“Definate/definately” instead of “definite/definitely” is commonly used online, even in articles and blogs. The misspelling of “definite/definitely” is also ironically a common mistake of college graduates, including Ivy League grads. 😐
What does this common misspelling say about our educational system? “Definitely” is a commonly used word, yet is more often misspelled in the U.S. I haven’t seen “definite” or “definitely” misspelled in UK writings yet. Maybe it’s our pronunciation here vs. UK’s pronunciation.
When I see “definately”, I kind of cringe because I immediately think of “finite” vs. “finate”. One is a word, while one isn’t. I completely overlook someone’s written statements when I see “definately”, because I then wonder about the basic intelligence of the person trying to “persuade”. Because if “definate” is inaccurate, how accurate are the rest of statements surrounding “definate”, given “definite” means “positive” or assures “certainty”? 😐
Are people too ashamed to correct folks who use “definately”? Or do they not know it’s incorrectly spelled? Or just don’t care (complacency and ignorance)? Or has “definite” been misspelled so much, folks online now assume “definate” IS the correct spelling? I’ve yet to convert to “definate”, not my style to just go along, esp. with ignorance.
“Definately” isn’t even a word or cool chat lingo. So that brings me back to original question about our educational system. 🙁 The misspelling is so out of control, I’ll bet if someone held a random contest on a main street of any city in the U.S. and asked 5-10 people to spell “definite” for a monetary prize, the prize may never leave the prize giver’s hands.
Definite/definitely isn’t one of those tricky words like “occurrence” or “occasion”, where you are never quite sure about the correct number of s’s or r’s. Pronouncing “definite” doesn’t lead to “def-i-nate”, but instead, “def-i-nit (def uh nit)”. The “nate” at the end of “definate” makes definite a whole new non-existent word that has become accepted as an actual word, such as the nonstandard word “irregardless” with its two negative components, “ir” and “less” which cancel each other.
Who knows? Maybe folks have “decaffeinate” on the brain too much such that words ending in “nite” suddenly change to words ending in “nate”.
Either way, the misspelling of “definite” has become too common to no longer not notice. But I, too, have NOT been correcting folks, it seems rude. Yet, a child would be corrected for using misspelled words, which brings me back to our educational system because I’m not seeing kids using “definately”, but adults. I notice the “definate/definately” misspelling and just move on, while thinking, “here’s another one”. But when someone is being a boisterous ass or a “high and mighty know-it-all” and uses “definately” to make their point, the situation becomes “priceless” and comical. 😉
Next pet peeve spreading like wildfire: “there is/there’s” vs. “there are”, as in the singular phrase being used to describe multiple things, INCLUDING by media spokespersons. Examples: “there’s a lot of people”, “there’s many examples”. O – M – G!! And the person was paid $$ for that. Wow. 😐