It’s here – a thrilling new feature highlighting words that cause confusion or tend to get misused.
I got the idea because of the number of times, in my freelance work for several writers’ advisory services, I came across writers using ‘scrapping’ instead of ‘scraping’ (e.g. falling and scraping one’s knee). I thought it was rather bizarre because surely the ‘pp’ would indicate to anyone that it would change the sound of the word completely. But it cropped up so often I even started to doubt myself and had to double-check that ‘scrapping’ actually wasn’t a little-known variation. Thankfully for my sanity, it wasn’t!
So for the inaugural word. This extract comes from an article on the Ryder Cup golf tournament in a recent (30 October 2012) Sunday Times Sport section. Five points to those who spot the error:
‘The course has been set up to encourage those players who hit the ball long and make plenty of birdies and although Europe’s small army of captains and lieutenants thought this might work in their favour, that’s not how it has transpired.’
Transpire does not refer to how things turn out, as it is used here. It means ‘come to be known’, referring to facts which come to light. You might say we thought the golf course would be prepared to suit both teams, then someone overheard the ground staff talking and it transpired that it was set up for the Americans. The Sunday Times usage is wrong but very commonly seen.