Archive for the ‘words that don’t exist’ Category
This is my pet peeve to end all language pet peeves. Two words are used to spell “all right.” That’s exactly what it should look like, all right? It means satisfactory, agreeable.
The Chicago Manual of Style says to avoid “alright.” To my chagrin, “alright” has been used in business publications, by journalists, and even by Gertrude Stein.
Speaking for myself alone, I cannot stand “alright” because it looks like a misspelling.
But something interesting is happening to the usage of “alright.” Contemporary American urban use has reduced it to a single syllable expressed on paper as “a’ight.” If you’re one of the more than 35 million TV viewers of “American Idol,” you would’ve heard judge Randy Jackson say “a’ight” more than a few times per episode. It’s pronounced like the word “height” but without the H.
I accept “a’ight.” The apostrophe, inserted to indicate that letters have been removed, makes this spelling acceptable (palatable, really).
So here’s to “a’ight.” Though it’s considered slang right now, I’d welcome its entry into the dictionary.
Okay, I’ll keep this one short and sweet too: Supposably is not a word. Never has been, probably never will be. Sure, supposable is a word, as is its root, suppose. The kicker, though, is that the word most people are shooting for – supposedly, referring to “what is generally assumed or believed,” according to OED – when they say supposably is actually a word, while the latter bastard child of poor grammar isn’t.
The next time you’re about to whip out supposably, don’t. It doesn’t exist.