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

Miscellaneous Entries. used-book store. So written, not *”used bookstore.” E.g.: “We all have this vision of the perfect used bookstore [read ‘used-book store’]: it seems to come out of a Dickens story, or maybe the film version of The Old Curiosity Shop.” Ian C. Ellis, Book Finds: How to Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books 84 (2006). Language-Change Index: *”used bookstore” for “used-book store”: Stage 1. usurpation; *usurpature. The latter is a needless variant. Because “usurpation” begins with a “y” sound, it takes the indefinite article “a,” not “an” — e.g.: “But, he insisted, it’s not an [read ‘a’] usurpation.” Mike Dunham, “Conference Heads into Home Stretch with Elliott Yet to Speak,” Anchorage Daily News, 16 Aug. 1997, at E1. usury (/YOO-zhuh-ree/) is a word whose content has changed considerably over time. Originally, “usury” meant “compensation for the use of money; the lending of money for interest.” By the 18th century, however, its meaning had been narrowed to what it is today: “the lending of money at an excessive interest rate.” The corresponding adjective is “usurious” (yoo-ZHUUR-ee-uhs/). Because “usury” and “usurious” begin with a consonant sound, they should be preceded by “a” and not “an” when an indefinite article is called for. Utahn; *Utahan. The first is standard; the second is a variant spelling that isn’t nearly as common in print. uxorial; uxorious. The first is neutral, the second pejorative. “Uxorial” = of or relating to a wife. E.g.: “Greer Garson became typecast in uxorial, middle-class roles.” “Obituary of Greer Garson,” Daily Telegraph, 8 Apr. 1996, at 19. “Uxorious” = submissive to or exceedingly fond of one’s wife. E.g.: “The new England manager is, at the time of his appointment, a notably level-headed individual, a devout Christian and uxorious husband. Should we read in four years’ time that he is checking in to a sex-addiction clinic — having been found chanting ‘God is dead!’ in a hotel room while six prostitutes tug at the elastic of his football shorts — then we will know that fame destroys.” Mark Lawson, “Ain’t Misbehavin’, Just Naturally Batty,” Guardian, 6 May 1996, at 11. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ————————————— Quotation of the Day: “Great ideas can only be expressed in a great style.” Dwight Macdonald, “A Note on Style,” in Discriminations 390 (1974).
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