Geek Smithology

December 19, 2007

English Lessons (…1 in a series) – You Don’t Wreck Havoc

Filed under: Pedantry by Nathan @ 7:54 pm

“He wrecked a lot of havoc”
“If the <local sports team>s lose again I’m gonna wreck havoc”

You can’t wreck havoc. You can play havoc with something. You can even just plain havoc something (although that’s a little archaic.) Havoc means destruction, so wrecking havoc is like wrecking wreckage, and that’s just silly.

What you really want to do is wreak havoc. Wreak, an extremely rare word that is used almost exclusively in this context, means “cause.” So next time you build a snow fort that has outlived its usefulness, feel free to go to town. Er, I mean feel free to wreak havoc.

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