Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rife; ripe.

rife; ripe. While a tree may be “rife” (= abundant) with fruit, and that fruit may be “ripe” (= fully mature), the terms are unrelated. To confuse them is a surprisingly common malapropism — e.g.: o “Iowa State . . . made an impression in Florida, ripe [read ‘rife’] with high school players coach Dan McCarney’s staff would love to lure to Ames.” Miller Bryce, “Worth Every Penny,” Des Moines Register, 26 Aug. 2002, at C6. o “The movie is ripe [read ‘rife’] with fond allusions to earlier 007 flicks.” David Germain, “Top Picks for Fall Films,” Cincinnati Post, 26 Sept. 2002, at 14. o “Exotic yet wholly approachable and ripe [read ‘rife’] with top-notch musicianship and infectious energy, this ‘Revolution de Amor’ is hard to resist.” Scott D. Lewis, “CD of the Week,” Oregonian (Portland), 30 Sept. 2002, at E1. Language-Change Index — “ripe” misused for “rife:” Stage 1. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Writing well is not easy. It does not come naturally, though your natural endowment will certainly help. It takes unending practice, each essay a polished exercise for the next to come.” Sheridan Baker, The Complete Stylist 10 (1966).
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