Be careful! Enormity

07 Nov

The word enormity is used an awful lot more than it should be.  In most cases, instead of its correct usage, to describe something bad of extreme seriousness – something like a tsunami, an earthquake, a deadly virus sweeping the world. Instead, it’s just used for something, well, enormous.  Enormousness, even.  The thing, is, we have a word for enormousness already. The beauty of the English language is in its variety and scope – so we have ranges of words for very precise shades of meaning.

It’s like your Mum used to say as she threaded those mittens on a string down your winter coat sleeves: don’t put your coat on indoors or you won’t get the benefit.  Over-use enormity and you’ll be stuck for a word to use when something REALLY big and bad happens.

Be careful! is a series of posts about words that are misused commonly – but really shouldn’t be. It’s not a new variant of meaning, it’s an error that gets duplicated as people see the word misused and copy it.

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Be careful, Language use


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