October 20, 2016 1:34 pm
Updated: October 22, 2016 8:54 am

Donald Trump’s grammar, vocabulary makes debate-watchers ‘cringe’

Donald Trump definitely has a way with words.


Donald Trump may claim to “know words” and “have the best words,” but his final debate performance suggests otherwise.

Global News
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The grammar police were out in full force during Trump’s third face off with Hillary Clinton (whom he called a “nasty woman“). United under hashtags like #TrumpGrammar and #GrammarMatters, irate viewers were happy to live-tweet Trump’s mistakes.

Others turned to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary in droves, desperate to decipher what the heck he was saying.

Trump has perplexed people with his words (like “braggadocious“) before. But his colourful language Wednesday night had wordsmiths at Merriam-Webster working overtime as they tracked people’s top debate queries.

Even Clinton tried to clear up some confusion, when she offered to “translate” one of Trump’s long rants.

“You can’t,” he told her.

WATCH: “Let me translate that, if I can.”

We’ve rounded up six of the top doozies below that, as Trump likes to say, were just “wrong.”

1. Hombre vs. ombre

The man who previously described Mexicans as rapists hammered home his strong stance on security by saying the “hombres” need to be kicked out.

WATCH: ‘We have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out,’ Trump said.

Hombre, is the Spanish term for “man.” However, some seemed to confuse it with “ombré,” which is a way of colouring hair.

You can expect to see “bad ombre” Halloween costumes this year.

Merriam-Webster saw a 120,000 per cent spike in searches for the word after Trump used it.

So staff was forced to write an explainer.

Ombre is also a “three-handed card game popular in Europe” in the 17th and 18th centuries, according to the online dictionary.

2. Aleppo vs. “a lepo”

Believe it or not, Wednesday’s debate was not the first time people had to search “what is Aleppo?” (It also wasn’t the first time people wondered whether Trump knows where Aleppo is).

What’s even more unfortunate is that more people wanted to know what “a lepo” is.

As Trump likes to say: sad.

3. Bigly vs. big league

Both of these are actual terms. Bigly means “large in size.”

His son, Eric Trump, said in September his father says “big league.”

It’s become a big buzzword for Trump.

4. Swatches vs. swaths

Trump argued “Russia took over vast swatches of land.”

What he probably meant is “swaths.”

Swatches are what you look at if you want to choose a paint colour.

Look-ups for “swatch” were up 34,100 per cent, the folks at Merriam-Webster told Global News.

5. Adverbs

We all know Trump loves his superlatives.

“People that are very much smarter” and “very much better” were just a couple of his word choices to be mocked on Twitter.

6. Pronouns

He could also use a refresher on pronouns.

“Because her and Obama created this huge vacuum,” Trump said during the third presidential debate.

It should be “she and Obama.”

Trump’s grammar record

Could it be that Trump’s butchering of the English language is just a way to connect with his base?

His supporters make more spelling and grammar mistakes than fans of any other candidate, Grammarly found last fall.

The proof-reading service looked at Facebook comments on the 19 initial presidential candidates’ pages. Fans of Republicans made more mistakes than Democrats.

When campaign speeches were analyzed by Carnegie Mellon University, researchers noted most candidates spoke at a level typical of Grade 6 to 8 students, “though Donald Trump tends to lag behind the others.”

His vocabulary and grammar are reflective of kids between the ages of 11 and 14, yet apparently still better George W. Bush.


Trump’s tweets are often filled with mistakes.

In July, for example, he wrote: “Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, there blood, sweat and tears was a total waist of time.”

He deleted the tweet. Then a few days later, he was called out for these three errors in a 21-word sentence:

On the bright side, at least Trump is indirectly putting the spotlight on language — and on what Aleppo is.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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