Category Archives: Uncategorized

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: your.

your. “Your,” the possessive form of the second person, is sometimes misused for “you’re,” the contraction of “you are.” Often, as in the second example below, the error is that of the journalist who reports speech: o “Just saying your … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #177: “Whoever” vs. “whomever.”

Whoever vs. whomever. Like who and whom, whoever and whomever can be tricky for both lawyers and nonlawyers. Here are a few guidelines that should help: If the word completing the syntax after -ever is a verb, and the -ever … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: you can’t eat your cake and have it too; you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

you can’t eat your cake and have it too; you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The second phrasing, now the more common one, is sometimes stigmatized: “The first form makes sense: once you’ve eaten the damned thing, … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: yoke; yolk.

yoke; yolk. “Yoke” = (1) a twice-curved, usu. wooden beam with U-shaped brackets beneath to enclose the necks of two oxen or other draft animals {after a struggle, the oxen were fitted into the yoke}; or (2) a pair of … Continue reading

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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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