Wrong Word Wednesday #38

Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Disinterested / Uninterested

I’ve seen these used interchangeably, or largely the former is used to sound more formal (a bit like how people use infer when they mean imply but the words mean different yet related things).

One is having no personal involvement (disinterested), what I have had some refer to as “Having no dog in this fight”. The other essentially means “apathy”, not caring or being unmoved – that is uninterested. If you view the first as a position such as impartiality and the latter as a result of that position such as boredom, it might make it easier to remember.

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