Common typo

Usually, typing mistakes are easy to find (if one looks for them of course) as they make the word look unusual. There are some though that change one word into another. Sometimes, the change of the word doesn’t change the meaning of the phrase though. These are the most difficult to find typos.

I make one of these pretty often. Instead of “global warming” I type in “global warning”. The toughest one to find, but I don’t usually bother.

Vacation vs. vocation

My co-worker and I were composing an email today. He was writing and I was watching over. When I pointed out to him that he wanted to write “vacation” instead of “vocation”, he argued that if the word was wrong, the spellchecker would have underlined it in red. Since I was 99.9% sure that I was right, I aked him to double check.

It turned out that both “vacation” and “vocation” are legitimate words. But what surprised me was that their meanings were almost opposite.

“Vacation” has to do with resting and spending the time nicely. “Vocation” has to do with hard work. If you don’t believe me, check the definitions in the dictionary. Here are the words in : vacation and vocation.

P.S.: And I was right.

Solid food

Yesterday, when I wrote about Maxim’s first food I of course meant his first solid food. It’s just that I didn’t know that solid food is called solid food in English. The direct translation from Russian is “solid” indeed, but when I was writing the post, I wasn’t sure that I could the word “solid” to describe food. And I was too lazy to check in the dictionary. Today, when I was replying to a comment for that post, I noticed the Google Adsense banner which was promoting some “solid food” website. I checked the site, double checked in the dictionary, and it was indeed – “solid” food.

Either I am being too smart or too stupid. I don’t know.

P.S.: Maxim seems to really enjoy his new diet.

Char or trout

Consider the joke told by Richard Stallman that I read in this article:

Once I was eating in Legal Sea Food and ordered arctic char. When it arrived, I looked for a signature, saw none, and complained to my friends, “This is an unsigned char. I wanted a signed char!” I would have complained to the waiter if I had thought he’d get the joke.

Until today, the word “char” had only one meaning to me. It was a computer term, which is used as a declaration of a character or string variable in some programming languages. Such as C, for example.

It turns out, that there is another meaning. Here is a quote from the dictionary for you:

also charr (n. pl. char or chars also charr or charrs)

Any of several fishes of the genus Salvelinus, especially the arctic char, related to the trout and salmon.

Wikipedia entries for those of you who want to learn more on this fishy subject: Salvelinus, Arctic char.