Monday, December 21, 2009

Common Confusables: Introduction

This post introduces a periodic look at words and phrases commonly confused, abused, and misused in our endlessly variable vernacular. I hope to present a Common Confusables post every week, and for your enjoyment I present the first one, Regime & Regimen.

Regime & Regimen

You've heard of several "fitness regimes," haven't you? Of course you have, they're all over the place. Same with "diet regimes." And even US Representatives have been heard asking—in this case NC Rep. Virginia Foxx asking of Roger Clemens about steroid use—"Mr. Clemens, maybe you'd like to talk about your regime and how hard you work?"

Okay, um, no!

Clemens doesn't have a regime, okay? Really, he doesn't. He may think he does, but he doesn't. What he has is a regimen. Huge difference. Huge.

A regimen is a regular course of action or treatment or a period of training or schooling, as in "My morning regimen includes a brisk walk." Or, "This program has an aggressive learning regimen."

A regime is a political system, as in "Saddam Hussein's regime was finally taken out of power." Or, "Our principal is a jerk. I think we should work toward a regime change. Wanna?"

So let's have no more of these fitness regimes, okay, Andy Green? Jennifer Scott? Women

No more diet regimes, okay, Dr. Kiki Sidhwa? OK! Magazine? And Encyclopedia.Com?

Stop the madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!