Revised as of 4 September 2017
I rarely come across a word confusion of knot for not, however, writers are frequently confused over naught and nought versus not. I can only assume they believe it’s an old-timey version of this negative. It doesn’t help that the four are heterograhs.
It’s nought to say that readers can not figure out what the author meant to write, but what’s the point of knotting them up and pulling them out of the story, which only leads to the story going for naught?
When the confusion does arise, it’s generally because someone is being pretentious; there really isn’t any reason to use naught or nought unless you’re writing an historical novel. And if you are, you OUGHT to know the difference! You would be quite naughty if you didn’t!
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: naught|
|Part of Grammar:|
Plural for the Noun: knot, knots
Naught and nought are variant spellings of each other.
Fastening made by tying a piece of string, rope, or something similar 1
Small, relatively short-billed sandpiper 2
Knob, protuberance, or node in a stem, branch, or root
Unit of speed, equivalent to one nautical mile per hour
To become tied or tangled in a knot
To form knots or joints
Cause a muscle to become tense and hard
To tie in a knot
Form a knot in
To secure or fasten by a knot
To form protuberances, bosses, or knobs in
[Obsolete] Morally bad
|Used to express the negative of other words
Used with a quantifier to exclude a person or part of a group
I have mastered a clove hitch knot and a slipknot.
A little knot of people clustered in the doorway.
Some days the vessel logged twelve knots.
George and Paul tied the knot today!
Your muscles are so knotted up.
A troop of young boys were quickly knotting carpets.
Ach, it’ll come to naught.
Battle taught him that his ideals were naught.
Naught a’tall, a’tall, mate.
It was all for nought.
He’s naught but a worthless fool.
He’ll bring his efforts to naught.
|Do not keep in touch.
He has been warned not to steal.
Not all poems are serious.
The brakes went on not ten feet from us.
|Adjective: knotless, knotlike
|History of the Word:|
|1 Old English cnotta is related to the Dutch knot.||Old English nāwiht or -wuht are from nā (no) + wiht (thing).||Middle English contraction of nought.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?