Telltale signs of sloppy communication

Want to know whether someone is a good communicator? Watch for these common—yet damning—language mistakes.

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I may be biased because I’ve been in the word business for more than 40 years, but I maintain that people who are sloppy with words will be equally sloppy in discharging managerial duties or being good team players.

What do I mean by “sloppy”? Here are some bugaboos:

Compliment vs. complement: The former means, of course, to praise or laud someone; the latter means to add a positive element to something, to complete it (same root). There is no way anyone should confuse these two words, but people often do. It makes me cringe.

That is an example of using the wrong word. Equally bad are gross mispronunciations. Here are three:

Realtor vs. relator: Guess what, world. Only one of these is an actual word. It’s “Realtor,” a person who deals in “real” estate. Yet, I bet you will hear someone pronounce this word the wrong way within a week if you listen closely.

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