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When I am Copyeditor General ...: Eels will not be party animals


Eels will not be party animals

Last week we went to the New England Aquarium, whose main attraction is the four-story tropical ocean tank, in which swim turtles, sharks, sting rays and all manner of brightly colored fish.

And also this:

Handsome fella, no? He's a moray, and there are two, or maybe three, in the tank. I'm not quite sure of the exact number because we never saw them together; they seemed to be solitary creatures.

Which is why I was surprised to find this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

All of which lead me to believe that the morays we saw were just spending a little alone time before getting together for a rousing game of bridge.

Copyeditor General's ruling: Another case of those darned confusing homophones, which we've covered here before. My instinct is to blame the blessing/curse of the Internets, where anyone can post anything without going through an editorial gatekeeper.

But not this time. All the above came from books. Actual, real, printed (and allegedly edited and proofread) books. You can see a few dozen more examples here. Shocking!

The word for the rules and social customs of a culture, while pronounced with two syllables, is spelled
mores. But:

If you see a big eel
And its face makes you squeal

That's a moray.



Laura Matthews said...

ohmigod, that last pun was Mario-worthy.

LimeyG said...

Thank you! I shall take that as a compliment. Not sure how Mario would feel about it, though.

The worst thing is that I've been singing the damn song ALL DAY!!

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