “dual layers.”

Doubt That/Doubt Whether/Doubt If: If you doubt something is true, use “doubt that.” “I doubt that Mary really lost your phone number.” To express uncertainty, use “doubt whether.” “I doubt whether we’ll go swimming today. It seems like it’s going to rain all day.” You can substitute “doubt whether” with “doubt if”, but the latter is considered more casual.

Have you had any problems using the above words?

In case you didn’t get the memo, my class Hook, Line, and Sinker: How to Hook Readers and Reel Them In is almost full. We only have EIGHT spots left. For more information, click here: http://labelleseditorialservices.com/classes/

Lynnette Labelle

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