Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Let’s Cut to the Chase About Chastain Park

Date: 06 March 2018
Category: Current Events, Homophones, Spelling, Word Derivations

The local newspaper must have hired a new out-of-towner to write content for photo captions: today’s edition featured a picture of strollers at the landmark Chasten (sic) Park. In addition to being a super venue for outdoor concerts, the 268-acre Chastain Park is the largest city green space in Atlanta, featuring jogging paths, playgrounds, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool, and a horse park.

We’re not here to chasten (admonish/rebuke/punish/chide) the writer for his or her misspelling (methinks SpellCheck overrode the typist), but to point out the etymology and definitions of a few similar sounding, similarly spelled words:


These three related verbs are derived from the Latin verb, castigare, meaning “to punish” severely and physically. Today these words portend a verbal dressing-down.

Chaste, on the other hand, does not have any connection to chasten etymologically-speaking. Rather, its meaning of “celibate” or “modest” comes from the Latin word for “pure.”

Meanwhile, back at Chastain Park, who knows, those strollers photographed above may have, during the course of their walk, spotted a squirrel or two being chased by a frisky dog.

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