Can You Catch 40 Winks?

By Rob Kyff

May 15, 2019 3 min read

Can you find and replace each of the 40 usage errors in this account of my spring-cleaning? (The number of errors in each paragraph appears in parentheses.)

The current anti-clutter movement has struck a cord with me, so I've decided to start tossing out things I don't need. It's not that I horde stuff, but I have several cachets of treasured objects that I'm loathe to discard, and these have exasperated the problem. (5)

The disarray in my home drove me into a veil of tears, which soon turned into a fit of peak. I knew I needed to have less objects in my house. This accretion of items was starting to have an averse effect on my daily mood, and I was developing a guilty conscious. My friends were even starting to give me flack for being messy. "Your place looks like a grisly bear's den," one said. This was not intended as a complement. (8)

This remark struck me like a bolt of lightening and lead me to vow, then and their, to altar my lifestyle. I've always believed in neatness as an important principal and fundamental tenant of my life. In fact, I once had a flare for decorating, so all this clutter didn't gibe with my values. I was flaunting the very standards I'd always revered. I felt like a miserable retch and was wracked with guilt. (11)

I decided to canvas the populous in my neighborhood to find out what they thought about my cleaning up. Several offered their hardy encouragement. So, after pouring over several brochures about neat housekeeping, I decided to put the peddle to the meddle and start to declutter. (6)

I had piles of notecards and stationary all over my desk, bric-a-brac on the fireplace mantle, and painter's palates scattered across the art studio. In selecting what to jettison, I honed in on items that I don't use everyday. (5)

Going rouge, I went plum crazy and let lose, and soon my home was clutter free. Now when neighbors walk passed it, they peak in and smile. (5)

Corrections: 1. chord 2. hoard 3. caches 4. loath 5. exacerbated 6. vale 7. pique 8. fewer objects 9. adverse 10. conscience 11. flak 12. grizzly 13. compliment 14. lightning 15. led 16. there 17. alter 18. principle 19. tenet 20. flair 21. jibe 22. flouting 23. wretch 24. racked 25. canvass 26. populace 27. hearty 28. poring 29. pedal 30. metal 31. stationery 32. mantel 33. palettes 34. homed 35. every day. 36. rogue 37. plumb 38. loose 39. past 40. peek

Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Connecticut, invites your language sightings. Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via email to [email protected] or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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