A couple of days ago I was proofreading a chapter and came across this phrase:
…that were cramping their style.
Even though I’d written the words I was suddenly unsure whether the correct word was cramping or crimping. To cramp means to have a painful muscular contraction, among other things. To crimp means to bend or deform, among other things.
After trying to reason it through I could see utility in both terms. So I did what any good 21st century writer does: I asked the internet to solve the problem for me. Which led me to this useful (and often hilarious, if not absurd) list of common usage errors. The list clearly states:
What was said: crimp my style
What was meant: cramp my style
I was so happy to have this instant answer available to me, and so glad to have a long list of similar gotchas compiled for ease of search, that I Tweeted about the list.
Except…something about the answer bothered me. Maybe it was the degree of certainty implied. Maybe it was the fact that there was no sourcing of the opinion. I don’t know. [ Read more ]