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Usage note: Roll versus role

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Written by Basil on 12/31/2007 12:55 PM. Filed under:


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<sarcasm mode="on">
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. This is your friendly, neighborhood cranky grammarian here with a usage note. Rule One: KNOW THE MEANINGS OF WORDS YOU USE, ESPECIALLY HOMOPHONES.

Take the following sentence, for example: “We are called father, and that is the roll of the father in a family to teach and correct his children.” Let’s ignore the punctuation issues for the moment. The “roll of the father.” I wonder, does he mean his dinner roll? Perhaps his roll of tape? Maybe he has a parchment roll from which he teaches and corrects his children.

Frankly, I think he means “role,” as in, “a part or character to be played” or “a function or position in society.”

Having twatted your nose with a roll of newspaper, I now lay aside my role as cranky grammarian.
</sarcasm>

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2 Responses to “Usage note: Roll versus role”

  1. Tabitha Says:

    Considering the fathers and grandfathers with whom I am most familiar, I would like to posit that perhaps he is referring here to a romp or period of rough-housing with the children. Afterall, there is some teaching and correcting going on…”Don’t kick your sister!”, “Watch out for your brother’s face!”, “Don’t throw things!” :-)

  2. James Says:

    You “twatted” my nose? I’m not sure what role this word is supposed to play in your sentence, but that sounds vulgar. It makes me want to go make some yeast rolls.

    I also have issues with your vs. you’re and the total misuse of the whenever. Correct: Whenever I see the words roll and role mixed up I get irritated. Incorrect. Whenever I walked through the door yesterday … makes me want to scream!