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

Miscellaneous Entries. retributive; retributory; *retributional; *retributionary. “Retributive” = of or characterized by retribution. E.g.: “But justice will be served if the settlement is preventive, not just retributive.” “The Cigarette Pact,” Boston Globe, 25 June 1997, at A20. “Retributory” has the added sense “causing or producing retribution.” E.g.: “Many of the investment banks . . . were hit by retributory legislation.” Robert Sobel, “Kicking and Screaming,” Barron’s, 20 May 1996, at A43. But euphony often governs the choice. “Retributional”* and *”retributionary” are needless variants sometimes used but omitted from the major dictionaries. retrofit, n. & v.t. The noun “retrofit” — dating from the early 1950s — is a hybrid meaning “a modification of equipment or a building to include developments not available at the time of original manufacture or construction.” The term has been extended to verb uses. The past tense is “retrofitted,” not “retrofit” — e.g.: “The Tickells, 21, were driving the Veggie Van, a 3-ton Winnebago splashed with yellow daisies and retrofitted to run on used cooking oil.” Connie Koenenn, “Sunday Brunch,” L.A. Times, 21 Sept. 1997, at E3. *return back is a fairly common redundancy — e.g.: “An initial examination by orthopedic specialist Frank Jobe had shown that Jaha might be able to return back [read ‘return’] shortly after the all-star break.” Andrew Cohen, “Powerless: Jaha Out for Season,” Wis. State J., 18 June 1997, at B1. reurge; re-urge. In American English, the word is solid: “reurge.” reuse; re-use. In American English, the word is solid: “reuse.” revere; *reverence, v.t. The latter is a needless variant. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Style has to do with the form rather than with the substance of literature, and though the substance and the form are very intimately allied in every species of art, there is a sense in which form is after all the last word. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that there are two works of art which are equally great in conception, but that one of them is the more skilfully executed. It is certain that it is the one which is more perfect in workmanship that will live.” Henry Bett, Some Secrets of Style 17 (1932).
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