Why Write Wrong?

 

Hi, Folks! It’s Marcia again, and since this is my only turn at bat for July, today’s Why Write Wrong post is another two-fer. (Just so you get your money’s worth, and all. 😊 )

As you may know, this feature is all about incorrect word usage, specifically for those times when a writer uses one word, but actually means something else. Everyone makes errors like this now and then, myself, included, but I know we all want to catch these things before sending our work out into the world. And that’s the goal of these posts. Consider them a narrowly-focused mini-peek into a dictionary, if you like.

Today, I’m going to start with a word I hear being misused just as often as I see it. Let’s take a look at what people frequently say or write, as opposed to what they really meant to say. The word being used incorrectly so often is β€œunchartered.”

Almost always the speaker or writer is trying to say something is new territory. An unknown or unexplored area. Unmapped, if you will.Β  And it’s that last one that should help the most. Map = chart. If you are describing an unexplored place, idea, or even a situation, uncharted is the correct adjective.

Synonyms for chart include map, diagram, and graph.

 

Correct: The brave canoeist boldly paddled his wayΒ  into the the uncharted waters ahead. (He was boldly going where no man had ever paddled before.)

 

 

Incorrect: Francine started her first day as an editor knowing she was heading into unchartered territory. (Francine may not be long at her new job if she continues to make these kinds of errors. πŸ˜€ )

~~~

On the other hand, a charter is actually a contract, agreement, or license. If you are writing about a corporation or other group entity that is in the process of being formed, then you could correctly describe it as currently being unchartered.

 

As a verb, charter can also refer to the act of leasing something, like a bus or fishing boat, so technically, you could make reference to an β€œunchartered” bus, though it’s much more likely to be described as simply being β€œavailable.”

Synonyms for charter include written instrument, deed, contract, and franchise.

 

Correct: When the meeting takes place next week, the charter will be signed and approved for our new franchise.

 

 

Also Correct:Β My club would like to charter a tour bus for a southwestern adventure .Β 

 

 

 

So there you have the basic differences between uncharted and unchartered. Of course, one could also charter a boat, then sail it into uncharted waters, if one were as brave as the pirates and buccaneers of old.Β  πŸ˜€

 

~~~

Now on to the next half of this post, wherein I tackle two more words that are often used incorrectly, and frequently pronounced wrong, as well. Let’s talk about cache and cachet.

PRONUNCIATION FIRST


Cache is a one-syllable word pronounced “cash,” just like money.

Cachet is a two-syllable word pronounced “cash-AY.”

And I believe this is the reason so many use these words incorrectly. Cache looks like it could be pronounced “cash-AY,” so is often used in place of the correct word–but the “e” in cache is silent. Honest.

 

DEFINITIONS

CACHE: (Remember – pronounced “cash”)


1. A hiding place especially for concealing and preserving provisions or implements.
2. Something hidden or stored in a cache.
3. C
omputer memory with very short access time, as in “a cache file.”
4. As a verb, to cache means to store something or to put itΒ  in a secure hiding place for purposes of concealment.

 

Synonyms for cache include: deposit, hoard, reserve, storage, and stockpile.

 

 

 

