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

Miscellaneous Entries. scan is ambiguous: it may mean either (1) “to examine carefully, scrutinize,” or (2) “to skim through, look at hurriedly.” In American English, as it happens, sense 2 now vastly predominates. That usage may be bolstered by the ubiquitous electronic scanner, which contributes to the idea of haste. scarcely any is sometimes mistakenly made *"scarcely no" (even, as the example shows, in British English) — e.g.: “It is a pity that it got scarcely no [read ‘scarcely any’] publicity because Liffe’s performance was little short of stunning.” Anthony Hilton, “Facts of Liffe Set the Scene for the Future,” Evening Standard, 8 Jan. 1997, at 33. Language-Change Index — *"scarcely no" for “scarcely any”: Stage 1. scarf, n. & vb. Although the plural noun “scarfs” is listed in most dictionaries as standard, “scarves” is nearly 15 times as common in modern print sources. Thus, “scarves” should be accepted as the preferred form. As a form of the verb “scarf” (= [1] to wrap with a scarf, or [2] to eat ravenously), “scarfs” is correct {the designer scarfs the models with Indian silks} {John usually scarfs down lunch}. scavenge, vb.; *scavenger, vb. The verb “scavenge” is a back-formation from the noun “scavenger.” Now that “scavenge” has taken hold as the predominant form, the verb *"scavenger" is a needless variant. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “People quarrel about words, heatedly and unreasonably. Very occasionally they appeal to nonexistent authorities. There is a superstitious belief that God, or some lesser being in charge of language, has laid down laws on a kind of linguistic Mount Sinai.” Anthony Burgess, A Mouthful of Air 19 (1992).
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