Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: recreate

recreate; re-create. A distinction is fading. “Recreate” = (1) to amuse oneself by indulging in recreation; or (2) (of a pastime) to agreeably occupy. “Re-create” = to create anew. Classically, the hyphen makes a great difference — e.g.: o “Her days are divided between frolicking in the sand and recreating in a resort hotel.” A. Scott Walton, “Peach Buzz,” Atlanta J.-Const., 19 Mar. 1995, at E2. o “The dining rooms feature big, open rooms and vintage signs designed to re-create the airy, energetic atmosphere of 1940s Gulf seafood houses.” Barbara Chavez, “City Reeling in Landry’s Seafood Chain,” Albuquerque J., 21 Sept. 1995, at D6. But “recreate” is so much more common than “re-create” — and the tendency to delete the hyphen after a prefix is so strong in American English — that “recreate” is losing the senses listed above and is taking over the meaning of “re-create.” The process is now almost complete. Still, some careful editors continue to make the distinction. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Between charges that it was not being taught and should be taught and charges that it was being taught and should not be, grammar has had a very bad time of it for more than a quarter of a century.” Bertrand Evans, “Grammar and Writing,” in A Linguistics Reader 111, 112 (Graham Wilson ed., 1967).

1 thought on “Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: recreate”

  1. This reminds me of the need to differentiate between ‘resent’ and ‘re-sent’, as in:

    I resent your email.

    I re-sent your email.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top