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

Miscellaneous Entries. reverend. In denoting a member of the clergy, this term has traditionally been restricted to adjectival uses, as one newspaper acknowledged after being upbraided by a careful reader: “We referred correctly to the Rev. Wiley Drake, . . . but an inside subhead read, ‘The reverend says.’ Some dictionaries recognize reverend as a colloquial noun form referring to a member of the clergy, but our stylebook doesn’t; the word is an adjective.” Pat Riley, “The Rev. Robert Ross Offers Some Righteous Observations,” Orange County Register, 3 Aug. 1997, at B4. The noun uses without the article — as in Reverend Harold Myers as opposed to the Reverend Harold Myers — have long been stigmatized as poor usage. And if the stigma is wearing off, it’s doing so very gradually. reverie (= a daydream) is so spelled — preferably not “revery.”* reversal; reversion. The first corresponds to the verb “reverse” {a reversal of fortune}, the second to the verb “revert” {a dangerous reversion to prewar policies}. Roughly speaking, a “reversion” is a throwback. reversible. So spelled — not “reversable.”* revile (= to assail with vituperative language) is occasionally misused for “repulse” (= to arouse feelings of disgust) or “repel” (= [1] to drive back, esp. by physical force; or [2] to reject [a statement, etc.]). The headline from an article appearing on the first page of the Amarillo Globe-Times reads: “Thought of Parent Testimony Reviles [read ‘Repulses’] Many,” 17 Feb. 1998. Language-Change Index — “revile” misused for “repel” or “repulse”: Stage 1. revisable. So spelled — not “revisible.”* *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “A writer’s goal is free passage from form to form, from style to style, from public to public.” Gorham Munson, The Written Word 9 (rev. ed. 1949).
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