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-esque

-esque   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
99 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

.... This suffix—meaning “like, resembling”—almost always creates a solid word, as in romanesque , Rubenesque , statuesque . E.g.: “One could almost see the Clintonesque curling and biting of the lip for dramatic effect.” “New Democrats and New Laborites,” Omaha World-Herald , 20 Nov. 1997 , at 28. Of course, given the suffix's meaning, it's wrong to add -like to the end of such a word—e.g.: “A man painted in white stands on a pedestal striking various statuesque-like [read statue-like or statuesque ] poses.” Alan Byrd , “Will the Real Key West...

-ize

-ize   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
135 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...; -ise . Adding the suffix -ize (or -ise in BrE) to an adjective or noun is one of the most frequently used ways of forming new verbs. Many verbs so formed are unobjectionable—e.g.: authorize , baptize , familiarize , recognize , sterilize , and symbolize . The religious leader Norman Vincent Peale helped popularize (ahem) the suffix in the mid-20th century: “‘ Picturize , prayerize , and actualize ’ was Peale's key formula.” Tim Stafford , “God's Salesman,” Christianity Today , 21 June 1993 , at 35. But neologisms ending in -ize are...

quadri-

quadri-   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
273 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...figure). And 20th-century word coiners have devised words such as quadraphonic (= of, relating to, or involving a sound system with four loudspeakers) and quadrathlon (= an athletic contest involving four events). But in one word especially— quadriplegia —the medial -i- is sometimes wrongly made -a- . About 10% of the time in print, the misspelling ✳quadraplegia appears—e.g.: “The sudden bending of the neck . . . can lead to spinal cord injury and permanent paralysis of both arms and legs (known as quadraplegia [read quadriplegia ]).” G. Timothy...

Hybrids

Hybrids   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
500 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...composed of morphemes from different languages (such as teleprinter [Gk. tele- + OF preint ]), became quite common in the 20th century. In fact, they have existed for a very long time in English: grandfather (dating from the 15th century) has a French prefix and an English root; bicycle (dating from the mid-19th century) has a Latin prefix and a Greek root. One occasionally finds hybrids criticized in older literature—e.g.: • “ Ize and ist ‘are Greek terminations, and cannot properly be added to Anglo-Saxon words. Ist is the substantive form, ...

Comparatives and Superlatives

Comparatives and Superlatives   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
769 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...and superlatives are formed by either (1) adding the suffixes -er and -est (e.g., broader, broadest ), typically when the adjective is one or two syllables; or (2) using the additional words more and most (e.g., more critical, most critical ), a form required with words having three or more syllables and typical with two-syllable words. It was once possible to write interestinger and honestest , but no longer. Several words have a choice of forms (e.g., commoner, -est or more, most common ; tranquil(l)er, -est or more, most tranquil ;...

Sound of Prose

Sound of Prose   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
485 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

... conference , where conferees [read legislators ] will try to reconcile differences.” Susie T. Parker , “Energy Bill Faces Possible Sinking, DOE Aide Warns,” Oil Daily , 16 July 1992 , at 1. • “If you’re getting the impression [read idea ] we weren't impressed with our $20,000 test truck, you’re right.” Tom Incantalupo , “Pickup Was Hard Ride,” Newsday (N.Y.), 24 Feb. 1995 , at C6. • “It set aside $3.25 million . . . to cover expected losses from liquidating [read selling ] liquid crystal display screens and other assets left over from the...

Commercialese

Commercialese   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
276 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...mind-numbing wads of verbiage—e.g.: “All stereotyped words [that] are not used in talking should be avoided in letter writing. There is an idea that a certain peculiar commercial jargon is appropriate in business letters. The fact is, nothing injures business more than this system of words found only in business letters. The test of a word or phrase or method of expression should be, ‘Is it what I would say to my customer if I were talking to him instead of writing to him?’” Sherwin Cody , How to Do Business by Letter 20 (19th ed. 1908 ). Cf. obscurity...

Double Modals

Double Modals   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
374 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...✳may will ✳shouldn't ought to ✳might can ✳should ought ✳might could ✳used to could These phrases are not uncommon in regional dialect —especially in the South—but they do not belong in standard english and rarely appear in print. E.g.: “Although I have only spent one day on the water at Lay Lake, and interviewed perhaps 20 percent of the field, I still believe I might can [read might ] get pretty close.” Steve Bowman , “Expect the Unexpected When Classic Title on Line,” Ark. Democrat-Gaz . , 8 Aug. 1996 , at C4. The problem with most double modals,...

Phrasal Adjectives

Phrasal Adjectives   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
2,154 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...two milliseconds, the reader adjusts to see that much-argued-over is a phrasal adjective modifying issue .) • “O’Neill is serving a 20- to 40-year state prison sentence in Dallas, Luzerne County, for a Northampton County conviction in 1994 on statutory rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of minors charges .” Bob Laylo , “Children Testify on Sex Ring Abuse,” Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.), 20 Sept. 1996 , at B1. (Read either statutory-rape, involuntary-deviant-sexual-intercourse, and corruption-of-minors charges or [better] ...

Passive Voice

Passive Voice   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
1,204 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...thing being acted on. • When the passive simply sounds better. Still, professional editors find that these six situations account for only about 15% to 20% of the contexts in which the passive appears. That means you ought to have a presumption against the passive, unless it falls into one of the categories just listed. B. The Double Passive. The problem here is using one passive immediately after another. E.g.: • “This document refers to the portion of the votes entitled to be cast by virtue of membership in the union.” (Votes are not entitled to be cast...

