Claudia (clauclauclaudia) wrote,

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dear Harry Potter pornographers

... and other fanfic writers. And other pornographers. You know who you are, and you're probably not reading this. (Nobody take this personally. Every one of these I found in more than one place by more than one writer.)

I have conducted an... ahem... careful study of a broad swath of fanfic over the last several weeks, and here are some pairs of words I would like you to be sure you know the difference between.

discreet, discrete: You almost always mean "discreet". Secret? Discreet.
palate, palette: The first is the one in someone's mouth. Google doesn't actually back me up on this one, but I know it to be so. Is this a British/American English distinction I was previously unaware of? Please advise.
prone, supine: Just look it up. No more bizarre sexual positions because you flipped one of the characters over, thank you.
compliment, complement: I think this is perhaps the trickiest one on my list. Flattery? A compliment. But a shirt that flatters you may complement your eyes, meaning perfecting your look. Careful!
principle, principal: Morals are principles. The main something is the principal something.
illicit, elicit: Is it sekrit and naughty? Use the first one. Is it a verb? Use the second one.

Oh, just look it up:
  • taut, taunt
  • breath, breathe
  • loath, loathe
  • baring, barring
  • bound, bond
The phrase is just deserts, unless you're actively punning at the time. It does sound like "desserts", but that's because it's not the sandy "deserts", it's "deserts" derived from "deserve".
dominate, dominant: I don't even understand where this comes from, but it's really common. Dominate is a verb. Dominant is an adjective or noun. There is no such thing as "the dominate" in a scene or relationship. No really.

And please, for the love of all that is holy or unholy, learn the difference between
prostate, prostrate: The fun thing for men having anal sex? Only one "r".

Thank yew.

EDIT: tongue tongue tongue Accept no substitutes. (courtesy of kjc)
baited/bated: Breath is bated. Traps are baited.
rein/reign: Oh, where to begin. Horses are controlled with reins. Kings reign. The idiom is rein in your emotions. No really. (these two pairs courtesy of calanthe_fics)
Tags: fanfic, harry potter, silliness, usage geeking

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