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

Miscellaneous Entries.

statistics = (1) the mathematics of collecting and analyzing numerical data; or (2) numerical data. Sense 1 is singular {statistics is an exacting discipline}. Sense 2 is plural {the statistics aren’t yet in}.

status (/STAT-uhs/ or /STAY-tuhs/) forms the plural "statuses" (or, in Latin, "status"), not *"stati."

status quo; status quo ante; *status in quo. "Status quo" means "the state of affairs at present"; hence *"current status quo" is a redundancy. "Status quo ante" (= the state of affairs at a previous time) is generally confined to legal contexts. (So are the adverbial latinisms "in statu quo" and "in statu quo ante," both meaning "in the same state of affairs as existed earlier.") *"Status in quo" is an archaic variant of "status quo."

*statutory legislation is a redundancy — e.g.: "Only after the Civil War did statutory legislation [read 'statutes' or 'legislation'] become widespread, replacing common law." Janet Pearson, "Roe vs. Wade," Tulsa World, 26 Jan. 1997, at G1.

*Invariably inferior forms.

For information about the Language-Change Index, click here.

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Quotation of the Day: "The meanings of words change in time through usage — or, more accurately, through misusage, since accurate usage would of course stabilize the status quo." Warren Weaver, "The Case of the Wayward Words" (1960), in Words, Words, Words About Dictionaries 3, 7 (Jack C. Gray ed., 1963).

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