Tag Archives: A P Herbert

Right word : wrong place? Pedantique-Ryter rants

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  5. Pedantique-Ryter: Exclamation Marks Shriek
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  10. Pedantique-Ryter : changing meanings, right and wrong
  11. Pedantique-Ryter: Could Have or Could Of?
  12. Pedantique-Ryter rants about incomprehensible words
  13. Incoherent English : a Pedantique-Ryter Rant
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  15. Clarity : Language Use and Misuse : Pedantique-Ryter rants
  16. Back ranting: Pedantique-Ryter leads the cavalry charge
  17. Pedantique-Ryter rants on “It Cannot Continue”

stars with text Even Illustrious Organs can get words wrong

Even the most illustrious organs get word usage wrong some of the time

Torturous or Tortuous? Right word, wrong place?

Earlier this month, the Guardian included this quote in a piece on the Cambridge Analytica data enquiry:

Ravi Naik, a human rights lawyer with Irvine Thanvi Natas, the British solicitor who is leading the case, said the decision “totally vindicates David’s long battle to try and reclaim his data”. He added: “The company put him through such a torturous process over what should have been a very simple subject access request … “

question mark : which of a word pair to use?A torturous process? Is it really being suggested that Cambridge Analytica tortured David Carroll? Or was it a process full of twists and turns, excessively lengthy and complex?
In fact, a tortuous process?

Lots of writers confuse the two words, possibly because, in speech, it can be difficult to tell them apart. If the Guardian‘s quote was taken over the phone, it could be a mis-transcription. Or maybe it’s not wrong? Maybe the speaker did in fact mean that it was a process involving or causing torture?

Or perhaps — subversive thought — some of the increasingly common misuse of torturous arises because writers don’t know that two different words exist? Continue reading