Monthly Archives: January 2012

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Remote Relatives (2).

Remote Relatives (2). Today: With “that,” “who,” and “whose.” Remote relatives (relative-pronoun construction separated from their antecedents) are most common with “which” clauses. But other relatives get their share. The relative pronoun “that” is almost as troublesome, and when used … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Remote Relatives (1).

Remote Relatives (1). Today: Generally. “Every relative word which is used shall instantly present its antecedent to the mind of the reader, without the least obscurity.” Hugh Blair, Lectures on Rhetoric 65 (Grenville Kleiser ed., 1911). Surprisingly few modern grammarians … Continue reading

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

Miscellaneous Entries. registrant /REJ-i-struhnt/ does not rhyme, in the final syllable, with “restaurant.” Yet somehow, within the influential Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., the pervasive pronunciation is /REJ-i-stront/, with a moderately strong final syllable. regulable (/REG-yuh-luh-buhl/) = able … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: remorselessly.

remorselessly. Part A: And “unremorsefully.” These two terms are essentially equivalent. “Remorselessly” is far more common and somewhat more pejorative. Part B: Mistakenly Made *”remorsely.” Although “remorsely”* isn’t recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary or other dictionaries, some writers have … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Language-Change Index

Language-Change Index. The third edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage reflects several new practices. Invariably inferior forms, for example, are now marked with asterisks preceding the term or phrase, a marking common in linguistics. The most interesting new feature is … Continue reading

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

Miscellaneous Entries. refugee; evacuee. “Refugee” (= one who flees home to seek safety) originally denoted French Huguenots who fled to England in the late 1680s to escape religious persecution. The word has another (rare) sense, denoting a fugitive on the … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: relative to.

relative to. “Relative to” (= in relation to; in comparison with) is, in Eric Partridge’s words, “gobbledygook” (Usage & Abusage at 263). Though that pronouncement is a bit strong, the phrase can be easily replaced to good advantage — e.g.: … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reiterate, -tion; iterate, -tion.

reiterate, -tion; iterate, -tion. It is perhaps not too literalistic to use “iterate” in the sense “to repeat,” and “reiterate” in the sense “to repeat a second time [i.e., to state a third time].” But the distinction is observed by … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rein; reign (3).

rein; reign (3). Today: “reign supreme.” As further evidence of Murphy’s Law at work, the opposite error (‘rein’ for ‘reign’) occurs as well — e.g.: o “His rein [read 'reign'] as Fort Meade’s tobacco-chewing, play-calling leader ended abruptly in September … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rein; reign(2).

rein; reign (2). Today: “hold the reins.” “Rein” and “reign” are also confused in the noun forms: one holds the “reins,” not the “reigns.” E.g.: o “Ron Low has a hold of the Oilers’ reigns [read 'reins'] for now, but … Continue reading

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