Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grammar Nazi Remains Unphased

Grammar Nazi here. Yeah, it's been a while. Don't assume that means I haven't encountered any egregious errors; it just means I've been busy.

Today's topic is another phonetic train wreck a lot of folks get into: The difference between phased and fazed. More people get mixed up on the differences between these two words than you'd think.

Phased is the past tense of the verb to phase, which means "to schedule or order so as to be available when or as needed," or, alternately, "to put in phase," according to the American Heritage Dictionary. The word has its root in the Greek phasis, which means appearance.

Fazed is the past tense of the verb to faze, which means "to cause to be disturbed or disconcerted," and is a synonym of to daunt or to fluster. The word is an American invention, popping up in common circulation in the early 1820s.

It's almost comical how many times I see people write phased when they mean fazed. Sometimes it goes the other way, but more often than not, it's that someone is trying to phase someone out -- and it's clear in context they mean fazed. All of it just makes me want to put my "fazers" on stun. And remember, I'm a Grammar Nazi, not a bricklayer.

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