The First Third Wednesday – Overdoing the Overdue Work

Update:  08/15/2013 – So now you know why I’m a writer, not a mathematician.  It seems I can’t even count off weeks on the calendar.  Next week, on the real third Wednesday of August, I’ll post the article I planned for this week.

A consistent problem I see in manuscripts, news articles, and yes, in published books, is misuse of words.  Some of these mistakes can be attributed to relying on spell-check to know which version of sound-alike words we intended to write.  For some reason we’ve given a high level of trust to a piece of software that really can’t know what we’re trying to express.  When our spell-check program auto-corrects our sentence, or makes a suggestion, it needs to be weighed against context, and balanced with our own knowledge of words.  (What ever happened to reading the dictionary on cold winter evenings, lemon tea in hand, snuggled under a fleecy blanket?)

It’s been on my mind for a long time to run a simple word-use post every month.  So here we go – our first look at the most misused words.

It’s easy to confuse OVERDO with OVERDUE.  They sound almost exactly alike.  But their meanings are completely different.


OVERDO – do too much, or exaggerate to the point of spoiling the effect.

On Monday mornings physicians see many weekend warriors who overdo exercise and work for two days, and suffer physical pain from their efforts.

When Gramps overdoes the compliments, Granny recognizes his tell that he’s done something for which he’ll end up apologizing.


OVERDUE – delayed or past a set time for payment or delivery.

Bob Cratchett’s report was overdue, putting the company’s tax returns at risk.

Pamela grew crankier every day her baby was overdue that summer. 

The gas company disconnected service to the mayor’s house because of ten months of overdue bills.


Here’s another look at OVERDO and OVERDUE.


I hate to call your attention to it, but you are overdo at work by almost an hour.

She tends to overdue her emotional reaction in every scene while she’s on stage.



Sheila didn’t want to overdo her good deeds for the day, but she decided it wouldn’t hurt to return Mrs. Beebaum’s overdue library book while she was in town.


Of course, the way to cement these words into your consciousness is to use them the correctly as soon as possible.  There’s no overdue date for this exercise, so you won’t have to overdo your writing this week.