Writing for Business

Apr 2 2009   2:58PM GMT

Common grammar mistakes – mute or moot?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Which is correct?

Because our network administrators blocks access to Facebook, talking about whether employees spend too much time on Facebook at work is a   _______ point.
a. mute
b. moot

Answer: b


Mute is a synonym for “silent.” It’s not logical to say “worrying about it is a silent point.”

A point can be moot, however.  It would be logical to say “worrying about it is a waste of time.”

Moot in British English means arguable, doubtful, or open to debate. Americans often use it to mean hypothetical or academic.  In the U.S., this expression usually means that there is no point in debating something, because it just doesn’t matter.
(The Economist Style Guide, Profile Books, 2005)

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