Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: -wise.

-wise. Generally, avoid “-wise” words or compounds when the suffix means “regarding” or some other frame of reference. They typically displace a more direct wording, and they’re invariably graceless and inelegant — e.g.: o “After a dull summer book-wise [read “in books” or “in the book trade”] . . . , the season of fairs, sales, readings and other book-related events gets off to a satisfying start this month.” David Streitfeld, “Book Report,” Wash. Post, 14 Sept. 1997, Book World §, at 15. o “During the 1992 campaign, Democrats fared a little better, grammarwise [read ‘grammatically’ or ‘grammatically speaking’].” Mary Newton Brudner, The Grammar Lady 37 (2000). But some recent neologisms seem to be earning their way. For example, “taxwise” is often better than “from the point of view of taxes” or some similar phrase — e.g.: “You can’t fund an education IRA in any year you contribute to a prepaid tuition plan, now offered by 14 states. Taxwise, IRAs are better.” Jane Bryan Quinn, “Dollars in, Dollars Out,” Newsweek, 18 Aug. 1997, at 51. Finally, some writers use the suffix playfully — e.g.: “In fact, sex-wise we are practically the weirdest creatures in the animal kingdom.” Michael Thompson-Noel, “A Species of Sexual Weirdos,” Fin. Times, 30 Aug. 1997, at 5. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “Sometimes I will stay put in my room for a day trying to get two sentences that will flow, that will seem as if they were always there.” Maya Angelou, in Conversations with Maya Angelou 59 (Jeffrey M. Elliot ed., 1989).
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