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

Miscellaneous Entries. resurface, like “surface,” may be intransitive or transitive, though the meanings differ. “Resurface” = (1) to come to the top again {he resurfaced in the middle of the pond}; or (2) to put a new top on {the state resurfaced the road}. resuscitate. So spelled. retaliatory; retaliative. The two forms have undergone differentiation. The first means “of, relating to, or constituting retaliation” {retaliatory eviction}, whereas the second means “vindictive, tending to retaliation” {a retaliative landlord}. retirement; *retiral; *retiracy. “Retirement,” of course, is the usual word. *”Retiral” (= the act of retiring) and *”retiracy” (= the state of being retired) are now needless variants. retractable; *retractible. The first spelling is preferred. retraction; retractation. In the figurative sense “the act of recanting” or “a statement in recantation,” “retraction” is usual in American English, “retractation” in British English. In British English, “retraction” is the noun corresponding to “retract” in literal senses (“to draw back,” etc.). *retreat back. A common redundancy — e.g.: “There is no way out of that blind alley but to retreat back [read ‘retreat’] into the very language that brought one in.” Joseph Brodsky, Less than One 287 (1986). *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “The best prose is written in a tolerant and cool voice. If you are temperate and measured, and if you marshal your evidence with the attitude that your reader is a friend you want to persuade rather than a foe you want to slay, you will probably have a better chance of carrying your point.” Richard Marius, A Writer’s Companion 19-20 (1985).
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