Spellcheck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

by Laura on October 5, 2010 · 39 comments

Good morning, readers new and old! I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you for the amazing discussion you began on my post about the Marie Claire article yesterday. We at Hollaback have been reading each thoughtful, well-written comment and pulling out ideas for future posts, as well as noting the suggestions posted in response to my question, “Where do we go from here?” We have many posts expanding on these topics in the works, but until then, I thought it might be nice for everyone to breathe this morning and have a nice literal LOL at another post from resident grammar girl Laura on some misspellings that are — in our humble opinion — about as bad for your blog as extreme workout posts. It feels good to laugh, right? Love, Rachel

I see it as my own special kind of public service duty to banish five special phrases that have the ability to trip up even the best health blogger. These are the trans fats of the health blogosphere, making their way into even the best posts, sneaking their insidious greasy wrongness past spell check, and making us all look a little less literate — and a whole lot more careless — in the process.

And actually, I’m not alone. We at Hollaback Health have all agreed that happening upon these lil’ monsters in the health blogosphere makes us instantly lose our collective shizzle.

These, my friends, are the Hollaback Health’s Baddest Sworn Enemies. And we’re going to kick their asses right here, right now.

Workout/Work Out

Workout (noun):  a specific kind of exercise or a particular exercise session.  Workouts include Core Fusion, CrossFit, p90x, TRX…you get the idea.

Examples:  “That killer Core Fusion Sport workout left me shuffling like a 90-year-old granny (with her feet stuck to a snowboard) for three whole days.”  (True story.)  Or, “I had to tell my sister that dipping tortilla chips into shredded cheese while flipping channels on the couch is NOT a workout.” (Almost true story.)

Work out (verb):  the action of working out or carrying out any of the above forms of medieval torture exercises.

Examples:   “I’m going to work out at 6 AM at the park because the pervy man on the bicycle follows me around when I work out in my neighborhood.”  (Sadly, a true story.)  Or, “When I work out with my mom, she puts me to shame because she is so much more coordinated at Zumba than I am.”  (Also a true story.)

Bare with/Bear with

Frankly, this one is easy: use “bear with” because there is no such phrase as “bare with.”

Bear with:  to put up with or hold.

Examples:  “I bear 15 pound kettlebells at the gym.”  (Um, not true).  Or, “I bear with my sister’s addiction to Target shoes because I can wheedle shoes out of her once she gets tired of them.”  (True!) Or, “I’ll bear with the rain and the bumps in the bike path because I think I’m badass.”  (True — though I know what this makes me is foolish, not badass).

Note:  You probably don’t do any of this while bare of clothes or naked — or at least not legally or in a way that would make sense to your readers or those around you. (Unless they’re nudists, too. You could do some of this with bare shoulders, but that’s not the point.) Ergo, “bare with” is wrong, wrong, wrong in this context.

Bare: to reveal or show [something] that is special, or secret, or private…you get the idea.

You bare your soul when you tell your readers about your love for hummus, or about your weight-loss story, or about how you decided to go vegan/eat meat again.  (You probably keep your clothes on when you do all of these, too, though same provisos as above apply.)

Tide me over/tie me over

Tide me over: something that gets you through…something else.

Examples:  “The crackers with peanut butter tide me over my morning run.” (True.).  Or, “Re-watching Dexter on DVD tides me over in my love of Michael C. Hall as a devious murderer until I can get my paws on the next season of the show.” (Most definitely true.)

Tie you over: this is simply not a proper phrase.  I won’t even surmise what kind of kinky business this might entail — but I can guess that it probably has nothing to do with food blogging, unless you are one brave (or crazy) blogger.

Needless to say, stick to “tide me over” unless you want your readers wondering what you get up to with latex.

Used to/use to

Used to:  denotes an action that you did in the past.

Examples:  “I used to be afraid of swimming because my friend tried to drown me when I was five.” (True story.)  Or, “I used to eat a whole one-pound bag of Doritos in one sitting.  Ew, ew, ew.”  (True.  Still happens. That stuff is deadly for me).

Use to:  employing or using [something] for a purpose, a reason, or an end.

Examples:  “I use [ice/massage/ibuprofen/copious amounts of Scotch] to deal with my muscle aches after a long run.” (All true, though I don’t mix the ibuprofen and scotch.)  Or, “I use real butter instead of processed yellow spreads because I can’t pronounce the ingredients in the spread.”  (True.)


(This is the single worst offender.  Many a Hollaback Girl will hyperventilate upon encountering this stubborn blunder. I’m trying my best to keep calm right now).

Lose:  to get rid of something (on purpose, in terms of weight and inhibition; by accident, in terms of a scarf or a telephone left on a bus or in a taxi — I’ve done all these).

Examples:  “I hope I lose a bit of belly fluffiness so I can look amazing in my carnival costume in March.” (VERY true.)  Or, “I think the best way to lose your “virspinity” is to listen to one of Rachel’s Gymnertainment Podcasts.” (True.)

Loose:  something that does not fit right (be it clothes, the wheel of your bike after you take it off like an idiot, the cap on your water bottle before it spills water all over you — again, I’ve done all of these).

Examples:  “Once, when I was 17, my pants were so loose my mom pulled them down — in front of my grandpa.” (True.  I am still mortified).  Or, “My running sneakers are so worn out and loose that they are rubbing my heel and giving me blisters and making me whine like a baby.”  (Almost true.)

(Might I add a very good anecdote from Bridget here?  She once commented on the lose/loose weight wording on SparkPeople and had a person message her to tell her she was “being insensitive because some people are using the “loose weight” term as “a spiritual thing” — thereby relating it to their mental state — and that people should not judge that as a misuse of the word…to which Bridget replied “No, it’s just a misspelling, not a way to higher power.”  Indeed, my sister — well said!)

Got ’em?  Good.  Will you don your best PowerPuff Girl/Mike Tyson face,  join us in the good fight, and commit to putting an end to these language insanities? I hope so.

Now go forth and grammarcize like your seventh-grade schoolteacher taught you!  (Or like we’re asking you to. Whatever, as long as you do it!)

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