Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Looking everyone of her 45 years…

with 8 comments

Parker at the 2009 premiere of Wonderful World
Image via Wikipedia

This from the British newspaper, the Mail Online:

Face it Sarah Jessica Parker, you’ve just lost too much weight. She pulled such an unfortunate face that she looked everyone of her 45 years.

That should be:

every one (as in ‘each one’) of her 45 years.

Find out more about the difference between ‘everyone’ and ‘every one’.

Commonly confused words and phrases

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8 Responses

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  1. That had to be a typo. Almost everyone knows the difference. Perhaps they don’t proof read every one of their blurbs.

    Well, probably not almost everyone, but I wanted to use each instance in a sentence. ;0)

    Lisa

    24/05/2010 at 2:55 am

    • Hi, Lisa — I like your illustration of the correct use of ‘everyone’ and ‘every one’! I see this error quite a lot — sometimes just carelessness when someone is writing quickly, but also, for example, in ad copy which is unforgivable given how much ad agencies are paid.

      Deborah

      24/05/2010 at 6:53 am

  2. Yes, it’s incorrect, but of course it’s also untrue. She doesn’t look a day over 42.

    Invisible Mikey

    25/05/2010 at 5:17 am

  3. Hi, Mikey — thanks for making me smile despite the grey Blighty weather this morning.

    Deborah

    25/05/2010 at 6:39 am

  4. Here’s an example of just plain wrong that had me scratching my head over my coffee at 6 am; On a celebrity website, this opening sentence to a story: “‘Real Housewives of O.C.’ star Alexis Bellino nearly averted tragedy this past Fourth of July weekend when two of her kids accidentally fell into a pool.” Actually, the tragedy *was* averted because her husband dove in and rescued the toddlers. However, I am still fussing over the combination of “nearly averted” and “tragedy.” Can one “nearly avert” a tragedy? Or do I just need more coffee?

    Jo-Anne

    07/07/2010 at 3:31 pm

    • Hi, Jo-Anne — I’m glad it’s not just me that fixates on things like this! As you say, ‘nearly averted’ is definitely wrong in this particular instance. However, I don’t think it would actually be wrong to say ‘nearly averted’ in all cases. For example, a mountain rescue may have been near to success but thwarted at the last minute (‘Tragedy was nearly averted, but ultimately the rescue attempt failed and the climbers died’). Having said that, it’s not a construction I would use because the fact of the tragedy makes its near-prevention somewhat less important. The hack in me would write something like: ‘The climbers all perished despite desperate attempts to rescue them’ or similar. More straightforwardly, in hack-free mode, I would first say that the climbers had died, then go on to explain the near-success of the rescue attempts.

      Thanks, Jo-Anne — very interesting!

      Deborah

      07/07/2010 at 4:06 pm

  5. Well thank you! I’ve been muttering to myself all morning over this, much to the consternation of my colleagues. You’ve hit the nail on the head with your mountain rescue example. Tragedy was nearly averted, but ultimately not averted..whereas in the example I gave tragdy was ultimately averted, which made the construction all the more confusing. Oh well. If I’m going to lurk on a site called “Popeater”, I’m probably getting what I deserve. Thanks again 🙂

    Jo-Anne

    07/07/2010 at 4:56 pm

    • You’re welcome! It was interesting to think about.

      Deborah

      07/07/2010 at 5:28 pm


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