ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Commercial & Creative Writing

Word Usage--Raising not rearing an interest in disinterest

Updated on December 10, 2006

Incorrections rear their ugly heads in Safire's column

William Safire's NY Times column this morning deals with the usage of a couple of words familiar to everyone--rear v. raise as in children and disinterested v. uninterested. He also introduces the term "incorrectible" which is new to me. (Safire was a speech writer in the Nixon White House and has been credited with the colorful phrases in Vice President Spiro Agnew's speeches such as the "nattering nabobs of negativism.")

Although Safire identifies himself as a grammar and word usage prescriptionist who cringes when he hears someone say "raising" as opposed to "rearing" children, he throws in the towel on this distinction in his column today. He concedes that "rear" has become a "loser verb used only in cliches like 'rears its ugly head.'" (Hope I got the period in the right place, there!) He concludes "Although I'm usually a prescriptive usagist, I'll now argue that to tut-tut at 'I'm raising my kid to be a billionaire' is to commit an incorrection. (That relatively new noun means 'a correction that is itself incorrect.') My advice to the stalwart rear/raise differentiators, drawing to an inside straight: fold 'em. Raise takes the pot."

Safire reaches the opposite conclusion about the correct usage of disinterested/uninterested, namely that they aren't interchangeable. Using disinterested to mean uninterested or lacking interest is incorrect. Disinterested means impartial, as in "disinterested party," not uninterested. However, Safire notes that the distinction is breaking down, especially in the blogosphere and the spoken word. I propose that anyone who uses disinterested meaning anything other than impartial be banned for life from HubPages! What do you think, Robin?

Read Safire's column here


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.