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slither/sliver

January 26, 2012

In yesterday’s Independent, Matthew Norman wrote that back in  2007 in the Lib Dem leadership election Chris Huhne  was ‘declared the loser by slither’. Eh? All right, the missing indefinite article doesn’t help. But the real problem here is the substitution of the verb slither, meaning to slide along the ground,  for the noun sliver, meaning a thin slice of something. This is such a common mistake that I should be used to it by now, but it still makes me wince. Pull your socks up, Norman. And you subs there at the Indie.

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5 Comments
  1. Bruce permalink

    Very fair, but before I retweet are you sure you mean All right and not alright? I’m never quite sure about that one.

  2. Bruce permalink

    And I think the missing definite article matters too. That really is down to sloppy subbing. Actually I think it’s a missing indefinite article.

    • You’re right about the article – my bad – I have changed it from definite to indefinite. As far as ‘all right’ goes, that is the traditionally correct form. But ‘alright’ has become so common in the last few years (by analogy with other words which originally must have been compounds, like ‘already’, ‘altogether’, ‘almighty’ etc) that it’s become an acceptable variant, and I expect it will take over completely in the end.

  3. bruce permalink

    I think if you are down with the kids enough to use “my bad” you are DWTK enough to use “alright”

    Alright?

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