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

symposium. The plural is :symposiums.” *"Symposia" is a pedantry. synagogue, n., is the standard spelling. *"Synagog" is a variant. synchronous; *synchronic; *synchronal. The second and third are needless variants. synonym for “pseudonym” (= a pen name) is a bizarre error — e.g.: “All of the contributors used synonyms [read ‘pseudonyms’]: Etienne George signed himself as Edmund Delorme, a name he would use again in a subsequent publication; Georg Bottcher wrote verses in French under the name G. Tonnelier; Arthur Stahl, in honor of a promenade in his hometown of Friedberg known as the ‘Rumania,’ assumed the pen name Rumanophile.” Robert E. Norton, Secret Germany 29-30 (2002). Language-Change Index — “synonym” misused for “pseudonym”: Stage 1. synonymous (= equivalent in meaning) is sometimes confused with “antonymous” (= opposite in meaning) — e.g.: “The phrase ‘subsequent to’ is a preposition, with the same meaning as ‘after’ or ‘since.’ It is synonymous [read ‘antonymous’] with ‘prior to,’ which is also a preposition.” Gertrude Block, “The Punctuated Lawyer,” Fed. Lawyer, Jan. 1996, at 21. “Subsequent to” is obviously antonymous — not synonymous — with “prior to.” In tone, it is analogous to “prior to.” There would have been no confusion if the author had written, “It is the opposite of prior to.” “Synonymous” is often misspelled *"synonomous" — e.g.: “Woodrow Wilson ‘Woody’ Hite, the man whose name was synonomous [read ‘synonymous’] with big band music in Portland for decades, died Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1997, in Camarillo, Calif.” John Foyston, “Big Band Leader Woody Hite Dies at 82,” Oregonian (Portland), 7 Nov. 1997, at D12. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “A great deal of writing that comes to our attention is unpleasant to read and fails even to convey clearly what the writer intends to say.” M. Alderton Pink, Craftsmanship in Writing 1 (1960).
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