“The most mis-used word in English?”

It could be that the most mis-used word in English is — allude.

Just this evening, I was just watching a Major League baseball game on ESPN where one of the announcers said to his partner, “You alluded to…,” meaning, “You referred to…”

Allude does not mean referring toRather, allude meansINDIRECTLY referring to.”

All the more accurately, allude is used to refer to something or somebody in a joking way.  Allude has the same Latin root word as ludicrous.

Here’s an example:

“I told a joke to Charlie, but he didn’t get it.”

“Are you alluding to your inability to tell a joke?”

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Now that baseball season has begun, a favorite topic of announcers and managers is:  the “pitch count.”  How many pitches has the pitcher thrown?

It always gets around to a statement like this:  “He has thrown a huge amount of pitches.”

I allude to the confusion over the use of amount vs. number.

Pitches are individual items.  Each pitch can be counted.  Pitch number one, pitch number two…

Thus, “He has thrown a huge number of pitches.”

Amount refers to something that can not be counted individually:  such as water.  Thus, it is an amount of water.  But water can be counted individually if it’s in something like buckets. Buckets can be counted one by one.  “He has filled a huge number of buckets of water.”

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We are taught since childhood NOT to talk about ourselves.  And so the word me is avoided as though a person is boasting.  If they must refer to themselves, people use a word that seems more distant  — doesn’t have the taint of me-ism.

I allude to the mis-use of the word myself.

For example, “Charlie and myself will be at the ball game.”

Myself in this case is mis-used.  It is a reflexive pronoun, meaning it needs a pronoun to echo off of for emphasis.

Example:

“I thought you never went to a ball game on Sunday mornings.”

“True — but Charlie and I myself will be there this time.”

Myself is not a more polite way to say meWhen talking about yourself, dare to be grammatically correct even if fearing you’ll disregard your parents’ warning.

“Charlie and I will be at the ball game.  It’ll be a fun time for him and me.”

“Are you alluding to your appetite for hot dogs?”

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