I'm trying to fix this sentence:

There's a lot of poor word and phrase choice that is either redundant, in the wrong register, or flatly ungrammatical.

The problem is that the compound "either redundant, in the wrong register, or flatly ungrammatical" isn't parallel because the prep. phrase "in the wrong register" is being joined with two simple adjectives.

Is there a plain adjective that means "in the wrong register" to replace it with?

  • Inapt or inappropriate?
    – deadrat
    Nov 24, 2015 at 19:45
  • 1
    I don't see what's wrong with ..choice that is .. 1) redundant, 2) in the wrong register, 3) flatly ungrammatical. Seems parallel to me.
    – Jim
    Nov 24, 2015 at 19:59
  • It is parallel. If you want to replace "in the wrong register" with a simpler phrase, you could say "either redundant, too shrill, or flatly ungrammatical," for example.
    – user66965
    Nov 24, 2015 at 20:41
  • @surlawda I thought that a PP would have to be joined with other PP for the compound to be parallel.
    – William
    Nov 24, 2015 at 20:54
  • Not at all. If the prepositional phrase functions as an adjective, which it does in this case, it may then be included on a list of any number of adjectives, whether they are single words or longer phrases. Some prepositional phrases act as adverbs (for example, "he went there in a car," in which "in a car" explains how he traveled), but here the phrase clearly is descriptive: redundant, in the wrong register, and flatly ungrammatical are three qualities that characterize the word choice.
    – user66965
    Nov 24, 2015 at 21:00

3 Answers 3


There is such an adjective:

misregistered, adj.
Wrongly or imperfectly registered ....

["misregistered, adj.". OED Online. September 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/254881?redirectedFrom=misregistered (accessed November 24, 2015).]

The word has some drawbacks for your use: (1) in linguistics, 'register' is used imprecisely to start, so use of 'misregistered' in linguistics tends to emphasize that original defect; (2) 'misregistered' is commonly and appropriately applied to imperfectly aligned printing, a use where the term is precise rather than vague and ill-defined or multiply defined.


Consider the adjective malapropos

Definition: in an inappropriate or inopportune way; awkward or improper.


Perhaps because of some music background, I think first of dissonant, but that leads down the synonym path to:

incongruous -

out of keeping or place; inappropriate; unbecoming

There's also tone-deaf if you want to be particularly judgemental about how discordant the phrasing is. Incongrous is a rather mild criticism.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.