Friday, December 02, 2022

Linguistic Patrol Returns!

      Yes, with a groan of the starter and fingers crossed that there won't be too much old-gasoline varnish in the carburetor, the Linguistic Patrol coughs, backfires and roars into action for an emergency mission!

      But why, you ask?  It's The Case Of The Hidden Reputation!

     One of the major news sites, in an opinion piece about the rise of an extremist loudmouth (pick your own example; it doesn't matter), referred to the individual's having "...established a certain cache" in their particular segment of the political spectrum.

      Cache?  Wrong!  Cache can be a noun or a verb, and both versions address the notion of stashing things away for possible future use.  It's pronounced "cash."

      The word the writer was after would have been cachet, which refers to the prestige of a person or organization.  It's the state of being respected or admired, or it is a distinguishing mark or seal.  It's of French origin and the t, in fine French style, is silent: "kah-shay."

      They're both real words.  Your computer's spellchecker cannot tell that you've grabbed the wrong one.  The reader, however, may find encountering cache for cachet or vice versa to be as grating as getting a piece of eggshell in a fried egg -- and not a small piece, either.


Jay Dee said...

My term for them is "spell check illiterates".

grich said...

I grew up with two daily newspapers in the house, and likely internalized the AP Style Book before I knew such a thing existed. I developed my own writing style based on the examples I read in the papers. I also noticed in my early reading that a foreign word or phrase would often be italicized. If I saw a word like cachet the dictionary would come out. I was years ahead of my peers in reading comprehension, and OK in spelling.

I see so much of today's writing, even from AP, that has not been vetted by an editor to catch missing words, misspelling or improper punctuation. Sigh.

jdunmyer said...

It drives me crazy to see word misuse in a newspaper. "Bale" vs. "bail", "and" when"an" is meant, "hone in" instead of "home in". Also, "it's" when it should be "its" or using the apostrophe where it's not called for as in "my neighbor's are really nice". There's always the misuse of "their", "they're", and "there".