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

Miscellaneous Entries. v.; vs. Both are acceptable abbreviations of “versus,” but they differ in application: “vs.” is more common except in names of law cases, in which “v.” is the accepted abbreviation. vagina; vulva. The term “vagina” is now frequently used to denote not just the internal organ (the strict meaning), but also the external female genitals (the “vulva,” strictly speaking). The result is that “vulva” is falling into disuse, except in medical contexts. Valentine’s Day; *Valentine Day; *Valentines Day. Although the formal name is “St. Valentine’s Day,” this is rarely encountered. The standard term today is “Valentine’s Day.” Avoid the two variant forms. valet is pronounced /VAL-it/ or /VAL-ay/ as a noun, or /va-LAY/ as an adjective. The first was historically considered best, primarily in the sense “a gentleman’s personal attendant who looks after his clothes etc.” (Concise Oxford Dictionary). But this archaic sense and its “preferred” usage is almost never heard, and even /VAL-ay/ is rare for the noun. The standard American English pronunciation today for the noun is /va-LAY/. But the most common American usage of the word is as an adjective, usually in reference to a parking attendant at a hotel or restaurant, where the accent is on the first syllable. In short, the word has been de-anglicized in American English over the 20th century, while British English continues with /VAL-it/. vapid (= flat, dull, and intellectually barren) makes “vapidity,” preferably not *”vapidness” (which is only one-tenth as common in print). E.g.: “Whatever was once unique and involving about its music has been usurped by synth-pop vapidness [read ‘vapidity’].” Greg Kot, “Faithful Followers,” Chicago Trib., 23 Apr. 1995, at C7. The adjective is pronounced /VAP-id/, the noun /va-PiD-i-tee/–preferably not with a long /ay/ in the first syllable. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ————————————— Quotation of the Day: “Distortion of the observation or making up what you haven’t observed is a violation of the rules a journalist must live by.” George Kennedy et al., The Writing Book 13 (1984). —————————————
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