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

Miscellaneous Entries. saccharin(e). "Saccharin" is the noun {saccharin is a known carcinogen}, "saccharine" the adjective {saccharine television shows}. sacerdotal (= priestly) is best pronounced /sas-uhr-DOH-tuhl/; /sak-/ is a variant pronunciation. sacrosanct, literally "most sacred," is now often ironic. Sometimes the irony appears unintentional — e.g.: "Ray Kroc, who founded the McDonald’s empire, wrote that the french fry was ‘sacrosanct,’ its preparation ‘a ritual to be followed religiously.’" Danny Penman, "Judgment Day for McDonald’s," Independent, 19 June 1997, at 20. safe-deposit box. This is the original and correct term, not *"safety-deposit box" — e.g.: "He’ll just go quietly, back to his day job at Home Depot, doing business with customers who don’t know about that silver medal in his safety-deposit box [read ‘safe-deposit box’]." Mike Downey, "Bobsled Pioneer Prepares for a Slower Lifestyle," Chicago Trib., 13 Feb. 2003, Sports §, at 1. The extra syllable in "safety" probably originated as an auditory error: people heard the phrase and associated the "de-" prefix on "deposit" with the "-ty" suffix on "safety," and then duplicated the sound. In modern print sources, "safe-deposit box" is three times as common as *"safety-deposit box." The phrasal adjective "safe-deposit" always requires a hyphen in this term. Language-Change Index — *"safety-deposit box" for "safe-deposit box": Stage 2. salable; saleable; *sellable. The preferred spellings are "salable" in American English and "saleable" in British English. *"Sellable," arguably a more logical form, was formerly used by some writers but never gained widespread currency. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "It is nearly always with inexperienced authors that editors have their difficulties." George Stevens, "Author’s Nursemaid" (1942), in A Reader for Writers 188, 199 (William Targ ed., 1951).
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