There are certain words whose continual misuse drives grammar enthusiasts crazy. One such mangling occurs any time someone refers to an event with a distinguished speaker.
Here’s a typical sentence you might see or hear at such a time:
The speaker walked up to the podium.
When you read that sentence, what do you picture?
Chances are good that you’re imagining someone walking up to a speaking stand to which a microphone might be mounted. This stand may contain the speaker’s notes and perhaps even a glass of water.
Is that what you think of when you see the word podium?
If so, you’re part of the problem.
A podium is the raised platform on which the speaker stands. As Mrs. B, the grammar expert over at Newsblues suggests, the word podium should lead you to think of podiatrist, the doctor that specializes in feet.
That fancy — or not-so-fancy — piece of furniture that stands solidly on the podium is a lectern.
There. I said it.
And people will continue to get it wrong every single day. But at least now, you’ll spot the mistake, too.