Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
commonly misspelled words, ESL, parts of speech, Paul Brians, spelling
Which is correct?
I liked the photo of my friend’s new puppy and commented “____, what a cutie! But why did you name him Puddles?”
“Aw” is an interjection, like “oh,” “eh,” “huh” and “wow.” On the web, the word is often misspelled as “awe.” “Awe,” on the other hand is a noun, roughly synonymous with “wonder” or “amazement,” as in the phrase “shock and awe.” It’s occasionally used as a verb, in which case to awe is the same as to wow. But the interjection “aw” is separate. It’s used to express a wide range of emotion, including sympathy and disappointment as well as heart pangs caused by the cuteness of a puppy.
As I was saying just the other day, I think errors proliferate online because there are so many people writing that don’t read and so don’t see how words are spelled. Until, of course, they see a friend (mis)spell them on Facebook or Twitter and adopt that (mis)spelling.
Paul Brians includes awe, shucks in his Common Errors in English Usage.
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