08 February 2008

More for the User's Guide

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything — a symptom, I'm afraid, of the beginning of the semester, about which more as I find time to write.

Meanwhile, though, I'm already making notes toward a future edition of The English Language: A User's Guide, which appeared only a few weeks ago. It'll be a while before a new edition sees the light of day, but I'm already thinking of new entries on these subjects:

  • -able versus -ible
  • among, amongst; amid, amidst
  • analysis, analyses
  • anymore v. any more
  • at the end of the day
  • author as a verb
  • brackets
  • Notes on "colloquial"
  • deconstruct
  • dependant, dependent
  • diagnosis, diagnoses
  • "going forward" as future tense marker ("We don't know what the prices will be going forward")
  • have went, must have went, and other past participle goofs
  • heroin v. heroine
  • ideology as a loose term for "thoughts" or "ideas"
  • Is all you ever ...
  • more perfect
  • not prefixes (in-, a-, un-, de-, dis-); uncomfortable but discomfort; unstable but instability
  • "philosophy" (for auto makers, &c.)
  • portray
  • quotation marks for emphasis, &c. (as in Dave Barry's example, try "our" hot dog's)
  • reference as a verb
  • sentence adverbs
  • sometime, some time, sometimes
  • takeaway (for important points)
  • 'til, till, until
  • tired metaphors:

    • from baseball: step up to the plate, eye on the ball
    • from cards: show your hand, &c.
    • from politics: fig leaf, litmus test, olive branch, send a message

Haven't figured out what I'll be saying about them, but I trust something brilliant will come to me if I just open my mind to the cosmic vibrations.

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