Grammar Grappler #18: Are you running the gauntlet or running the gamut?

This confusing phrase pair was not even on my RADAR until a reader brought it up. And, when I found out what running the gauntlet really means, I was appalled. I definitely won’t be using that expression again. 

The saying running the gauntlet originated as an ancient form of punishment in which a person ran back and forth between two rows of people while being beaten with rods and stones. Today people say they have been running the gauntlet when they have been busy dividing their time and running back and forth between a couple of big projects and deadlines and are exhausted from the busyness.

Running the gamut means you are covering an entire range of possibilities. For example,

The levels of membership in the school’s Booster Club run the gamut from the basic general membership to receiving all-sports passes, chair-back seats, and priority parking spaces.


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