Ergative Verbs

Ergative Verbs   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
572 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...rumor spread quickly throughout the office> or even to create mystery <the door slammed shut behind them> . C. Misuses. Sometimes writers ill-advisedly give transitive verbs intransitive uses as if the verbs were ergative—e.g.: “Even the Infamous Could Redeem Were Jesus Here, Book Says,” Austin Am.-Statesman , 30 July 1994 , at A20. This headline writer showed enough sophistication to use the subjunctive were (for a condition contrary to fact) but confused the passive to be redeemed with the active to redeem . Likewise, in standard english the...

Danglers

Danglers   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
1,866 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

..., “John McClain's NFL Report,” Houston Chron . , 7 Dec. 1997 , at 24. For an arguable example, see except ( b ) . F. Ending Sentences with Danglers. Traditionally, grammarians frowned on all danglers, but during the 20th century they generally loosened the strictures for a participial construction at the end of a sentence. Some early-20th-century grammarians might have disapproved of the following sentences, but such sentences have long been considered acceptable: • “Sarah stepped to the door, looking for her friend.” • “Tom's arm hung useless, broken...

Punctuation

Punctuation   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
7,703 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...But the practice has been out of fashion since the early 20th century, and today it's considered incorrect—e.g.: “Whether or not the shoes were bought at our store, [omit the comma] is not something we have yet been able to ascertain.”/ “Only if this were true, [omit the comma] could it be said that John F. Kennedy was a great president.” Even those who understand this principle are sometimes tempted to place a comma after a compound element that doesn't require one. Avoid the temptation—e.g.: “Teachers who do not have a Ph.D., a D.M.A., or an M.A., [omit...

Dates

Dates   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
859 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...taken to making adjectives out of dates, just as they do out of place names—e.g.: “His July 1998 book contract resulted in a record advance.” The more traditional rendering of the sentence would be: “In his book contract of July 1998 , he received a record advance.” Although occasionally using dates adjectivally is a space-saver, the device should not be overworked: it gives prose a breezy look. And the practice is particularly clumsy when the day as well as the month is given—e.g.: “The court reconsidered its July 12, 2001 privilege order.” Stylists who...

Synesis

Synesis   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
784 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

.... ( See number of .) Another example occurs when a unit of measure has a collective sense. It can be plural in form but singular in sense—e.g.: “ Three-fourths is a smaller quantity than we had expected.”/ “ Two pounds of shrimp is all I need.” If these constructions are grammatically safe, similar constructions involving collective nouns are somewhat more precarious. The rule consistently announced in 20th-century grammars is as follows: “Collective nouns take sometimes a singular and sometimes a plural verb. When the persons or things denoted are...

Possessives

Possessives   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
2,753 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...is to Esterhazy alone. Otherwise, the wording would be both of whom . L. Units of Time or Value. The idiomatic possessive should be used with periods of time and statements of worth—hence 30 days’ notice (i.e., notice of 30 days), three days’ time , 20 dollars’ worth , and several years’ experience . E.g.: • “Under Japanese law, 10 judges of the 15-member Supreme Court, the nation's top court, must be legal experts with at least 10 years experience [read 10 years’ experience ].” “Japanese Supreme Court May Soon Seat 1st Woman,” Ariz. Daily Star , 15...

Double Bobbles

Double Bobbles   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
526 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...poor and should be replaced by is composed of , is made up of , or comprises . See comprise ( a ) . Sometimes, however, the writer wanting the incorrect comprise seizes upon a doubly incorrect word, compromise —e.g.: • “The nation's 1.1 million secular Jews, those born Jewish but practicing no religion, compromise [read make up ] 20 percent of the core Jewish population.” “A Portrait of Jews in America,” Numbers News (Am. Demographics, Inc.), Jan. 1994 , at 4. • “Women compromise [read make up ] 60 percent of the 400,000 California adults...

Spelling

Spelling   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
1,361 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...for various reasons. Sometimes a word seems to be analogous to another in its formation but for etymological reasons isn't (e.g., one word ends in -tuous , another -tious ). Or related words may have been borrowed from a source language at different times (e.g., 13th-century feme sole but 20th-century femme fatale ). Then again, it could be that two loanwords that seem to have similar properties aren't at all analogous (e.g., the sing.–pl. Latin pairs fungus–fungi and apparatus–apparatus , the latter being a fourth-declension noun—and apparatuses ...

Diacritical Marks

Diacritical Marks   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
907 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...the diaeresis in place of old-fashioned hyphens (or nothing at all). While most American dictionaries recommend cooperate , The New Yorker insists on coöperate —e.g.: “I think if people are open and coöperate you get there faster.” Ken Auletta , “Beauty and the Beast,” New Yorker , 16 Dec. 2002 , at 65, 70. Other examples of the diaeresis emerge frequently in that magazine—e.g.: • “The postmodern enterprise was even more radical: to resist absorption or coöptation by an all-absorbing, all- coöpting System.” Jonathan Franzen , “Mr. Difficult,”...

Pronouns

Pronouns   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
1,916 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...fee on our electric bills. Boiling it down, our city charges you and I [read me ] for the electric company to use our city easements.” “WT Should Be Appreciated,” Canyon News , 20 Aug. 1995 , at 4. (Consistency isn't always a virtue.) • “Choice is available to I [read me ], a member of Congress.” Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, U.S. News Debate Series, PBS, 20 Oct. 1995 . • “As for we [read us ] poor slobs who were out of the loop—any loop—we did what Dallasites had always done: We took it on faith that the city was virtually...

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