Me and my problem words

July 21, 2007

This is just another random post about the words that always trip me up.

Lens. I always want to add an extra e to lens.

Not allowed! It doesn’t get to have it!

Sigh… And yet I try every time. (Two out of two in the writing of this post.) Rather than the typical 4 keystrokes to make the word happen, I always need 6: “L” … “E” … “N” … “S” … “E” … “backspace” …



  1. Um, I’m not sure if you’ll take this as good or bad, but many resources (and by which I include dictionaries–of which I consulted the three handiest) list “lense” as a perfectly acceptable, though admittedly alternate spelling. I’m often inclined to add the extra “e” myself. On the other side of the argument, my Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style goes out of it’s way to say that “lense” is wrong–which, though I do consider the book moderately authoritative and often adhere to its advice, somehow in this case, at this time, reminds me that it and its kin are pretentious, arbitrary, tyrannical, pharisaical, snobby and otherwise icky. Which then, of course, compels me to use “lense” defiantly, though I think “lens” is prettier

  2. . [I inadvertently submitted before editing (ouch, there’s eminently editable crap up there) or completion].

    While we’re on the subject, “grey” rocks and “colour” is cool–and, yes, I’m especially pleased that those phrases are polysemous.

  3. Oh, and I wanted to add, that, as implied by the intro “Letter Man,” the silent “e” adds strength and solidity to any word.

    And, um, one of my edits would have been removing–speaking of extra stuff–an apostrophe that doesn’t belong in an “it’s” in which I inserted it (the possessive “its”, ironically enough, doesn’t possess an apostrophe, as I always remember after I’ve typed it.)

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