Monthly Archives: November 2012

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: *sooner rather than later.

*sooner rather than later. Not only is this idiom redundant; it isn't entirely logical because the comparison is never completed. Sooner and not later than what? "Soon" is usually an improvement — e.g.: o "If so, that could dampen fears … 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. solo. The plural is solos — preferably not *soli. soluble; solvable. Soluble is usually applied to dissolvable substances, whereas solvable is usually applied to problems. But soluble is also sometimes used in reference to problems; this usage is … Continue reading

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

sometime (2). Today: Two More Uses. Part A: As an Adjective Meaning "former." This is a slightly archaic sense of "sometime": "my sometime companion." The word does not properly signify "on-again-off-again" or "occasional" — as it appears to in the … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #97: “Between” vs. “among”

Is it ever proper to use between when expressing a relation with more than two things? ANSWER: Yes. Good writers commonly use between when referring to more than two things that have reciprocal relations. It’s a common superstition that you … Continue reading

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

sometime (1). Today: And "some time." "Sometime" = at an indefinite or unspecified time; esp., at a time in the future {we'll see each other sometime}. "Some time" = quite a while {they spent some time together}. The difference may … Continue reading

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

solicit (1). Today: For “elicit.” To “solicit” a response is to request it. To “elicit” a response is to get it. But some writers confuse the two, usually by misusing “solicit” for “elicit” — e.g.: “‘The way the question was … Continue reading

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

Miscellaneous Entries. *software program. Avoid this redundancy. Either word will do, though “software” will usually be the better choice because it’s the narrower term. solace (= comfort in sorrow or trouble; relief from distress) should not be used merely as … Continue reading

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LawProse Lesson #96

What’s the best way to build your vocabulary? Why is it a good idea to do so?  ANSWER: First, keep a vocabulary notebook. Jot down every unfamiliar word that you encounter, look it up in a reliable dictionary, and copy … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: solely.

Like “only,” this word is sometimes misplaced syntactically — e.g.: “Orick said that although the educational programs are sponsored by Purdue University, they are not solely related [read 'related solely'] to preservation of agricultural farmlands.” Welton W. Harris II, “Land-Use … Continue reading

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