Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Beavers are particularly upset about slovenly habits concerning the word "eager"

I am nowhere near as smart about proper word usage and grammar as Martha Brockenbrough (Things That Make Us [sic]), but I am fairly confident that "eager" and "anxious" aren't interchangeable. I am sure that one can be both eager for one's appointment with the IRS (if accompanied by a high power tax attorney and CPA), but most of us are bound to be anxious about such a meeting.

I have even heard NPR reporters -- yes, it's true! -- sloppily swap the two words.

According to my beloved OED, these words are defined as followed:

anxious: Troubled or uneasy in mind about some uncertain event; being in painful or disturbing suspense; concerned, solicitous.

eager: Of persons: Full of keen desire or appetite; impatiently longing to do or obtain something.

This mix-up is my pet peeve supreme -- what's yours?


  1. THAT is one of mine! Also when someone says "I feel badly" instead of "I feel bad," even though I think badly sounds better. I used to mix it up, but now I just think of Nora Ephron's book "I Feel Bad About My Neck" -- and I have my answer. Also, I feel bad about MY neck ...

  2. Good one. Thanks Kirby. That Beaver is so cute. Makes me want to draw beavers.

  3. My pet peeve is advertising copy such as "lite" foods.

  4. Oh, Kate, I used to correct misspellings on the papers my kids' teachers sent home, much to my children's dismay. I figured it gave them something to tell their therapists.

  5. Using "I" as the object of a prepositional phrase, like this:
    That is for Jason and I to decide.
    NPR is guilty of that one, too. Perhaps me should become less peevish?