Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: stricken.

Though *”stricken” often appears as a past participle, grammatical authorities have long considered it inferior to “struck.” It’s archaic except when used as an adjective {a stricken community}. The past-participial use is ill-advised — e.g.: “A noncompete agreement that bans a person from ever setting up a competing company in the same geographical location will be stricken [read ‘struck’] down by the courts as too restrictive.” Joseph T. Leone, “Family Businesses Need to Play It Safe,” Wis. State J., 16 Feb. 1997, at E4. The participial usage has given rise to the mistaken use of *”stricken” for “strike,” and therefore to the double bobble *”strickened” — e.g.: o “He was strickened [read ‘stricken’] Friday night while doing what he loved — watching the Attleboro High football team play.” “City & Town Report,” Providence J.-Bull., 26 Oct. 1994, at D2. o “Malone’s enthusiasm after Game 6 was tempered because of his concern for a cancer-strickened [read ‘stricken’] 13-year-old boy, whom he has befriended.” Tom Knott, “Malone’s Class Could Teach the NBA a Lesson,” Wash. Times, 4 June 1996, at B1. Language-Change Index — (1) *”stricken” for past-participial “struck”: Stage 4; (2) *”strickened” for “stricken”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Semantic aphasia is the monstrous insensitivity that allows generals to call war ‘pacification,’ union leaders to describe strikes or slowdowns as ‘job actions,’ and politicians to applaud even moderately progressive programs as ‘revolutions.'” Melvin Maddocks, “The Limitations of Language,” in Language Awareness 285, 285-86 (Paul Eschholz et al. eds., 2d ed. 1978).
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