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

Miscellaneous Entries. kindergarten. This German loanword for “children’s garden” has been in use in English since at least the mid-18th century with its foreign spelling intact. It is sometimes misspelled as if it were anglicized — e.g.: “Lexington is the largest school in the state for the profoundly deaf and hard-of-hearing, and educates students from pre-kindergarden [read ‘prekindergarten’] to age 21.” Nicole Bode, “Deaf Get into the Act,” Daily News (N.Y.), 6 June 2002, Suburban section, at 1. The word may be pronounced /KiN-duhr-gahrt’n/ or /-gahrd’n/. kindergartner is the standard spelling. “Kindergartener” is a variant form. kindly, adv. This word is now frequently misplaced in sentences. Traditionally, it has meant something close to “please,” as in “Kindly take your seats” (= please take your seats). This usage has long been more common in British English than American. Perhaps that’s why Americans have begun to misplace it by having it refer not to the person asked to do something but to the person asking — e.g.: “We kindly ask you to take your seats.” This linguistic misstep has become fairly common in airlinese. kind of is a poor substitute for “somewhat,” “rather,” “somehow,” and similar adverbs. It properly functions as a noun, however, signifying category or class in phrases such as “this kind of paper.” kind of (a), what. With this phrasing, not only is the “a” unnecessary, it is typical of uncultivated speech. Thus, “It depends on what kind of vacation you want,” not “It depends on what kind of a vacation you want.” For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “War talk by men who have been in a war is always interesting; whereas moon talk by a poet who has not been in the moon is likely to be dull.” Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi 456-57 (James R. Osgood ed., 1883) (as quoted in Mark Twain: His Words, Wit, and Wisdom 215 (R. Kent Rasmussen ed., 1997)).
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