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

Miscellaneous Entries. variable, adj.; variant, adj.; variational; *variative. “Variable” = subject to variation; characterized by variations. “Variant” = differing in form or in details from the one named or considered, differing thus among themselves (Concise Oxford Dictionary). “Variational” = of, pertaining to, or marked or characterized by variation. *”Variative” shares the senses of “variational”; because it’s the rarer word, it might be considered a needless variant. “Variable” is pronounced /VAR-ee-uh-buhl/ (in four syllables) — not, as weather forecasters frequently mouth it, /VAR-uh-buhl/. *various different is a common redundancy — e.g.: “Also available is a map that lets you take a self-guided native-trail walk through various different [read ‘various’ or ‘different’] parts of the gardens.” Karen C. Wilson, “Native-Plant Demonstration Gardens,” San Diego Union-Trib., 28 Sept. 1997, at H13. If *various different occasions means “a number of different occasions,” then the better wording is “several different.” Language-Change Index — *”various different” for “several different”: Stage 1. vegan (= one who strictly avoids foods of animal origin) is pronounced /VEE-guhn/ or (less good) /VEJ-uhn/. vegetative; *vegetive. The first is the standard term. The second is a needless variant. veggie; *vegie. Veggie (= a vegetable) is the standard spelling of the colloquialism for “vegetable.” *”Vegie” is an alternative spelling found primarily in Australia and New Zealand. The SOED notes that “veggie” or *”vegie” can also denote a vegetarian. vehement is pronounced /VEE-uh-muhnt/, not /vuh-HEE-muhnt/. vehicle. The “-h-” is not pronounced. Hence: /VEE-i-kuhl/.The word itself is often a prime example of officialese, as when a police officer refers to “exiting the vehicle and engaging in foot pursuit” (= getting out of the car and running after a suspect). Some auto manufacturers have made their warranties easier to decipher by taking the simple step of substituting “car,” “truck,” “minivan,” or the like for the abstract “vehicle.” *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ————————————— Quotation of the Day: “The issue to be argued must be raised in a way that will establish a point from which the writer can lead his readers to the conclusion he wishes to urge. That is, the introduction must in some fashion lead to a step of the argument by which the writer hopes to secure assent to his thesis.” William J. Brandt, The Craft of Writing 48 (1969). —————————————
Scroll to Top