Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries

Miscellaneous Entries. ready, willing, and able. In law, this set phrase traditionally refers to a prospective buyer of property who can legally and financially consummate the deal. A less common variant is “ready, able, and willing.” reasonable; rational. Generally, “reasonable” means “according to reason; sensible.” “Rational” means “having reason.” Yet “reasonable” is often used in reference to people in the sense “having the faculty of reason” {reasonable person}. When applied to things, the two words are perhaps more clearly differentiated: “In application to things reasonable and rational both signify according to reason; but the former is used in reference to the business of life, as a reasonable proposal, wish, etc.; rational to abstract matters, as rational motives, grounds, questions, etc.” George Crabb, Crabb’s English Synonymes 589 (John H. Finley ed., 2d ed. 1917). reasonable-minded is redundant — e.g.: “It’s the kind of hard work that any reasonable-minded [read reasonable] person would go to extreme lengths to avoid.” Arthur Hoppe, “The Secret Key to Fitness,” S.F. Chron., 3 July 1994, at 1. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “To determine whether a word is dialect or slang we have to look at the linguistic and social background of the speaker. If a countryman complains of the rheumatiz, he may be using a dialectal form that comes naturally to him, but if a young man who is obviously not a dialect speaker uses the word, the chances are that it is a loan-word from dialect into slang, and it is sometimes possible to detect the quotation-marks in the speaker’s voice.” G.L. Brook, Words in Everyday Life 71 (1981).
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