Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: throes of, in the.

throes of, in the. In this phrase, meaning “struggling in the process of (something very painful or difficult)” {in the throes of childbirth}, “throes” is sometimes mistakenly spelled “throws” — e.g.: “‘I turned on the light and observed my much-loved pet in the throws [read ‘throes’] of a grand mal seizure.'” Liz Quinlan, “A Painful Decision Made Even Harder,” Syracuse Herald-J., 11 July 1997, at B8 (quoting an anonymous reader). The word is seriously misused when the situation does not involve serious pain or difficulty — e.g.: o “The legal action took HBO executives by surprise, since they were in the throes [read ‘process’] of sweetening Gandolfini’s deal for the upcoming season.” Cara DiPasquale & Kris Kamopp, “Gandolfini Says HBO Violated His Contract,” Chicago Trib., 11 Mar. 2003, at 28. o “The usual closing-time shenanigans . . . take an obtuse turn when it is revealed that Nate might actually be in the throes of [read ‘having’] serious feelings for bar regular Andrea.” Julio Martinez, “King of Clubs,” Daily Variety, 18 Mar. 2003, at 38. Language-Change Index — (1) *”in the throws” for “in the throes”: Stage 1; (2) “throes” used without a sense of struggle: Stage 2. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “A good writer is one you can read without breaking a sweat.” Patricia T. O’Conner, Woe Is I 195 (1996).

1 thought on “Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: throes of, in the.”

  1. Does “throes” have a correct singular version? I ask because a friend recently played “throe” in Scrabble (which is apparently a valid Scrabble word), but I have found no instances of it being used in the singular.

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