Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Feb 17 2010   3:19PM GMT

Free rein or free reign?



Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Tags:
Business writing
CIO
commonly confused words
credit card
free reign or free rein
grammar
Quiz

Which is correct?
The advance warning of restrictions gave credit card companies __________ to find new ways to gouge consumers.
a. free rein
b. free reign


Answer: a

Explanation:
Free rein is the freedom you’d give a horse you were riding by loosening your grasp on the reins.

The confusion between these terms is understandable because free reign would mean to rule over something without restriction. However, the original term is free rein.

Here’s a Google snapshot:

free rein: 834,000 hits
free reign: 529,000 hits

Free rein is still the clear winner. (And, anyway, we’re not going to let the Internet dictate spelling. So get this one right!)

Free reign is in the Eggcorn database. They also mention less ambiguous errors, such as “reigns of power” and “reign in.”

Darryl Isherwood reports that the Credit CARD Act may be responsible for rising card fees.

Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

 Comment on this Post

 
There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: