It's the cry heard across the Internet: why do you hate freedom? Actually, I don't hate freedom, but I do hate people who write 'reign in' when they actually mean 'rein in'.
Picture: Getty Images
Reigning is what the Queen does. Reins are what we use to restrain horses, and it is from that sense that we get the phrase 'rein in'. Here's the meaning, per the Macquarie Dictionary:
rein in, to restrict or restrain
Sadly, this error pops up constantly in professional contexts where people should know better. Here's a recent headline example from Travel Daily: "Industry battles to reign in corporate travel expenses". Ugh.
Yes, it's confusing that there are three words in the English language with identical pronunciations and different meanings ('rein', 'reign' and 'rain'), and even more confusing that the UK royals are utterly obsessed with horses. But frankly, that's the game we've all chosen to play. Learn the differences. Accuracy matters.
Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.