Sure up

This trivial usage error barely warrants comment, but it crops up so frequently, and causes me so much irritation when it does, that I think it deserves a short post of its own. The correct expression for reinforcing or securing support for something is shore up, not sure up. This gross malapropism can be found regularly in the sports pages, which I suppose is not so surprising, but I am always shocked when I see it in presumably well-edited news articles on serious subjects. For example:

From the Washington Post: “Yes, a Petraeus pick would sure up questions regarding Romney’s expertise (or lack thereof) on matters of foreign policy and national security.” [The error here is compounded by incoherence: what the writer meant to say is that the pick would shore up Romney’s expertise, not that it would shore up questions regarding Romney’s expertise, which is the opposite of the writer’s intended meaning. And the parenthetical or lack thereof makes the entire sentence unintelligible.]

From the Hartford Business Journal: “The FDIC’s consent order demands that the bank take several steps to sure up its financial position . . . “

Those who make their living as writers should do a better job of writing prose free of embarrassing mistakes.

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1 Comment

Filed under Grammar and Usage Errors

One response to “Sure up

  1. Frank F

    Somehow I’ve never come across this one before. Barbaric.

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