'Aggravate' and 'Irritate'

That guy really aggravates me.

You'd be surprised how many people think that usage of "aggravate" is wrong. It should be, they say, "irritate," with "aggravate" reserved to mean "to make worse," as inĀ Coffee aggravates his upset stomach.

Like many language shibboleths, this is a myth rooted in a grain of wisdom. Here's how to choose well.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tags: , ,