Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: tendentious (2)

tendentious (2). Today: For “contentious.” “Tendentious” (= one-sided) is occasionally confused with “contentious” (= combative) — e.g.: o “The structure represents Selig’s vision for his sport — the opportunity to soar beyond the tendentious [read ‘contentious’] labor struggles that have bedeviled baseball for decades and into an era of not only prosperity, but peace.” Teri Thompson, “Selig: A New View for Baseball,” Daily News (N.Y.), 21 Oct. 2001, at 76. o “The reordered priorities promise a tendentious [read ‘contentious’] fight that will test the president’s newfound political capital — and will set the tone for the 2002 midterm elections.” Francine Kiefer & Abraham McLaughlin, Christian Science Monitor, 5 Feb. 2002, USA §, at 1. o “‘Why Orwell Matters’ suggests that neither camp is likely to win a lasting victory in the tendentious [read ‘contentious’] tug of war for the allegiance of a polemicist as gifted, and refractory, as Hitchens.” Jim Barloon, “Why Orwell Matters,” Houston Chron., 5 Jan. 2003, Zest §, at 18. Language-Change Index — “tendentious” misused for “contentious”: Stage 1. Next: For “tendinitis.” For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “I believe that in the ordinary way, in the customary traffic of our lives, we can learn to write well; and I believe that there is a moral obligation upon us to do so, for we are students of English, and this is the one talent we can return with interest.” Walter Nash, An Uncommon Tongue: The Uses and Resources of English 117 (1992).
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