Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reference.

reference, vb. “Reference,” as a verb meaning “to provide with references,” is defensible. E.g.: “The cross-referenced chapter contains two subsections.” The term has become a vogue word, however, as a synonym for “refer to” — e.g.: o “You can add notes (10K) to your items, import, or simply reference [read ‘refer to’ or ‘cite’] external files.” Bill Howard, “Agenda: Lotus’ Answer to Information Management,” PC Mag., July 1988, at 34. o “‘And I would simply reference [read ‘refer to’] those of you who are out there working.'” “A Nominee’s Withdrawal,” N.Y. Times, 19 Jan. 1994, at A14 (quoting Bobby Ray Inman). Language-Change Index — “reference” in the sense “to refer to”: Stage 4. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “The linguist distinguishes between language and writing, whereas the layman tends to confuse the two. The layman’s terms ‘spoken language’ and ‘written language’ suggest that speech and writing are merely two different manifestations of something fundamentally the same. Often enough, the layman thinks that writing is somehow more basic than speech. Almost the reverse is true.” Charles F. Hockett, A Course in Modern Linguistics 4 (1958).
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