Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: ruin, n.; ruination.

ruin, n.; ruination. “Ruin” is the ordinary term. “Ruination,” which is quite common, has traditionally been humorous and colloquial, but today often seems to convey a special earnestness or acknowledged hyperbole — e.g.: o “The increasing involvement of player agents is leading to the ruination of professional sports, claims columnist Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.” Shav Glick, “Morning Briefing,” L.A. Times, 14 Oct. 1995, at C2. o “They’re liable to slip in a bit about their faith, and you can’t have that nonsense because, Lord knows, it could be the ruination of the country.” John Downing, “Maybe the End Is at Hand,” Toronto Sun, 29 June 1997, at C3. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “With the triumph of the doctrine of usage, amplified into ‘the native speaker can do no wrong,’ what does an English teacher have to teach his pupils that the pupils don’t already know? After all, ‘anyone who is not deaf or idiotic has fully mastered his native language by the end of his fifth year.’ Teachers of English who listen to the siren song of the structuralists should perhaps begin to show some concern over the continuance of their own jobs, if not over anything else.” Mario Pei, “Webster’s Third in the Classroom,” in Words, Words, Words About Dictionaries 110, 111 (Jack C. Gray ed., 1963).
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