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

Miscellaneous Entries. secretive; secretory. The first is the adjective (“inclined to secrecy, uncommunicative”) corresponding to one sense “secrete” (“to hide”; the second is the adjective (“having the function of secreting”) corresponding another sense of “secrete” (“to exude from glands”). “Secretive” is best pronounced /SEE-kruh-tiv/ for sense 1 and /si-KREE-tiv/ for sense 2. “Secretory” is pronounced /si-KREE-tuh-ree/. seise; seize. The two identically pronounced words are related, but they have undergone differentiation. “Seize” is principally a nontechnical lay word meaning: (1) “to take hold of (a thing or person) forcibly or suddenly or eagerly”; (2) “to take possession of (a thing) by legal right” {to seize contraband}; or (3) “to have a sudden overwhelming effect on” {to be seized by fear} (Oxford American Dictionary). “Seize” should be confined to these senses. In the legal sense “to put in possession, invest with the fee simple of,” the spelling “seise” is preferred in both American and British English; it corresponds better with the noun “seisin.” *seldom ever. In this phrase — which seems to be a collapsed form of “seldom if ever” — the word “ever” is superfluous. E.g.: “And as everyone knows, Fleck, who seldom ever [read ‘seldom’] missed a meeting, will attend those sessions as long as he is able.” Madeleine Mathias, “‘Lafayette Treasure’ Gets New Title at 98,” Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.), 27 May 1997, at B1. Language-Change Index — *"seldom ever" for “seldom”: Stage 2. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Motion and its expression — the verb — are the basis of language. To find the right verb for a sentence is to give that sentence motion.” Alexei Tolstoy, “Transcript of an Interview [etc.]” (1923), in Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Alexei Tolstoy, and Konstantin Fedin on the Art and Craft of Writing 188, 193 (Alex Miller trans., 1972).
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