Author Archives: Bryan A. Garner

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: World Wide Web.

World Wide Web. As a proper noun, “World Wide Web” is capitalized when written out in full and when shortened to “the Web.” When combined into compound form, though, it is usually lowercase {website}. Because “the Web” is just one … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Word-Swapping.

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day Word-Swapping. It’s something like a Murphy’s Law of language: two words that can be confused will be confused. Sometimes, the more popular word will encroach on the less popular (as when “demean” took over … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Word Patronage.

Word Patronage. Word patronage is “the tendency to take out one’s words and look at them, to apologize for expressions that either need no apology or should be quietly refrained from” (Modern English Usage, 1st ed. at 733). A flourishing … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #172: What’s new in the third edition of “The Winning Brief”?

What’s new in the third edition of The Winning Brief? Answer: Hot off the presses, the 775-page third edition contains nine new sections. This new material includes tips on understanding judges’ reading habits, answering opponents’ arguments, writing effective reply briefs, … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: wont.

wont. Although Samuel Johnson reported in 1755 that this word had slipped from use, it hangs on today as a slightly whimsical way of expressing customary behavior. It is used almost exclusively as a predicate adjective {as he is wont … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries.

Miscellaneous Entries. workers’ compensation; workmen’s compensation. These words contain a plural possessive, hence “workers’” and “workmen’s” — not “worker’s” and “workman’s.” “Workers’ compensation” now predominates, doubtless because of a sensitivity to the sexism of the other. Another erroneous form is … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: womankind; *womenkind.

womankind; *womenkind. *”Womenkind” is erroneous, since “-kind” includes all the members of the sex. E.g.: o “Now she feels she’s pressured about what her roles will say to all of womenkind [read 'womankind'].” Matthew Gilbert, “Fiorentino Sees ‘Jade’ Role as … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: *without scarcely.

*without scarcely. This phrasing is an optical illusion: something of a redundancy while something of an oxymoron. Whatever it is, though, it’s illogical — e.g.: o “He shook hands without scarcely [read 'without' or 'scarcely'] noticing those who were there … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #171: “On” or “upon”?

On or upon? These prepositions are usually synonymous and used in virtually identical ways. The distinctions are primarily in tone and connotation. On — the shorter, simpler, more direct word — is generally preferable {the trial court’s decision was based … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: with.

with. “With” is increasingly being used as a quasi-conjunction to introduce a tag-on idea at the end of a sentence. The sense is close to “and” {John went to Houston and Sarah went to Minneapolis, with me going to Chicago}. … Continue reading

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