Author Archives: Bryan A. Garner

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries zetetic; *zetetick. The adjective meaning “proceeding by inquiry or investigation” is preferably spelled “zetetic” (OED & W3). The Center for Scientific Anomalies at Eastern Michigan University publishes a journal called The Zetetic Scholar, devoted to the skeptical analysis … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: yet.

yet. Part A: Beginning Sentences with. Like other coordinating conjunctions, “yet” is perfectly acceptable as a sentence-starter. It’s a rank superstition to believe otherwise. E.g.: o “Yet if a student can — and this is most difficult and unusual — … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: y’all (3).

Today: “You all.” Many speakers in the South and Southwest, even highly educated ones, use the uncontracted “you all” as the plural form of “you.” This is a convenient usage, since “you” alone can be either singular or plural — … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #176: “Who” vs. “whom”

Who vs. whom. Edward Sapir, the philosopher of language, prophesied in 1921 that “within a couple of hundred years . . . . not even the most learned jurist will be saying ‘Whom did you see?’ By that time the … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: y’all (2).

y’all (2). Today: Number. Although the traditional use of “y’all” is plural, and although many Southerners have stoutly rejected the idea that it’s ever used as a singular, there does seem to be strong evidence that it can refer to … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: y’all (1).

y’all (1). Today: Spelling. This sturdy Southernism is most logically “y’all,” not *”ya’ll.” Only the “you” of “you all” is contracted. And in modern print sources, “y’all” is ten times as common. So *”ya’ll” (which misleadingly resembles “he’ll,” “she’ll,” and … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries yogurt; *yoghurt. The Turkish loanword “yogurt” (= a thick cultured dairy product) is so spelled. *”Yoghurt,” a variant spelling common (but not dominant) in British English, is rare in American English. In fact, “yogurt” is more than 200 … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Xmas.

Xmas. This abbreviation for Christmas is popular in advertising. The prejudice against it is unfounded and unfortunate. The X is not a Roman X but a Greek chi — the first letter in “Christ” (Gk. “Christos”). “Xmas” has no connection … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: wring.

wring. Part A: Inflection: “wring/wrung/wrung.” The past-tense and past-participial forms of “wring” (= to squeeze or twist) are sometimes erroneously written “rung” — e.g.: “Cathy Turner had to guard the gold medal around her neck closely last night. If she … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #175: Just between you and ME . . .

Just between you and ME . . . The grammatical blunder *between you and I is pervasive in writing and speech generally, and legal writers are hardly immune. Writing or saying *between you and I (or *for you and I, … Continue reading

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