Words used incorrectly: Alas

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It never ceases to amaze me how many people (smart people, mind you) don’t know the meaning of the word alas. I know people who were accepted to Ivy league schools (okay, one person) who thought alas meant but, until I corrected her. Just this past weekend, I received an e-mail that went like this, and I quote:

I was a little bit busier this week than I thought originally but alas- here it is!

This sentence seems to imply that this (again, smart) person thinks that the word means finally. Giving the guy the benefit of the doubt, perhaps his spell-check changed “at last” to alas, though this wasn’t typed/sent via smartphone, so, er, alas, I'm not so sure.

This post is to set the record straight: alas is an interjection and usually used to express regret, like in the last sentence. Another example would be as follows:

There is a beautiful pool at the hotel where we are staying, but, alas, I cannot swim.

So it’s truth time _flossers: how many people reading this post did NOT know the correct definition? It’s okay; that’s partly what you count on us for here at the blog, no? Leave a comment anonymously if you must, but it would be fun to know. You can also tell us if there’s a word, like alas, that you find people using incorrectly all the time.