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

teenage, adj.; *teen-age; *teenaged; *teen-aged. The first is the standard spelling. The others are variant forms. telephonic. Although “telephone” ordinarily serves as its own adjective {telephone call} {telephone directory}, “telephonic” proves useful to avoid miscues in some contexts — e.g.: “Just when you thought you were learning to live with voice mail, a new telephonic plague is about to sweep the business world — ‘on-hold marketing.'” Richard Tomkins, “Sold to the Person on Hold,” Fin. Times, 22 Sept. 1997, at 16. (“Telephone plague” might suggest a surfeit of telephones — as opposed to telephone calls.) temerity (= rash boldness) is sometimes confused with “timidity.” In the following example, the writer’s meaning isn’t at all clear — e.g.: “There’s a wonderful moment when Hal actually has the temerity to place his hand on his father’s shoulder, a timid gesture of affection that he immediately is made to regret.” Lloyd Rose, “‘Henry IV’: Shortened and Sweet,” Wash. Post, 27 Sept. 1994, at D1. tempestuous; tempestive. “Tempestuous” = stormy {Jane has a tempestuous relationship with her mother}. “Tempestive” = timely, seasonable {a tempestive delivery}. The latter is sometimes misused for the former — e.g.: “In the past year, competition has become tempestive [read ‘tempestuous’], said Dominique Decoudray, M&S chief buyer for fresh products in Europe.” Suzanne Lowry, “Paris Life,” Daily Telegraph, 2 June 1994, at 15. Language-Change Index — “tempestive” misused for “tempestuous”: Stage 1. tender, v.t., is a formal word for “offer” or “give.” *Invariably inferior form. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “If forcefulness begins with choice of words, it is never fully achieved without attention to structure — to the way in which sentences, especially, but also paragraphs, are put together. The governing principle is that the strongest stress should fall automatically on the words or elements that contribute most the fulfillment of the author’s aim.” Ellsworth Barnard, English for Everybody 109 (1979).
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