Sunday, May 07, 2006

1000 Mistakes Corrected

I have in my possession a wonderful book called, 1000 Mistakes Corrected and Peculiarities of Language Noted, by Prof. W.H.Larrabee and Prof. H. A. Buttz, New York: N. Tibbals & Sons, 1873. This one was a real find. I have not yet scanned it for the store, but I will in the future. Craig and I went through the entire book one afternoon, noting which mistakes have actually been corrected over the years, and which ones were lost in the battle for grammar supremacy. Here are a few interesting tidbits.
II - Spurious Words

Spurious words are words which are not proper words. They are words which good writers reject. They are such words as someone introduces without precedent or authority, and others use, to express an idea, for which there are already enough significant words; or they are derivative words which are formed in a manner contrary to or not warranted by the laws and analogies of the language...

100. Casuality. -- Say Casualty. [I have to say I am glad we won that battle. This is not one I have ever seen or heard. AC]
102. Donate -- is improperly formed and is not needed. The critics condemn it. Say instead, give, present, bequeath, grant, confer, endow with, or devise. Instead of "Mr.---- has donated $10,000 to ---- college," say he "has given $10,000." Donation is correct. [Hey! Did anyone else know this? I didn't. Nor the one below. We just keep on using them, blissfully ignorant that there was ever any controversy about the use of such words. AC]
109. Jeopardize -- is unnecessary. Jeopard is the proper word, and has the same force that is intended to be attached to jeopardize. We may also say "put in jeopardy."

Well, English is a living language, after all. But there are so many words like this one in this book. I am not claiming, of course, that we return to these particular word prejudices. I merely like to point out the differences between then and now.


Anonymous Damask Rose said...

On this topic, where did the verb 'to gift' come from? I've only seen it more recently, as in "my mother gifted it to me", whereas we used to say "she gave it to me". Do you have any ideas?

7:52 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Good question. Let me answer above.

9:12 AM  

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