Verbal ticks that never change


The more I learn about improving habits, the more I realise there are certain neural pathways in my brain that are so set in stone, invoking them feels like breathing. Not only are the following words completely wrong, but my identification and awareness of their inaccuracy doesn’t shake my continued misuse of them:

  • Referring to shoulders as elbows.

  • Referring to dishwashers as washing machines.

  • Pronouncing and reading retime as re-a-time.

  • Saying etc as etcetera not ex-cetra, and referring to coffee as espresso not expresso. Wait, those are right, carry on!

  • Reading Chesapeake as cheapskate.

In my defence of the last one, I only discovered recently that Newport News is a place, not a publication. Who calls a place news? Then again, this was named by the same people who brought us Jersey City, New Jersey and Kansas City not in Kansas, but Missouri. Just like Texas City in… Texas. The same Anglo colonists would later come to Australia and bestow the engima of New South Wales on us. Is it a newer version of South Wales, or is it a newer, southern version of Wales?

I really stuck my shoulder elbow in this one.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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