Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: surmise.

Part A. Spelling: As noun and verb, the word is so spelled — not *”surmize.” E.g.: “Other officials even extended their optimism to surmize [read ‘surmise’] that ‘a new climate has begun.'” Ana Martinez-Soler, “Madrid Cheers as France Quashes ETA Terrorists,” Christian Science Monitor, 17 Jan. 1984, at 7. Part B: And *”surmisal.” The word *”surmisal” is but a needless variant of the noun “surmise” — e.g.: o “On Long Island, the vacuum of knowledge is filled with assumptions and surmisals [read ‘surmises’], the latest being that Iran may have been involved in the bomb explosion aboard TWA 800 — that is, if it was a bomb explosion.” Daniel Schorr, “Tripping over Terrorism,” Christian Science Monitor, 9 Aug. 1996, at 19. o “Just 32 months away from 12 years in office, Democratic Colorado Gov. Roy Romer recently offered a rather ironic surmisal [read ‘surmise’? ‘appraisal’?] of his cumulative effect on our state’s Republican Legislature.” “Put It to a Vote,” Gaz. Telegraph (Colo. Springs), 13 May 1997, at 6. Language-Change Index — *”surmisal” for “surmise”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “The newspaper influence . . . is a good one for the writer. It teaches economy of words. It makes you write faster. When you’re on rewrite as I was, you can’t fool around at half-past nine trying to write beautiful lacy prose.” John O’Hara (as quoted in Harvey Breit, The Writer Observed 82 (1956)).
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