Enormity, mistakes and Mr. Obama

In 2008, on winning the presidential election, Mr. Barack Obama spoke about the “enormity” (la enormidad de) of the tasks that he faced (to face a task – hacer frente a una tarea). His speech writer showed his complete (mostró una falta completa de su dominio del ingles) lack of command of English. Why?

Enormity” means a deviation from moral or legal rectitude, (una desviación de rectitud), and relates to great wickedness (maldad) or crimes.

In reality, Mr. Obama wanted to refer to the big issues in the economy, Afghanistan, and some social issues rather than some moral depravities (depravaciónes) in American society, or wicked actions that he was contemplating.

The correct phrase should have been “the enormousness of the tasks” or “the enormous tasks”.

In Spanish the word enormidad covers both “enormity” and “enormousness”, but in English you have to be careful if you wish to communicate clearly.