…when he/she makes mistakes like these?
Here are a couple of excerpts from comments left by aspiring writers on the blogs of two different literary agents:
…hoping with baited breath…
…sales certainly don't bare out that fact…
According to my handy dandy Webster's New World College Dictionary (4th Edition), the proper terms are:
"with bated breath" – with the breath held in because of fear, excitement, etc.
"bear out" – to show to be true; support or confirm
Go ahead – argue that blog comments, like texts, Tweets and Facebook posts, are informal and people like me should just loosen that twist in their knickers and get a life.
It will be a very short and one-sided argument, because I won't participate. If I had that mindset, I wouldn't be writing this blog...
Writers should always make the attempt to write correctly, no matter what medium they're using. A writer's art is the written word, so why not use every available opportunity to hone those precious word skills? If nothing else, good writing should be a matter of personal pride.
Now, I don't know the writers behind these two examples of word choices gone bad. They could well be skilled grammarians who know the correct words and had a momentary brain cramp. Or perhaps they think they know the correct spellings of these idioms, but they really don't. The end result is the same: Readers get an unintended giggle out of the writer's error, and the writers – anonymous though they may be – lose credibility.
And when a writer loses credibility, so does the message that he or she is trying to convey.
Write true, write well – and always keep a dictionary close at hand.