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

Miscellaneous Entries.

shareholder; stockholder; *shareowner. All three terms refer to one who owns stock in a corporation. The first is the most common, the second a fairly common equivalent, and the third so much less frequent that it has become a needless variant.

shavable. So spelled — not “shaveable.”

shave / shaved / shaved. “Shaven” exists only as a past-participial adjective {clean-shaven face}.

sheaves, n., is the plural both of “sheaf” (= a bundle) and of “sheave” (= a pulley).

shed / shed / ...

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LawProse Lesson #84

What’s the LawProse Effective Writing Index?

It’s a scale to gauge the ten most important attributes of analytical and persuasive writing. The Index — forgive us, but we use the acronym LEWI (pronounced “louie”) — measures clarity, readability, efficiency, flow, tone, and mechanics. When different lawyer-editors at LawProse independently measured various pieces of writing, the scoring spread was at most four points.

The total possible score is 100 points. When the six lawyers at LawProse recently applied the Index to ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shoo-in.

shoo-in.

“Shoo-in” (= a candidate or competitor who is sure to win), a casualism deriving from the idea of “shooing” something (as a pet), is so spelled. Yet *”shoe-in” is a frequent error — e.g.:

o “Besides being a shoe-in [read ‘shoo-in’] for the Hall of Fame, Woodson has been a model player and member of the community.” Butch Otey, “Woodson Belongs Here,” Pitt. Post-Gaz., 24 May 1997, at B3.

o “Gray . . . is considered a shoe-in [read ‘shoo-in’] for ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shirk.

shirk.

In the modern idiom, this word is almost exclusively a transitive verb, as in the cliché that someone has “shirked” his or her duties. But the misformed phrase *”shirk from” has recently emerged, probably out of confusion with “shrink from” — e.g.:

o “[Children] must have teachers who never shirk [read ‘shrink’] from challenging them to do their best.” “Motivated Children Learn,” Baltimore Sun, 18 June 1997, at A10.

o “Kennedy . . . did not shirk [read ‘shrink’] from the hard ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shine.

shine.

As a transitive verb, it’s inflected “shine / shined / shined” {he shined his shoes}. As an intransitive verb, it’s inflected “shine / shone / shone” {the sun shone}.

Writers occasionally use “shined” where “shone” is the word they want — e.g.: “And neither shined [read ‘shone’] like the oft-dormant Texas running game that has produced only two 1,000-yard rushers since Earl Campbell and none since Eric Metcalf in 1987.” Kirk Bohls, “Texas Starts from the Ground Up,” Austin Am.-Statesman, 19 ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sheath, n.; sheathe, vb.

sheath, n.; sheathe, vb.

It’s an error to use “sheathe” (rhymes with “teethe”) as a noun or “sheath” (rhymes with “teeth”) as a verb — e.g.:

o “The device features a mechanism that secures the needle, point and all, inside a plastic sheathe [read ‘sheath’] at the same time that the user withdraws it from the skin.” Jeff Hawkes, “Safer Needles Are Now Available,” Lancaster New Era, 20 Feb. 1996, at A1.

o “Madame de Sevigne’s friend, the Sun King, tamed his ...

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

Miscellaneous Entries.

sex, adj.; sexual. Both “sex discrimination” and “sexual discrimination” are widely used. The former is perhaps better, since “sexual” has come to refer more to sexual intercourse and things pertaining to it. Thus “sexual” is becoming rare in contexts not involving intercourse or the drive to engage in it. Today, “sexual education” seems to suggest something rather different from “sex education” — e.g.: “Family planning officials at MexFam said they hope that this legislation will improve the quality of ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: share.

share.

This word appears in various redundant phrases, such as *"share in common," *"share together," and *"both share" — e.g.:

o “Elway and Dan Marino have been playing contract leapfrog with Elway always getting the last leap. They both share [read ‘have’] the same agent, Marvin Demoff of Los Angeles, and that’s the way he’s always done it, ever since they were rookies.” Joseph Sanchez, “Tom Dempsey’s Record 63-Yarder Turns 25,” Denver Post, 5 Nov. 1995, Sports §, at C3.

o “This is ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shape / shaped / shaped.

shape / shaped / shaped.

The archaic past participle “shapen” exists only in the forms “misshapen,” “ill-shapen,” and “well-shapen.” The latter two, though much less common than “misshapen,” still occur — e.g.:

o “At the back of the restaurant, the Pinup Lounge pays homage to Vargas Girls, those idealized images of well-shapen women painted by Alberto Vargas during and after World War II and for years afterwards.” Matt Kelley, “Runza Pioneer Sitting Back in the Saddle,” Omaha World-Herald, 28 May 1995, ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shanghai, v.t.

shanghai, v.t.

As a verb, “shanghai” means (1) to drug or otherwise make insensible and then abduct for service on a ship needing crew members; or (2) to influence by fraud or compulsion. The inflected forms are “shanghaied” and “shanghaiing.”

“Shanghai” has its origin in the slang of 19th-century San Francisco. When gold was discovered in California, many sailors deserted their ships in the San Francisco Bay to seek their fortunes in the goldfields. So ship captains constantly needed new crewmen, willing ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shall; will.

shall; will.

Grammarians formerly relied on the following paradigm, which now has little utility: to express simple futurity, “I shall,” “you will,” “he will,” “we shall,” “you will,” “they will”; to express determination, promise, or command, “I will,” “you shall,” “he shall,” “we will,” “you shall,” “they shall.”

But with only minor exceptions, “will” has become the universal word to express futurity, regardless of whether the subject is in the first, second, or third person. “Shall” is now mostly restricted to two ...

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

Miscellaneous Entries.

service was once only a noun, but since the late 19th century it has been used as a transitive verb as well. It may mean “to provide service for” {the mechanic serviced the copying machine}, “to pay interest on” {to service a debt}, or generally “to perform services for.” Ordinarily, the verb “to serve” ought to be used in broad senses. “Service,” v.t., should be used only if the writer believes that “serve” would not be suitable in idiom ...

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