Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: solicit (1).

solicit (1). Today: For “elicit.” To “solicit” a response is to request it. To “elicit” a response is to get it. But some writers confuse the two, usually by misusing “solicit” for “elicit” — e.g.: “‘The way the question was worded didn’t solicit [read ‘elicit’] the type of response I think we were looking for,’ Ekberg said.” Geordie Wilson, “Three Levies on One Ballot a Possibility for Voters,” Seattle Times, 15 Aug. 1991, at C3. The following example contains an ambiguity — is the core group to ask 4,000 people or to get 4,000 to cooperate? “Sentient representatives expect the core group to solicit [read ‘elicit’?] responses from about 4,000 people.” Carolene Langie, “Buena Park to Ask About Goals, Issues,” Orange County Register, 28 June 1990, at 1. Language-Change Index — “solicit” misused for “elicit”: Stage 1. Next: And *"solicitate." ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Metaphors should not be too far pursued. If the resemblance on which the figure is founded be long dwelt upon and carried into all its minute circumstances, the reader becomes tired and weary of this stretch of fancy.” Samuel B. Emmons, The Grammatical Instructor 120 (1832).
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