Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day

vehicular. Part A: Vehicular homicide. “Vehicular” (/vee-HiK-yuh-luhr/), an adjective dating from about 1900, is not objectionable per se. Several states have “vehicular-homicide statutes,” in which there is no ready substitute for “vehicular.” Part B: Vehicular accident. The phrase is pompous police jargon for “traffic accident,” “car accident,” or (in British English) “motoring accident.” Part C: *Vehicular unit. The phrase is especially absurd for “car”: “The declaration sheet seeks to provide separate coverages for uninsured motorists on three vehicular units.” If “cars” or “automobiles” were too specific, then “vehicles” would suffice. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “There can be no question that some words are splendid sounds, apart from everything else. Indeed, sound is never out of the question when either the quality of a single word is being considered, or the quality of several words as associated in a sentence.” Henry Bett, Some Secrets of Style 213-14 (1932).
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