usingtherightwords

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Can You “Wiggle” or “Wriggle” Out of This?


As I edited L.A. Parent magazine this month, I came upon this sentence in an article about eco-friendly makeup: “Use carefully selected eco-friendly products 80 percent of the time, but allow yourself some wriggle room 20 percent of the time …”

The word wriggle made me stop. This is not a word I usually encounter, and used with the word room makes me think of the cliche wiggle room.

So, what’s correct? Wriggle means “to move the body or a bodily part to and fro with short writhing motions like a worm.” It also means “squirm.”

Wiggle means “to move to and fro with quick jerky or shaky motions.” It also means “jiggle.” It also means “wriggle.”

This tells me — and I found others online that also think so — that wiggle can mean wriggle but wriggle can’t mean wiggle.

Since both of these require action, and since this magazine usage refers to theoretical action, I’d say both are wrong.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is out and available on Amazon. Order now for just $14.95. Contact me on my website to reserve your copy or Order here.

leebarnathan.com

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March 24, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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