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

Miscellaneous Entries. referable; *referrable; *referrible. The preferred form is “referable” (= capable of being referred to) — which, like “preferable,” is accented on the first syllable; otherwise, the final “-r-” would be doubled. “Referrable”* often mistakenly appears. Although the form is old, it has long been held inferior to “referable.” “Referrible”* is a needless variant. referendum. Pl. “referendums” or “referenda.” In modern print sources, “referendums” is four times as common — and as the native plural, it ought to be preferred. referral; reference. Both mean “the act of referring.” “Reference” is the broader term. “Referral,” which began as an Americanism in the early 20th century but now is commonly used in British English as well, means specifically “the referring to a third party of personal information concerning another” or “the referring of a person to an expert or specialist for advice.” reflection; *reflexion. The first spelling is preferred in both American and British English. “Reflexion”* was formerly common in British writing. refractory; refractive. These terms have undergone differentiation. “Refractory” = stubborn, unmanageable, rebellious {refractory teenagers}. “Refractive” = that refracts light {refractive lenses}. *Invariably inferior forms For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “Words come to us so naturally that it takes a serious effort of imagination to realize what miraculous devices they are. Like so many other things that are basic and elemental in our lives, we take them for granted, and we are apt to be surprised to find how hard it is to say what exactly a word is.” Randolph Quirk, “Thinking of Words,” in The Linguist and the English Language 128, 128 (1974).
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