Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reiterate, -tion; iterate, -tion.

reiterate, -tion; iterate, -tion. It is perhaps not too literalistic to use “iterate” in the sense “to repeat,” and “reiterate” in the sense “to repeat a second time [i.e., to state a third time].” But the distinction is observed by only the most punctilious writers, “reiterate” being the usual term in either sense. Since an “iteration” repeats a former event, the term can’t logically apply to the first anything — e.g.: o “Allison’s first iteration [read ‘appearance’] in 1989 drenched Houston. It returned last year as a system that caused historic destruction in the nation’s fourth-largest city, earning retirement as an Atlantic storm name.” “Voter Turnout, Elections Top NAACP Agenda,” Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale), 7 July 2002, at A3. o “Its first iteration [read ‘version’], in 1947, was such a disaster that it had to be redrawn two years later — and was still being amended 37 years after that.” Fred Hiatt, “Operation Tough: Revamping Government,” Newsday (N.Y.), 16 July 2002, at A25. o “Many of the most daring are being commissioned by an emerging online force — such corporate giants as Nestle USA, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and General Motors that sat out the first iteration [read ‘generation’] of Web advertising while the rest of the nation went dot-com crazy.” Doug Bedell, “On the Web, in Your Face,” Dallas Morning News, 25 July 2002, at A1. Language-Change Index — “first iteration”* for “first version,” etc.: Stage 1. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “Writing, or at least writing as I do it, is impossible without an exhilarating sense of freedom that carries author and reader to unexpected places. For both, it is a solitary journey of discovery, unique each time it is made. Its very substance is emotion.” Sherwin B. Nuland, “The Uncertain Art,” Am. Scholar, Winter 2001, at 129, 129. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1 thought on “Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reiterate, -tion; iterate, -tion.”

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top