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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5 Words that do not exist

Language is difficult. To help you out I will tell you about some words* that do not actually exist. You can improve your use of language by not using these non-words ever again. Some appear in dictionaries, and seem to be real words, but they are not, actually. They are used mostly by people with names that do not exist either.

Parental.

What you mean to say is "parent." So say, "I am going to visit my parents this weekend, not "I am going to visit my parentals."

Arugula.

Some use this non-existent non-word to refer to a rather bitter kind of green plant. But if you think about it a little this is not really a word in English.

Moreso.

"Moreso" is not a word either. It is unclear what it is supposed to mean or how it is supposed to be pronounced. Perhaps it is corruption of the word "morsel."

Grown child

This is not a word, but a phrase, and it actually does exist, but it makes no sense. Instead of saying "adult child" or "grown children," say "adult" or "adults." You see, a child is a human being who is not an adult, or grown. By the way, the correct plural is "children," not "childs" as many people think.

Thusly.

Not a word. We use -ly to form adjectives of manner, like "softly." But "thus" is already an adverb so the suffix isn't doing much, is it?

You're welcome.

***

*Some say that these words exist, but are not really words. Others claim that they do not, in fact, exist at all. A third position holds that they exist, and are actually words.



4 comments:

Vance Maverick said...

Would you ever push a student toward more standard usage? Not long ago I told a Texan coworker to change "anyways" to the more standard form, in a quasi-official text (a code comment), though I would have ignored it, maybe not even noticed it, in an informal context (e.g. a design document -- which says something about our company).

Jonathan said...

In all seriousness, yes. "Thusly" should not be in dissertation, for example. I myself am incapable of using "disinterested" to mean "uninterested" or "surreal" to mean "unreal."

Vance Maverick said...

Agreed. I wouldn't write "fuck" in a dissertation or code comment either, but that doesn't mean it's not a word.

profacero said...

Of related interest -- http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4612