Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rein; reign(2).

rein; reign (2). Today: “hold the reins.” “Rein” and “reign” are also confused in the noun forms: one holds the “reins,” not the “reigns.” E.g.: o “Ron Low has a hold of the Oilers’ reigns [read ‘reins’] for now, but should he not work out, look for former Canucks and Flyers coach Bob McCammon to take over as coach next season.” Roy Cummings, “Old Pros Attempt to Regain Past Glory,” Tampa Trib., 16 Apr. 1995, Sports §, at 4. o “Now, Tony DiCicco, the goalie coach in 1991, is holding the reigns [read ‘reins’] and has worked to build the U.S. from the back.” Shari Rampenthal, “Williams Targets High Jump,” Wis. State J., 10 May 1995, at D2. o “In other cases, the computer recommended keeping tighter reign [read ‘rein’] on inventory, pressing the vendor for more discounts, or raising prices.” Saul Hansell, “Listen Up! It’s Time for a Profit,” N.Y. Times, 20 May 2001, § 3, at 1, 14. Language-Change Index — (1) *”hold the reigns” for “hold the reins”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. Next: “reign supreme.” ——————- Quotation of the Day: “The need for praise on the part of writers is probably greater than that of other workers in the arts, if only because writers never get the direct response to their work that composers, visual artists, and performing artists do.” Joseph Epstein, The Middle of My Tether 29 (1983).

1 thought on “Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rein; reign(2).”

  1. Sometimes, even “rain” becomes confused with “reign,” especially when oral context is ambiguous, as in “The earth responds to heaven’s reign [or ‘rain’?].”

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