Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

suppressible. So spelled — not *"suppressable." Surinamese; *Surinamer. For a citizen of Suriname, the first is standard; the second is a needless variant. surprise, n. & vb., is surprisingly often misspelled *"surprize" — e.g.: “There are other benefits that come from engaging an investment counselor who is paid for service: . . . fewer surprizes [read ‘surprises’] from volatile returns.” Jonathan Chevreau, “Define Your Goals Before Investing,” Fin. Post, 25 Nov. 1995, at 73. The misspelling *"suprise" is also common — e.g.: “A pair of high school sweethearts winds up with a suprise [read ‘surprise’] pregnancy in a small town in South Dakota.” Morain Michael, “Hollywood Hits Iowa’s Red Carpet,” Des Moines Register, 30 Dec. 2008, at E1. surveil; *surveille. “Surveil” is a relatively new, and decidedly useful, verb corresponding to the noun “surveillance.” It is, in fact, a back-formation from the noun. The participial and past-tense forms are “surveilling” and “surveilled.” E.g.: “Instead, Young has spent a fair amount of time since 1979 surveilling Clifford Antone for the Organized Crime Control Task Force.” Robert Draper, “Clifford’s Blues,” Texas Monthly, Oct. 1997, at 140. The Oxford English Dictionary gives 1960 as the year of its first recorded use, by an American court. The spelling *"surveille" is a variant form. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “‘It is easy enough to show that animals communicate, but this is a fact which has never been doubted. Dogs who growl and bark leave no doubt in the minds of other dogs or cats, or even of man, of what they mean, but growling and barking are not language, nor do they even contain the elements of language.'” Max Mller, “Three Lectures on the Science of Language” (1889) (as quoted in George Miller, “The Psycholinguists” (1964), in Readings in Applied Transformational Grammar 21, 33 n. (Mark Lester ed., 1970)).
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