by Kathy Davie
This hasn’t been a frequent word confusion, but I came across it in a Facebook post, and I wasn’t sure what the action was supposed to be. If it was a new paranormal creature called a pale or simply a spiritual sort of pale. It could also have been meant to be a simple pail. But there wasn’t enough context to tell. It doesn’t matter where you write, there will always be someone (like me, *grin*) whimpering away about what does it mean…, and you really don’t want to distract your reader from the message you do want to send.
It’s an evolving list, these Word Confusions, and sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better. If you’d like to track it, “Pail versus Pale” can also be found on my website. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster|
Image courtesy of Factory Direct Craft
Image courtesy of Deviant Art
This poster is available at this website.
|Part of Grammar:|
|Noun||Adjective 1; Noun 2;
Verb, intransitive 3
Light in color or having little color
[The Pale; historical] Another term for English Pale 4
[Heraldry] A broad vertical stripe down the middle of a shield
An area or the limits within which one is privileged or protected (as from censure)
Seem less impressive or important
|Quick, grab the pail.
Use a mop and pail to clean that up.
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
Choose pale floral patterns for walls.
She looked pale and drawn.
Unconvincing rock that came across as a pale imitation of Bruce Springsteen.
Oh, you have gone beyond the pale.
All else pales by comparison.
His own problems paled into insignificance compared to the plight of this child.
|History of the Word:|
|Middle English with an uncertain origin.
Compare with the Old English pægel meaning gill, small measure and the Old French paelle meaning pan, liquid measure, or brazier.
|Middle English from the Old French pale 1, which is from the Latin pallidus.
2 Middle English from the Old French pal, which is from the Latin palus meaning stake.
3 From the Old French palir.
4 That part of Ireland over which England exercised jurisdiction before the whole country was conquered. Centered in Dublin, it varied in extent at different times from the reign of Henry II until the full conquest under Elizabeth I.
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Kathy Davie is an author, educator, and artist with a BS in Technical Writing & Editing with minors in Digital Media and History from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado.
She is the author of the arts marketing series, Your Portfolio & You, aimed at helping artists survive (and thrive) at the business of being an artist and include Accounting for the SMALL Businessperson, How Copyright Applies to the Artist, the Buyer, the Employer/e, the Sold Artwork, Dealing with Photographs, Slides, Digital Images, and Surviving the Outdoor Arts Festival.
A huge believer in knowledge being power, Kathy has begun a free set of Author Tools for authors interested in self-editing including an online tutorial in Using Microsoft Word’s Markup Tool, words commonly confused by authors and Punctuation and Formatting Tips.