“Penpointing” and Other Near-Misses in the Media

By Maeve Maddox

Though the nation remains in the throws of numerous crises … (Vanity Fair).
It remained in the tosses of heartbreak that I started to find out about myself … (Medium).
While we are still in the throws of the existing Covid-19 pandemic, the senior center continues to be open by visit or reservation only. (Clinton, MA government site).

In each case, the writer was grabbing the noun ruckus.

Penpointing for pinpointingIn my part of the world, many speakers have a tough time hearing the difference between the vowel sounds in pen (rhymes with Ben) and pin (rhymes with sin). The usual reversal is to pronounce pen as pin– not the other method round. Because of that, I was puzzled when I started discovering examples of the spelling penpointing.

The preferred expression is in the throes of, not in the throws of.
throe (noun): an extreme spasm of discomfort experienced during labor; a uterine contraction; (likewise, in plural) the pain and effort of labor or childbirth.
Ruckus for raucousBoth words do indicate something noisy, however ruckus is a noun and raucous is an adjective.
commotion (noun): an uproar, a disruption; a row, a quarrel; fuss, commotion.
The locals apparently grumbled about the commotion from all the star hoopla.The racket had actually gone on enough time that Deborah thought they ought to call the cops.
raucous (adjective): of a sound, especially, an individuals voice: hoarse, rough; harsh and loud.
A Muni bus is set afire by raucous crowds after the Giants win the World SeriesWalking near his farm in Bampton Grange, Peter Allen hears a crows raucous caw.
The following examples highlight the confusion that exists in the minds of some authors.

I dream that in heaven Ms. Fanny Lou Hamer conspires with Ms. RuthAnd oh the raucous that they raise! (lines from a poem on the publishing platform Medium).
… after a while, you stop counting the possibilities, and you begin listening to the music created by the raucous that is your life. (Medium).
The raucous that was the Iowa Caucus … (Apple podcasts).
Less than an hour later on, the fire department revealed that the raucous was triggered by a homeless female who unknowingly triggered an explosion by utilizing propane gas in her tent. (Daily Mail, 18 January 2021).
NOTE: In a later publishing, the Mail changed raucous to turmoil, however raucous remains on websites that copied the original account.

In each of these examples, the word must be determining.
identify (verb): to find or locate exactly, especially on a map or chart.
I did discover one planned “penpointing.”.
The PenPointing achievement in Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller worth 15 points.
It took some digging, but I learned that the reference is to an “episodic point-and-click graphic adventure game.” The gamer attempts to “position the pen in all possible places.” The “pen” in this context appears to be something called a “pen mouse” which works like a mouse, but is formed like a pen.
Throws for throesPlenty of language websites, including this one, do their finest to describe the distinction between throe and throw, but I guess they cant reach everyone. Although sports authors in some cases intentionally use tosses for throes for funny effect, the copying are simply incorrect.

I had a tough time penpointing the problem. (automotive website).
This particular text is penpointing the character of Abraham … (Bible website).
Sharkman attempted to use his senses to find his opponent … but for some factor, he was being obstructed out of penpointing the precise place. (gaming website).

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Penpointing for pinpointingIn my part of the world, many speakers have a difficult time hearing the distinction between the vowel sounds in pen (rhymes with Ben) and pin (rhymes with sin). The typical reversal is to pronounce pen as pin– not the other way round. For that factor, I was puzzled when I began finding examples of the spelling penpointing.

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The “pen” in this context seems to be something called a “pen mouse” which works like a mouse, but is formed like a pen.

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