Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: wet / wet(ted) / wet(ted).

wet / wet(ted) / wet(ted). This verb has both a regular and an irregular past and past participle form. In most contexts, “wet” is the predominant form — e.g.: o “She wet her whistle with a sip of water.” Warren Gerds, “Peters Pours on the Charm at Weidner Concert,” Green Bay Press-Gaz., 29 Sept. 2002, at A5. o “And there are those other side effects: waking up to find your toddler has wet the bed, or waking up to the sound of puke hitting the bedspread.” Deanna Weniger, “Bed-Sharing Charm Is Wearing Off,” Times Herald, 28 Jan. 2003, at B4. o “When applied to a hard surface and wetted down, this dry, relatively inexpensive white powder becomes ice slick.” “When Killing Just Won’t Do,” Harper’s Mag., 1 Feb. 2003, at 17. “Wetted” is used mostly in passive constructions {was wetted}, perhaps to eliminate the possible ambiguity that “wet,” in a phrase such as “was wet,” might be functioning as a predicate adjective and not as part of the verb phrase. The regular past form prevents any ambiguity — e.g.: “Cyanobacteria just beneath the surface appeared on the surface within minutes after the soil was wetted, and disappeared as the soil dried out.” “Following the Water,” Tulsa World, 7 Oct. 2001, at 7. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “There is a sort of phony democratic bias against the use of unusual words.” William F. Buckley, “The Hysteria About Words” (1963), in The Living Language 28, 29 (Linda A. Morris et al. eds., 1984). ====================
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