Changing Words and a Good Reference

pencil and paper

I’ve posted before the idea that as words go from being considered unacceptable (like “irregardless”) to being completely acceptable (like “finalize”), there are at least two phases. I talked about the phases in the earlier post, so I won’t bother now.

Tomorrow, my copy of the third edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage will arrive at my door. Of course, I’m much more excited than a normal person would be about a usage guide. But that’s part of my quirky charm.

Garner obviously read my previous post, because the new edition contains a “Language-Change Index.” This index places words in one of five categories, presumably going from “really bad” all the way to “beyond reasonable reproach” (though we can always rely on some people to wag a finger).

For those of you fighting the “hopefully” wars (The Good Guys / The Bad Guys), I think Garner’s pretty much resigned to fate. Again, he obviously read my blog post on the matter.

As for semicolons, we’ll all just have to wait and see. (Yes, my opinion has been stated many times.)

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