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

Miscellaneous Entries.

libido. Although dictionaries once recorded /li-BIY-doh/ as the preferred pronunciation, /li-BEE-doh/ is now the established preference in American English.

licorice (/LiK-uh-rish/) is the standard spelling. “Liquorice” is a variant form. This word shouldn’t be confused with its uncommon homophones, “lickerish” (= lascivious, lecherous) and “liquorish” (= tasting like liquor).

lie/lay/lain. So inflected (except when “lie” means “to utter a falsity” — see below). A murderer may “lie in wait.” Yesterday he “lay in wait.” And for several days he has “lain ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: load, n.; lode.

load, n.; lode.

Although they have similar etymologies, their meanings have fully diverged. “Load” (in its basic senses) means “a quantity that can be carried at one time” or, by extension, “a burden” {a load of work} {a load off my mind}. “Lode” carries the narrow meaning “a deposit of ore,” as well as the figurative sense “a rich source or supply.”

The correct phrase, then, is “mother lode” (= an abundant supply), not “mother load.” Although dozens of headline writers ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: literally.

literally.

“Literally” = (1) with truth to the letter; or (2) exactly; according to the strict sense of the word or words. “Literally” in the sense “truly, completely” is a slipshod extension — e.g.: “Behavioralists and postbehavioralists alike, literally or figuratively, learn what they know of science from the natural sciences, from the outside.” (Read: “Behavioralists and post-behavioralists alike learn what they know of science from the natural sciences, from the outside.”)

When used for “figuratively,” where “figuratively” would not ordinarily ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: lip-sync, vb.; lip-synch.

lip-sync, vb.; lip-synch.

To lip-sync, of course, is to move one’s lips silently in synchronization with recorded vocals, whether one’s own or someone else’s.

Although the dictionaries are split between the “sync” and “synch” forms, the incontestable leader in print is “lip-sync” by a 2-to-1 ratio. But the agent noun is “lip-syncer,” pronounced anomalously with a hard “-c-“: /LiP-sink-uhr/.

Occasionally people misunderstand the phrase and write “lip-sing” e.g.: “‘This is where freshmen and seniors together do wacky performances and where teachers lip ...

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

Miscellaneous Entries.

know, through careless error, is sometimes written “now” — e.g.: “Gempler said he didn’t now [read ‘know’] why the union produced the report.” Hannelore Sudermann, “Teamsters Attack Apple Industry Over Core Issues,” Spokesman-Rev. (Spokane), 23 July 1997, at A10.

knowledgeable. So spelled – not ‘knowledgable.’

known /nohn/ is often mispronounced /NOH-uhn/, as if it had two syllables.

kowtow (= to behave subserviently) is the standard spelling. “Kotow” is a variant form.

Ku Klux Klan. So spelled. The more thoroughly alliterative misspelling Klu Klux ...

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

like (2).
Today: “Like” as a Conjunction.

In traditional usage, “like” is a preposition that governs nouns and noun phrases, not a conjunction that governs verbs or clauses. Its function is adjectival, not adverbial. Hence one does not write, properly, “The story ended like it began,” but “The story ended as it began.” If we change the verbs to nouns, “like” is correct: “The story’s ending was like its beginning.” Frequently, then, “like” needs to be replaced by the proper ...

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

like (1).

Today: As a Preposition.

The object of a preposition should be in the objective case — you say “They are very much like us,” not “They are very much like we.” Apart from the second person (in which the form remains the same), writers often get confused on this point, as with first-person pronouns — e.g.: “She, like I [read ‘me’], instantly fell in love with his beautiful face, huge blue eyes, unusually soft fur, and gentle disposition.” ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: lifelong; livelong.

lifelong; livelong.

“Lifelong” = lasting for all or most of one’s life {Seymour’s lifelong dream was to conduct the New York Philharmonic}. Livelong = (of a time period, esp. a day or a night) whole, entire {“the eyes of Texas are upon you, all the livelong day”}. Confusion of these words isn’t as rare as it ought to be — e.g.:

o “Born in Providence, a son of the late Peter Gomes and the late Mary Fortes, he had been a ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: liable

liable.

“Liable” (= subject to or exposed to) should not be used merely for “likely.” “Liable” best refers to something the occurrence of which risks being permanent or recurrent — e.g.:

o “What you don’t know is liable to hurt you — and your building.” Maureen Patterson, “See You in Court!” Buildings, Feb. 1997, at 48.

o “Taking away any function for more than a few days is liable to result in loss of that capability.” Richard J. Ham, “After the Diagnosis,” Post ...

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

levy, v.t.

“Levy” = (1) “to impose (as a fine or a tax) by legal sanction” {the court levied a fine of $500}; (2) “to conscript for service in the military” {the troops were soon levied}; (3) “to wage (a war)” {the rebels then levied war against the government}; or (4) to take or seize (property) in execution of a judgment {the creditor may levy on the debtor’s assets}.

In sense 1, this verb is sometimes mangled through object-shuffling: “He quit hours ...

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

Miscellaneous Entries.

kindergarten. This German loanword for “children’s garden” has been in use in English since at least the mid-18th century with its foreign spelling intact. It is sometimes misspelled as if it were anglicized — e.g.: “Lexington is the largest school in the state for the profoundly deaf and hard-of-hearing, and educates students from pre-kindergarden [read ‘prekindergarten’] to age 21.” Nicole Bode, “Deaf Get into the Act,” Daily News (N.Y.), 6 June 2002, Suburban section, at 1. The word may ...

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: let’s you and I.

let’s you and I.

First, think of “let’s” (= let us). “Us” is in the objective case. Another form of the phrase (still in the objective case) would be “let you and me” (“you and me” agreeing with “us”). The construction “let you and I” is ungrammatical — and fairly rare.

But what about “let’s you and I”? That is, “let us, you and I.” This, too, is ungrammatical — “us” and “you and I” being in apposition to “us.” But ...

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