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

Miscellaneous Entries. ukulele. So spelled — not *”ukelele.” ultimately = (1) in the end {she ultimately changed her mind}; (2) basically; fundamentally {the two words are ultimately related}. ultimatum. The plural is “ultimatums.” The native plural “-ums” has long been considered preferable to the Latinate “-ta” — e.g.: “The 49ers president delivered an ultimatum to a town that doesn’t respond to ultimata [read ‘ultimatums’].” Ray Ratto, “This Ultimatum Goes Against Team Policy,” S.F. Examiner, 12 Feb. 1997, at D1. umlaut; diaeresis. These words denote the same mark consisting of two raised dots placed over a vowel, but they serve different phonetic functions. An umlaut (pronounced /OOM-lowt/) indicates that the vowel has a modified sound especially in German, as in Männer (pronounced /MEN-nuhr/). Generally, when an umlaut is omitted from a German word or name, an “e” is inserted after the vowel that had the umlaut — so, for example, Göthe becomes Goethe and Münster becomes Muenster. A diaeresis (pronounced /dI-ER-uh-sis/ and sometimes spelled dieresis) indicates that the second of two adjacent vowels is pronounced separately, as in “naïve.” But the distinction is largely academic: even with modern word-processing capabilities, these marks are often omitted. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “An obscure and vague manner of expression is always and everywhere a very bad sign. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred it comes from vagueness of thought; and this again almost always means that there is something radically wrong and incongruous about the thought itself — in a word, that it is incorrect. When a right thought springs up in the mind, it strives after expression and is not long in reaching it.” Arthur Schopenhauer, “Schopenhauer on Style,” in Best Advice on How to Write 61, 69 (Gorham Munson ed., 1952).
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