MORE BOOLSCHIDT “NEW USAGE” in writing! In several articles in what appears to be American English, I found writers had added a tilde (~) before an amount of money. For example, a sentence might read, “The cost of buying original copies of all six psychedelic albums by the Strawberry Watch Pipers in near-mint condition is ~$4,000.”
I did not have a clue what the prefix meant. In fact, the first time I saw it, I assumed it was a typo! It wasn’t until I saw it used repeatedly in a second article that I looked it up. According to the Grammarist website:
“In informal writing, the tilde can be used to indicate an approximation. This is usually used with numbers to replace the words about or approximately and is placed before the number.”
Why would any writer feel the need to replace “about”—a word that probably every English-speaking reader with an IQ above 80 understands—with a symbol that few English-speaking people outside the field of mathematics understand?
Cut the crap and just write, “The cost of buying original copies of all six albums by the Strawberry Watch Pipers in near-mint condition is about $4,000.”
FEATURED IMAGE: I found this nifty piece of art accompanying the article “The Use of Accent Marks in Spanish” on the Study Spanish website. According to the article:
“For an English speaker, one of the more challenging aspects of learning Spanish can be to understand and use accent marks. The accent marks used in Spanish actually make the pronunciation and context of the language easier to understand, not harder. You just need to learn the rules of their use and you will be much better off than if you try to skip over them.
We started off this article calling them accent marks, but the more specific name for them is tildes. In Spanish, there are not a lot of letters that can have a tilde over them, and the ones that do are all vowels except for one.”
PS: The preposterously named psychedelic rock group from the ’60s mentioned above, the Strawberry Watch Pipers, is my creation. It is a nod to three real bands with equally preposterous names: the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Chocolate Watch Band, and the Lemon Pipers.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)