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

Miscellaneous Entries. 

*withal is an archaism for “besides,” “nevertheless,” “still,” “with,” or “therewith.” E.g.: “There is, withal [read ‘nevertheless’], much to admire in these memoirs and in the diplomacy they recount.” David C. Hendrickson, “White House Years,” Foreign Affairs, 19 Sept. 1997, at 223. wither is misused for “whither” in the following title: John Darnton, “In Tory Vote, It’s Not Just ‘Wither Major?’ but ‘Wither Britain?'” N.Y. Times, 2 July 1995, at 6. Because Britain was, at the time the article appeared, withering under an unusual heat wave — the worst since 1976 — this might seem to be a joke. But the misusage was in 24-point type. within sometimes leads to illogic in announcing scores — e.g.: “The play set up Michael Reeder’s fourth field goal to bring TCU to within 20-19.” Suzanne Halliburton, “Welcome Back,” Austin Am.-Statesman, 19 Nov. 1995, at C8. TCU was not “within” 20-19, but right at it. “Within” (not “to within”) would work in that sentence if the preposition had a different object, e.g., “within a field goal,” or (to avoid the repetition) “within a single point.” with the object of [+ vb. + -ing] is verbose for a simple infinitive, e.g., “with the object of preventing” in place of “to prevent.” witness forms the possessive “witness’s.” wolf. The plural is “wolves.” wolfish; *wolvish. The first is standard; the second is a needless variant. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “I’ve cut some of my favorite stuff. I have no compassion when it comes to cutting. No pity, no sympathy. Some of my dearest and most beloved bits of writing have gone with a very quick slash, slash, slash . . . . Cutting leads to economy, precision, and a vastly improved script.” Paddy Chayefsky (as quoted in John Brady, The Craft of the Screenwriter: Interviews with Six Celebrated Screenwriters 55 (1982)).
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