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

Miscellaneous Entries. waiting in line; waiting on line. The former is the standard American English expression. The latter is a regionalism in the Northeast, especially in New York. Although some might think that it’s the product of the computer age (i.e., being “online”), in fact it dates back to the 19th century. wake; awake; awaken. The past-tense and past-participial forms of “wake” and its various siblings are perhaps the most vexing in the language. Following are the preferred declensions: “wake / woke / waked (or woken)”; “awake / awoke / awaked (or awoken)”; “awaken / awakened / awakened”; “wake up / woke up / waked up.” For the past participle, American English prefers “waked”; British English prefers “woken.” wallet; billfold. The traditional distinction is that a wallet holds paper money unfolded and contains compartments for coins and the like, whereas a billfold (as the name suggests) holds it folded and does not contain extra compartments. But wallets now fold, so most people use the words interchangeably. And “billfold” is largely seen as sex-specific for males. walrus. The plural is “walruses.” wane; wax. “Wane” = to decrease in strength or importance. “Wax” (= [1] to increase in strength or importance; or [2] to become) is used primarily (in sense 1) as a correlative of “wane” {her influence waxed and waned}. In sense 2, it appears in clichés such as “to wax poetic,” “eloquent,” etc. wash /wahsh/ is frequently mispronounced with an intrusive “-r-“: /wahrsh/. Language-Change Index — “wash” mispronounced /wahrsh/: Stage 2. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “They who read well-written books will expand their mental powers; they who read poorly written books will lessen their own ability to think in straight lines and to express themselves clearly.” Edward N. Teall, Books and Folks 127 (1921).
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