Bloggers' Dictionary


A long time ago now, I wrote a post called Grammar for Bloggers. It highlighted some of the common mistakes I see in blog posts, including homonyms and homophones (those words that look the same but are pronounced differently/ said the same but are written differently: Your "their, they're, there"s and your "lose, loose"s). However, more and more I've noticed people using words that, while not exactly grammatically incorrect, are just being used in completely the wrong context. I'm pretty sure the problem is that lots of people don't realise they're making a mistake, so I'm taking those words and explaining exactly what they mean. Under each picture, I've included a common incorrect use of the word. Think of this as a dictionary for bloggers. 

Random

I have a pig on my head! How random! 

Definition
Randomness (which doesn't sound it should be a word but I checked with the Oxford Dictionary) is a mathematical and scientific concept. It means completely and utterly without order or decision. You can't "randomly decide" anything. In fact, you don't do anything by random. Every single thing you do is a choice. Likewise, you don't "randomly bump into" somebody. You both made a choice to go to the place where you crossed paths, even if it was a coincidence. Oh, and don't get me started on "How random!" when reacting to something unusual.

Instead try:
If you're talking about something happening out of the blue: "Spontaneous" (spontaneously), "unexpected" (unexpectedly), "impromptu" ("We made an impromptu visit to...")

If you're talking about something strange: "Bizarre", "odd", "unusual"... You get the picture. 

Infamous
I love MAC's infamous Candy Yum Yum!

Definition
Infamous is not a positive adjective. It means being famous for the wrong reasons. When you describe Snow Fairy as "the infamous Christmas shower gel", you're telling us it's an awful product and everybody knows it which, as all beauty bloggers will know, is completely untrue!

Instead try:
"Cult" pretty much means exactly what you're trying to say ("Benefit's cult mascara They're Real"). However, you could also use "popular", "renowned" or, you know, just "famous". 

Defiantly
I'll defiantly return to Edinburgh! 

Definition
I blame autocorrect for this one so it's not really the blogger's fault. You type in "definatly" and, yeah, it's not spelled correctly but that's ok because your iPhone knows exactly what you're trying to say. Except it doesn't. I know you mean "definitely", everybody else knows you mean "definitely", but iPhone thinks you mean "defiantly", another word for "stubbornly". If you say "I'm defiantly going to come back to this restaurant", you're probably not going to be stomping in there with your nose in the air. 

Instead try:
If "definitely" really trips you up, try using words such as "absolutely", "certainly", or "undoubtedly". 

Literally
I literally cry my eyes out whenever I watch Harry Potter. 

Definition
If something is literally happening, it means it is actually happening. For real. No exaggerating. It is absolutely, one hundred percent, no-doubts-about-it happening. If you say "I literally live in Topshop", it means Topshop is your home. Which probably isn't true. Unless you're a dress. 

Instead try:
Just don't say anything, or maybe try something like "practically" or "might as well be". If you want to be really pedantic, you could say "figuratively" or "metaphorically" but, come on, not even I'm that much of a tool! 

Macaroon
Yummy! I love macaroons! 

Definition
Oh God, the macaroon saga. A macaroon is a coconut-flavoured lumpy biscuit. Since you're a blogger, and all twee and whatnot, you're probably talking about the pastel-coloured French confectionery, macarons. One "o", not two. Trust me, it makes all the difference.

Instead try:
Just use "macaron" because, you know, that's what you're talking about. Unless you're actually talking about macaroons but, in my experience, bloggers very rarely do. 

I know I'm a pedant but let's face it, most bloggers want their writing to be the best it can be. Hopefully I've taught at least somebody a thing or two! 

27 comments:

  1. Hahahah I love the, 'unless you're a dress'. I'm definitely guilty of some of saying literally wrong, not because I don't know but because it used to really annoy my friend and then I did it so much to wind him up that it became a habit. My iPhone autocorrects correct words to incorrect words for some reason now, people ask me if I'm drunk all the time!

    India / Touchscreens & Beautyqueens

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    1. Haha that's the worst thing! I started doing that with "totes" and "obvs" and then it became habit. So annoying!

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  2. Not entirely related, but I might be the only blogger who prefers macaroons to macarons.... they taste of my childhood (and coconut, obviously)

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    1. Haha you're clearly not a real blogger ;)

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  3. Thank you for a great post. There were some really helpful things for me that doesn't have English as my native language. LIke "Definitely". I know for sure I've been using the wrong word way too much!

    lifeofannas.blogspot.com

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    1. This is really interesting. I'd imagine a lot of people who speak English as an additional language pick up on the words that are commonly used incorrectly and assume they're being used in the correct way.

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  4. I love you.

    Thanks for writing this! Half the time I feel like I'm reading people's high school diaries. A bit of writing skill wouldn't go amiss. The other one that gets my goat is alot instead of a lot.

    Tatty Bojangles / Rock Wifey | Beauty Blogger | Francophile

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  5. OMG yes about macaroons. WHEN will people get over them ahah

    Sophie x

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    1. I can't wait for the fad to pass so I never have to see the double-o again!

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  6. More bloggers should talk about proper coconutty macaroons, they're brilliant!

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  7. Thank god someone has addressed 'literally'. It frustrates me so much reading blogs and watching YouTube videos where the word literally is used in a non literal sense!

    This a great post which highlights so many faux pas which never get addressed :)

    Emma xx

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    1. I just want to say "Did you? Did you literally die laughing? Did you really?"

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  8. I'm glad you addressed the macaron/macaroon thing! I have a terrible habit of saying macaroon when I mean macaron offline because people look at me like I'm insane when I use the correct term!

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    1. I deliberately say it with an exaggerated French accent because I'm a pedant like that!

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  9. I am guilty of the inappropriate use of the word random. I won't do it again. Promise. :)

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    1. I'll forgive you. Just this once ;)

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  10. "OH MY GOD I'M LITERALLY DYING!"

    You will be in a minute when I rip your tits off. X

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  11. Hahah I was just about to comment on "literally" and then I saw Leona's comment above. I hate it. HATE IT.

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    1. Do you literally hate it?

      (That use of "literally" annoys me too. It's totally redundant!)

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  12. Hahaha, this list made me chuckle! They are all so true, especially the use of 'random' - I see that one all the time. Another one I would add into the mix is the use of 'like'. It drives me INSANE, for example "I was like, at the shopping centre and like, I saw this dress, like", so annoying.

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches

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    1. I have to admit, I'm terrible for "like"! Sorry!

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  13. Ah this is a much needed post! I personally really like macaroons (Mrs Crimble's finest) and have never tried a macaron!

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I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!