Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries. recital; recitation. These words overlap, but are distinguishable. Aside from a (usually) solo musical or dance performance, “recital” may mean “a rehearsal, account, or description of some thing, fact, or incident” {a recital of all the incidents would be tedious}. “Recitation” usually connotes an oral delivery before an audience, whether in the classroom or on stage. Yet it is more often the general noun meaning “the act of reciting” — e.g.: “This continuing tension is realized in a series of formal tropes: angry monologues, recitations of dreams, discussions of cartographic representation of Greenland and what they call their ‘truth game.'” Ben Brantley, “Whimsy as a Tool to Deal with AIDS,” N.Y. Times, 29 June 1995, at C11. recondite (= difficult to understand) is traditionally pronounced /ri-KON-diyt/, but /REK-uhn-diyt/ is now usual. reconnoiter; reconnoitre. The verb form corresponding to the noun “reconnaissance” is preferably spelled “-er” in American English, “-re” in British English. recountal (= a narration or recital) is the noun corresponding to the verb “recount” (as opposed to the verb “re-count” [= to count again]). “Recountment”* is an obsolete variant used by Shakespeare. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “Words having naturally no signification, the idea, which each stands for, must be learned by those who would exchange thoughts. This should teach us moderation, in imposing our own sense of old authors.” John Locke, Essay on the Human Understanding, 1688 (as quoted in Sterling Andrus Leonard, The Doctrine of Correctness in English Usage 17 (1962)).
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