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

Miscellaneous Entries. uneconomical; *uneconomic; noneconomic. The correct words are “uneconomical” (= not cost-effective) and “noneconomic” (= not relating to economics). The most common error is to use *”uneconomic” for “uneconomical” — e.g.: “Manifestly uneconomic [read ‘uneconomical’] projects have been pursued . . . . Lavish spending on the new federal capital, Abuja, is at odds with economic [correct] realities.” “Aid and Reform in Nigeria,” Fin. Times, 6 Jan. 1992, at 10. Language-Change Index — *”uneconomic” for “uneconomical”: Stage 1. unenforceable; *nonenforceable. The first is standard; the second is a needless variant. unexceptionable; unexceptional. “Unexceptionable” = not objectionable. E.g.: “The imperial Chinese went so far as to dub their country ‘the Middle Kingdom’ so as to reflect what to them seemed an unexceptionable truth.” Paul Campos, “Self-Absorption American-Style,” Rocky Mountain News (Denver), 11 Dec. 2001, at A33. “Unexceptional” = not unusual. E.g.: “Outfielder Matt Lawdon is fine but unexceptional.” Rod Beaton, “Yankees Land Their Men Again,” USA Today, 14 Dec. 2001, at C7. unisex (= not distinguishing or discriminating between sexes; suitable for both sexes) was first recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary in a 1968 article in Life magazine that sounds quaint today: “With-it young couples . . . are finding that looking alike is good fashion as well as good fun. The unisex trend was launched by . . . the teen-agers.” The neologism proved so necessary to late-20th-century culture that it quickly appreciated as a casualism and is well accepted today. It applies to all manner of fashion, and even on occasion to public facilities that are traditionally segregated {unisex boutique} {unisex restrooms}. It’s a far better word than the cold jargon that is its only reasonable alternative in most contexts: “gender-neutral.” *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “I sometimes think risky generalizations are the only kind that are of interest. Safe generalizations are usually rather boring. Delete that ‘usually rather.’ Safe generalizations are quite boring. But I generalize.” Joseph Epstein, The Middle of My Tether 190 (1983).
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