Self-Deprecation Is OK, But Is Nothing To Do With Depreciation

At this time of year, many of us are working through tax forms and stressing out over depreciation rules. Be careful not to mix up 'depreciation' (a tax concept) with 'self-deprecation' (insulting yourself as a form of modesty); they are similar but not identical words. Specifically, 'deprecation' only has one 'i'.

Humblebrag picture from Shutterstock

You don't have to look far to find people who haven't realised that 'deprecation' is not the same as 'depreciation', as this recent example from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer shows:

The native of rural South Carolina regaled the media with wit, self-depreciation and homespun stories.

While 'deprecate' can be used as a verb in its own right, 'self-deprecating' or 'self-deprecation' is likely to be encountered more often — and to lead to this mistake. Remember: it already has a 'self' in it, you don't need an extra 'i' in there. Accuracy matters.

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


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