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

Miscellaneous Entries. sound bite. So spelled — not *"sound byte." E.g.: "Although this was a fairly logical prediction to make, knowing the teams, their styles, and their media sound bytes [read 'bites'] throughout the week, Kawakami hit the nail on the head." "For His Next Trick: Tonight's Winning Lottery Numbers," L.A. Times, 22 Mar. 1997, at C3. The metaphor is of a bite-sized quotation, especially on video. "Byte," on the other hand, denotes a string of eight binary digits (bits) processed as a unit by a computer. Language-Change Index — "sound bite" misspelled *"sound byte": Stage 1. sovereignty; *sovranty. The first spelling is preferred. spatial. So spelled — not *"spacial." specter; spectre. This word is preferably spelled "-er" in American English, "-re" in British English. Curiously, however, many Americans cling to the British spelling. The word is sometimes misspelled *"spector" — e.g.: "He also raises the spector [read 'specter'] of a duplicate stone." Irene Gardner Castleton, "Stone of Scone Belongs in Scotland, Not Ireland," Times Union (Albany), 12 Jan. 1997, at E4. spectrum. The plural is preferably "spectrums" in nontechnical contexts. But "spectra" predominates in technical writing. speculative; *speculatory. The latter is a needless variant. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "From lack of plan, lack of consideration of purpose, even an intelligent man finds himself embarrassed and does not know where to begin writing. He sees all at once a great number of ideas; and, since he has not compared or subordinated them, cannot choose among them and remains perplexed." Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), "On Style," in The Foundations of English Style 47, 48 (Paul M. Fulcher ed., 1927).
Scroll to Top