Professional Style


June 2013
Spot the Error

Doak Murphy prided himself on his onetime appearance in baseball’s World Series back in 1968.

If you’re thinking, “The 1968 World Series featured the Tigers and Cardinals and there was no one named Doak Murphy on either roster,” you are right. Good for you; you know your baseball. However, that’s not the error. The problem is with the word onetime.

Onetime, one-time, one time … what’s the difference?

  • Onetime – an adjective meaning former (Shirley Temple was a onetime child star.)
  • One-time – a compound modifier meaning once (Harper Lee is a one-time best-selling author. After To Kill a Mockingbird, she never wrote another book.)
  • One time – means … well, exactly what it says. (The couple met face to face only one time before they were married.)

So, I’m only going to say this one time: There is no onetime baseball player named Doak Murphy. But if there were, he would be proud of his one-time appearance in the 1968 World Series.

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