Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Fortuitous and fortunate

"Fortuitous" does not mean "fortunate". It means "by chance". In the latest edition of my wine magazine, I read:

It was truly fortuitous that the immigrants who came and made their home on this continent brought with them recipes along with wine, beer and spirit-making skills.


Clearly, this didn't happen by chance, and it was to our benefit that they brought these recipes and skills with them. I would make another correction to the sentence as well, assuming that the writer is referring to  their wine-making and beer-making skills, along with their spirit-making ones.

It was truly fortunate that the immigrants who came and made their home on this continent brought with them recipes along with wine-, beer- and spirit-making skills.


Here's an example of the correct usage of "fortuitous" taken from the Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage:

Hennessy's involvement with the musical was fortuitous rather than planned.

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