Posted by: episystechpubs | May 29, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Correct word for the conversation

More frequently confused words from Paul Brians’ book, Common Errors in English Usage (http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/irregardless.html)

ATTAIN/OBTAIN

“Attain” means “reach” and “obtain” means “get.” You attain a mountaintop, but obtain a rare baseball card. “Attain” usually implies a required amount of labor or difficulty; nothing is necessarily implied about the difficulty of obtaining that card. Maybe you just found it in your brother’s dresser drawer.

Some things you obtain can also be attained. If you want to emphasize how hard you worked in college, you might say you attained your degree; but if you want to emphasize that you have a valid degree that qualifies you for a certain job, you might say you obtained it. If you just bought it from a diploma mill for fifty bucks, you definitely only obtained it.

AFFLUENCE/EFFLUENCE

Wealth brings affluence; sewage is effluence.

IRREGARDLESS/REGARDLESS

Regardless of what you have heard, “irregardless” is a redundancy. The suffix “-less” on the end of the word already makes the word negative. It doesn’t need the negative prefix “ir-” added to make it even more negative.

Kara Church | Senior Technical Editor

Symitar, A Jack Henry Company

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123


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