Correct usage: The wizard’s cache of magical artifacts was guarded by
a fearsome gatekeeper.


~~~

CACHET: (Pronounced “Cash-AY)


1. A characteristic feature or quality conferring prestige, importance, or position.
2. Less often,Β  a seal used especially as a mark of official approval.

Synonyms for cachet include position,Β  rank, standing, stature, and status.

 

 

Correct: Being a silent film start simply doesn’t have the same cachet it once did. (Just ask Buster Keaton …

 

 

 

 

 

… or Lillian and Dorothy Gish.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it, folks. Uncharted vs unchartered, and cache vs cachet. Was this helpful for some of you? Give us your thoughts below, because, as always inquiring minds wanna know. Thanks!

I’ll be back next month with a post on Building A Local Readership and, of course, another Why Write Wrong for you. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow along each week for all kinds of writing tips and information from the rest of the SE family! And here’s wishing you happy hearts in these troubling times. Remember, if you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.Β  πŸ˜€Β  See you soon!


 

DISCLAIMER:
I am not an English teacher, grammarian, or expert on all matters of this nature, but I promise I have consulted with those who are before posting anything in this series.
(All images above were created by me or obtained fromΒ Pixabay.)Β 

58 thoughts on “Why Write Wrong?

  1. LOL! I’m trying to catch up, but I had to comment on this post, because when I read “Let’s take a look at what people frequently say or write, as opposed to what they really meant to say.” the very first thing that popped into my mind was the infamous “Inconceivable!” from The Princess Bride πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess I’m going to have to confess something I’ve long kept secret–I’ve never watched The Princess Bride. I know. Unbelievable, right? I mean, I’ve seen some very funny clips, and read plenty of quotes, but never actually sat down to watch the whole movie. And it might be too late. I can’t seem to make myself watch movies or tv anymore. If I can scratch out a few minutes of spare time, I read. So, now I have to admit even more. Ahem. I have no idea what the “Inconceivable” reference means. 😦 ( It makes me think of the non-word “irregardless,” though. Something my father always said, and which drove me crazy. πŸ˜€ ) But whatever it refers to, I’m glad if it made you laugh. πŸ˜€ And maybe one of these days, I’ll start watching a few select films again. Favorites of mine from the past, like Last of the Mohicans, Phantom of the Opera, Hitchcock movies, or my all-time favorite, The Wizard of Oz. Who knows? It could happen! πŸ˜€

      Thanks for stopping by, Teri, and taking the time to leave a comment. And I’m glad you’re catching up. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Trying to get my head around my viewing of The Princess Bride as being a perfect tribute to Kate Daniels. Okay. I think I can make myself believe that. (I’m pretty good at convincing myself to do things that honor my favorite books.) So, it’s a deal! I’ll watch it one of these days and tell my husband it’s a must-see because in the future, Atlanta is a city in which magic comes and goes in an eternal battle against “the tech.” Yeah. That’ll work. πŸ˜€ Or not. Maybe I’ll just tell him it’s because it’s well-known to be a hilariously funny film and laughter is something we need more of right now. Now THAT might do it for both of us. πŸ˜€

        Like

    • So glad you enjoy that, Yvette. I have fun looking around for graphics to help make the point and to provide a smile or two along the way, as well. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to let me know your thoughts. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • What a nice thing to say, Jan! I’m so glad you find this series to be of use, and hopefully, fun, too. πŸ™‚ I plan to continue them once a month, going forward. At least until I run out of word usage problems I’ve noticed. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to say hi! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps it’s my love of historical fiction that’s fixed cachet in my vocabulary. Unchartered (paired with territory) I do hear a lot but rarely see it written incorrectly. As always, thanks for the neat and memorable explanation!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, “unchartered,” especially today, is getting quite a workout on tv. I hear it more often than I see it, too, but I’ve also noticed it written, especially in shorter publications and newspaper articles. And I’m not at all surprised that you are familiar with cachet. Personally, I think that one has a rather elegant sound to it, and it is often used by characters who are very formal in their speech patterns, and have a somewhat droll sense of humor. A character like A. X. L. Pendergast (in the series by Preston & Child) would be an example of someone who’d use it well in current literature, though I can’t remember if he ever has.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment, Trish. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Great reminder, Marcia. I have to stop and think about “uncharted water” whether I heard or seen “unchartered water.” I think I heard the latter. I’m familiar with “charter” and “chartered,” so it would be odd to hear “unchartered water.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would definitely be odd, Miriam. And wrong, too. And boy, does it happen often. More so in speech, I’m sure, because most editor’s would catch that one, I think, and save the writer the embarrassment. But it’s good to know these things ourselves, too.

      Thanks so much for stopping by today! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • When proofreading or editing, the danger is our mind tricks us. We assume what we read without questioning.

        I remember at a teacher training meeting, we were given a piece of literature with lots (I mean a lot) of errors and misspelling. We were asked to read and see if we could understanding what we read. Most of us understood because we substitute the errors with the correct words we assumed to be! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Very true, Miriam. We see what we think we wrote and not what’s actually there. In this particular series, though, I am focused on how often people misuse words because they don’t understand the meaning or definition of the word they’ve chosen. It wouldn’t be something they’d catch in proofing, because they believe they’ve used it right. In the case of “unchartered,” for instance, I hear people saying it even more often than I read it, so it’s something they don’t even know they are using incorrectly. With Why Write Wrong, I try to help people understand the correct definition of words and phrases, so they can pick the right ones. Now, of course, they can still have typos with them, but that’s another topic. And both choosing the incorrect word and making typos can be caught by a good editor. πŸ™‚

        I’ve done tests like the one you describe, and it’s amazing how the brain flips the letters around to make sense of them. πŸ™‚

        Like

  4. I’m pretty sure I’ve screwed up uncharted and unchartered in the past. Cache is one I’m happy to say I always say and pronounce correctly, but I wasn’t even familiar cachet. That’s a new one on me. I always love these posts, Marcia!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Using unchartered instead of uncharted is very, very common, Mae, so you have plenty of company. And being unfamiliar with cachet means you’d certainly be a lot less likely to mispronounce cache. You win all the way around! Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoy this feature, because I’d like to keep it going once a month for some time, yet. LOTS more words to have fun with on the list. πŸ˜€

