As you’d expect, the Indiana School Boards Association is an advocate for schools, so it’s no surprise that the Summer 2015 issue of their Journal included an exhortation from the group’s president to get members fired up. But you’ll probably be surprised that she was calling for the group to “lead the fight for pubic education.”

Hats off to Bob Neville for spotting this one in the September 1 Indianapolis Business Journal’s online newsletter. In an article about a non-profit’s plan to buy and redevelop a moribund grain elevator in Noblesville, the reporter mention the project’s goal of keeping parts of the elevator “in tact.” The word he was after was “intact,” but his trusty spellchecker didn’t know the difference. Always pruferede!

A recent issue of Bottom Line magazine suggested using lemon juice on paper cuts, saying “We know that lemon juice is the natural enemy of the paper cut for the pain it causes, but that’s a bum wrap.” No, actually, it’s a bum “rap,” meaning a false or misleading accusation. A bum wrap would be a lousy sandwich in a tortilla.

I’ve seen one homophone pair misused several times in recent weeks: breach/breech. In an October Associated Press story about flooding in South Carolina, a reporter captured a quote as “We’ve still got some breeches in some areas.” If he was describing breaks in a levee and not short pants, he meant to write “breaches.” When someone or something busts through a physical or symbolic barrier, it’s said to be a “breach.” Same thing when a whale leaps out of the water. “Breech” refers to short pants or buttocks, and when a baby enters the birth canal butt-cheeks-first, it’s said to be a “breech delivery.” If you think you’re a big shot, great-grandpa might say “you’re too big for your breeches.”


    • And that’s one that’s changing rapidly, because the traditional default, “his,” is no longer viewed as gender-neutral. Someone needs to invent a gender-neutral pronoun that just doesn’t sound silly.

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