Damned vs. Dammed
An article from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies recently revealed the shocking news that some South Korean rivers have been condemned to eternal punishment :
The natural landscape of South Korea has been largely re-engineered, with nearly every river damned or forced into concrete channels.
Of course, what the piece really meant to say was “dammed” – with a dam on it. Dammed and damned are two words that are often confused, not least because they are homophones; they sound the same. It’s also easy to miss an incorrect usage because the two words look so similar. The main evening news on the BBC recently displayed a graphic for a story about a “damming report” into the UK Ministry of Defence. The report had nothing to do with dams.
To add to the confusion, the words are often deliberately mixed up by writers for the purpose of creating witty or ironic titles.
The distinction is straightforward. Rivers are dammed and sinners are damned.
…LONDON — There are three kinds of lies, goes the old saying popularized by Mark Twain: “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” That’s been on my mind this month as I’ve watched a big scandal over aid workers’ … (www.nytimes.com)
… gnawed through by the beaver family, all dead or dying under 3ft of water. The beavers have done what beavers do – dammed the stream that links one loch with another, allowing them to swim their territory instead of walk it. The result … (www.theguardian.com)
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