Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries yogurt; *yoghurt. The Turkish loanword “yogurt” (= a thick cultured dairy product) is so spelled. *”Yoghurt,” a variant spelling common (but not dominant) in British English, is rare in American English. In fact, “yogurt” is more than 200 times as common as *”yoghurt” in American print sources. *”Yoghourt” and *”yogourt” are likewise variant spellings best avoided. yuck; yuk. The standard words for expressing distaste are “yuck” and “yucky,” not the yuckier forms *”yuk” and *”yukky.” zeitgeist. Though originally capitalized as a German noun, this word is now fully naturalized and should be lowercased and printed in roman type in both American and British English. zero. When used as an adjective (as it rarely is), “zero” should modify a plural noun, not a singular one. The only number that takes a singular noun is “one.” E.g.: “In 1985, New York City had 71 days that were out of compliance with the EPA standard for carbon monoxide; that number declined to two days in 1991 and zero day [read ‘zero days’ or ‘no days’] last year.” Gregg Easterbrook, “Winning the War on Smog,” Newsweek, 23 Aug. 1993, at 29. The plural is “zeros,” not *”zeroes” — although “zeroes” is the correct verb form. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “Excessive alliteration is one of the worst offences against ease, not only because it is uneuphonious, but because it is affected.” Adams Sherman Hill, The Principles of Rhetoric 136 (rev. ed. 1896).
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