      Thanks again, and stay tuned! Hope you’ll enjoy the next one, too. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Robbie. Especially about all the exceptions! It’s like some animal of prey, always waiting to catch the unwary. πŸ˜€

      Thanks so much for stopping by today and taking a moment to comment! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always glad to share a new word. Maybe we’ll make it super popular again! πŸ˜€ At any rate, now if you see it somewhere, you’ll know exactly what it means. πŸ˜€

      Thanks so much for stopping by today and taking a minute to comment, too. Always nice to see you! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this, Marcia. Like several readers, I did not know the word cachet. Now I’m determined to find excuses to use it. πŸ™‚ Your images brought everything to life — including abundant smiles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So glad you enjoyed the post, Gwen. Yes, cachet is a bit out of popularity right now, but it does crop up here and there. And of course, there’s the “legal” definition of being an official seal of approval, too. I’m always happy to learn a new word, myself, and hope you’ll find lots of places to use it. Me, I’m thinking things like “Bell-bottoms and tie-dyed t-shirts just don’t have the same cachet they did in the 1960s. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      So glad the post gave you “abundant smiles,” too. It always gives me great pleasure to make people smile or laugh. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to comment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful post, Marcia. There are a few words out there that are mispronounced and, as a result, not written correctly! Now, of course, I’m going to hear “unchartered” everywhere it’s not supposed to be. Should I thank you or curse you? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good question, Dale! πŸ˜€ I think I’ll come down on the side of thanking, because — more fun! πŸ˜€ Seriously, it is distracting when we pick up on these kinds of errors, but at the same time, it reminds us to check our writing more closely. We don’t want this stuff showing up in our finished work. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope your ears aren’t bombarded by too many instances of “unchartered” being bandied about in entirely inappropriate situations. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • Of course… I am not mean so I said it in jest. It is so distracting. There is a reason why so many people write “your” in stead of “you’re”… it’s how it is too often said! Ugh.

        Was an enjoyable read.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Bette. Maybe we’ll see an upsurge in the word “cachet.” I think it deserves one. πŸ˜€ It’s a unique way of expressing the idea of a particular type of prestige, and like many words that have faded from our vocabularies somewhat, it deserves to be heard/used more often.

      So nice of you to stop by today and take the time to comment. Always great to see you! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s always good to review the elements of proper usage. I spent a career in the world of computer technology and I often heard someone say, “and I’ve already cleared the cash-ay, so don’t tell me to do that.” At which point I’d tell them to reboot, and then I’d go for coffee.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And that’s a perfect example of someone thinking they need to pronounce it as two syllables because they’ve heard the word “cachet” somewhere and think that’s what the final “e” is all about. Hope maybe this helps a few folks see the difference. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment this morning! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t believe I’ve ever had an editing client use either of those incorrectly. The only client I have who has need for talking about uncharted islands and chartered tours absolutely knows the difference (thank goodness). She also uses cache correctly. (In case you haven’t guessed, she writes ocean adventures.) And none of my clients ever uses cachet because it’s fallen out of fashion in modern usage. Which is kind of sad; I miss the days when words were woven together to make a beautiful tapestry. Sure, passages can be too purple, but there’s nothing wrong with a hint of lavender now and then (IMHO).

    Thanks, Marcia.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You have very smart clients, Staci. (ahem) “Unchartered waters” is a phrase I hear on tv nearly daily during interviews and even from professionals, especially speaking about our current health crisis. I decided it would make a timely post. And the phrase they actually want “uncharted waters” is one much in use when people are talking (and/or writing) about new things. I heard a NASA rep use it a few days ago, only he got it wrong, too, actually saying “unchartered areas.” Cachet may be old-fashioned but then a lot of books are written during a time frame when it was not. And the real trouble maker with those two is people pronouncing cache as cachet and then using it incorrectly, too.

      I also think that the usage of words like cachet depends on who your character is, even today. Someone a bit more flamboyant might use it when making a droll pronouncement or the like. I know of a certain archangel who would, for sure. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s not something my clients use, and I have yet to find a character use it in the books I read. Doesn’t mean people aren’t still using it; just that I don’t come across it.

        And don’t get me started on “professional” people on television. They don’t even know when to use “I” and when to use “me” when they speak. It’s infuriating.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s more about folks saying “unchartered” when they actually mean uncharted, Joan. I’ve seen it written like that several times, but even more often, I hear it misused by people speaking on tv. Almost always they are saying something is new and unstudied, like a certain virus that shall go nameless here. I can’t count how many people I’ve heard say that trying to find ways to deal with it is difficult because it’s all “unchartered” waters. I finally decided it was one I wanted to mention. πŸ™‚ Cachet is an older phrase, but is seen often enough in books set in a different time period, such as Victorian tales or historical fiction. Cache is not an old word, but rather one that people mispronounced all the time, and misuse now and then because of that. Thanks, Joan!

      Like

      • I never doubted that you knew the difference. πŸ™‚ I was more hoping that after today’s post, others will understand the usage and pronunciation, too. πŸ™‚ And I don’t read Victorian romance, myself, but many folks do. Plus historical fiction, and anything set in a time period when cachet was still in regular use. I do see it here and there, still, but not so often as I once did, and more likely used by a character with the kind of old-fashioned personality to get away with it.

        Like

    • Thanks, Harmony. Cachet is an old-fashioned sort of word, but it pops up now and then in stories with that kind of feel. It’s cache that gets used (and pronounced) incorrectly frequently. I see it in print often often, but also hear it mispronounced, too. Unchartered, however, is a word I hear more often than I can count, especially on tv, where people are invariably explaining that something is brand new.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, though. Thanks for letting me know. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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