WRONG:

RIPE WITH


RIGHT:

RIFE WITH



Some people say “ripe with” where traditional speakers would say “rife with.”


“Rife” meaning “abundant” was originally a word which could have positive, negative, or neutral meanings but when followed by “with” its use gradually narrowed to mostly negative meanings: “the town is rife with nasty rumors.”


“Ripe” meaning “ready” is more often followed by “for” and is most frequently used in positive contexts: “this area is ripe for development.” The image is of a fruit ripe for picking.


“Ripe with opportunity” can pass without notice and “rife” would be wrong in this context, but “ripe with” sounds odd to most of us in more negative contexts such as “the government was ripe with corruption.”


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