#WhyWriteWrong – Uncharted vs Unchartered

I started this new feature about two months or so ago, but various tiny things (publishing a new book, pneumonia, stuff like that) got in the way of a lot of my blogging. So, now that at least the Kindle version of That Darkest Place is out there, and the print version is underway, I thought I’d try to get back to my normal blogging routine.

As it happens, I just noticed (for the third time, recently) a misused word. Perfect fodder for today’s #WhyWriteWrong post. And here it is: Unchartered vs Uncharted.

Almost always, the writerΒ is tryingΒ to say something is new territory. Unexplored. Unknown. Unmapped. It’s that last one that should help the most. Maps = charts. If you are describing a new place, idea, or even a situation, uncharted is what you want.

A charter is a contract, agreement, or license. If you are writing about a corporation or other group entity that is newly formed, then you might actually want to describe it as unchartered.

For the most part, however, something akin to “uncharted waters” is likely the direction you’re heading.

And there you have it. Sail on with your day now, hopefully not into uncharted waters . . . unless you are up for an adventure. In that case, happy explorations!


21 thoughts on “#WhyWriteWrong – Uncharted vs Unchartered

    • Good question. I have no idea, really. Heck, it’s hard enough dealing with English, but I’ve been told that’s because English has more than its fair share of words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. It’s supposedly very confusing to learn as a second language. Me, I find the idea of a language where inanimate objects have gender pretty confusing. πŸ™‚ I guess each language has its own tricky bits. πŸ˜€

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  1. I’ve always used uncharted, but when I read “unchartered” it actually made me stop and wonder if I had it wrong all this time. Good to know I had it right, but I can thoroughly see how easy it is/would be to get it wrong!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry I made you doubt yourself for a minute there. You know, in addition to reading this one a few times lately, I heard someone say it on tv the other night. I missed everything else in his comment, because my mind got stuck on unchartered, when he clearly meant uncharted. I’ve been trying to take notes of other misused words when I spot them, so I can share them here. It’s surprising how many of them end up in print. πŸ™‚

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  2. The one that drives me crazy is how we have gone from ‘pled’ to ‘pleaded’. The news reporters will say, “the suspect pleaded guilty” instead of, “the suspect pled guilty.” Even WordPress is giving me red squiggly lines for spelling the word “pled”. When did this happen? I grew up with pled. Also, sentences that start with “so” drive me crazy. Time for more coffee.

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    • I’m with you on both of those, Don. Drives me crazy! There’s another past tense word they have started using incorrectly (in my opinion) but I can’t think of it right now. (Hey, I’m OOOLLLLD. These things happen. πŸ˜€ ) And the “So” thing has replaced every sentence starting with “Like,” I guess. It’s a really annoying habit, but at least I haven’t seen it in print, yet. (And yep, I’m pretty sure I have some annoying speech habits, too, but I try to avoid them once I’m aware of them. Mostly. πŸ˜€ )

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        • And in those cases, that may very well be what they mean. But I hear it a lot, too, when an interviewee has been asked a question, on pretty much any topic.

          “How many people were in the restaurant?”
          “So, there were at least ten.”

          “Was this the first time a tree ever fell on your house?”
          “So, we had a tornado last year, and one fell then, too.”

          Why??? I can’t fathom the need for it, nor why it is has become this popular.

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            • And “well,” and “like,” and who knows what else.

              “DId you have fun at the Rotten Toad Jam Session?”
              “Like, totally. It was epic!”

              “How big is the brain of an adult alligator?”
              “Well, let’s see. An alligator is a pretty big animal, so . . ..”

              “Does your mother know how late you came in last night?”
              “Um, sure. Probably. Maybe not.”

              Replace all of them with “so,” and I guess you’ve got it. (If you WANT it, that is. Me, I’d rather not.)

              Liked by 1 person

    • You are most welcome, Terri. I’m going to TRY to make this a weekly feature on Fridays. I can never promise what any given week will bring, of course, but I’m hoping this will be one that’s fairly easy to keep up with. I love these kinds of tips, myself. Like almost everyone, I’m sure I make my share of mistakes, but I’d like to keep them out of my books, if possible. So sharing is good. πŸ˜€

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  3. Hahaha! That’s in the title of my blog and, for just a moment, I thought, “Holy crap! She’s talking about me?!” *panic* You actually had me checking even though I knew this. Eek! Maybe it’s a typo. Maybe I’ve just overlooked it. Why didn’t anyone tell me??? (It’s correct but you did give me a moment there…) πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, that’s probably good. We get so used to things around us, we don’t look close, and sometimes mistakes can be lurking without us even realizing it. But yes, you’ve got it right. πŸ™‚ It’s just one of those words and phrases people misuse or misquote, and never even realize it. But you didn’t, so you can relax. Totally. It’s the weekend. Sprawl on the couch all day if you wanna. πŸ˜€

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      • Yup. Those typos lurk…like crocs and gators. πŸ˜‰
        I can’t relax this weekend. It’s difficult to relax when you’ve been forced to “relax” (a.k.a. sit on your arse and do nothing) because of health. I know you know that feeling! Grr… Have a lovely Sunday.

        Liked by 1 person

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