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[Erin McKean, guest-blogging, September 27, 2007 at 12:25pm] Trackbacks
Guestblogging Dictionary Myths (Pt 3):

"That's Not A Word!"

One of the things that happens to you all the time when you're a lexicographer is that people say something to you, something perfectly reasonable, such as "I am appalled by the current celebrification of journalists" and then stop themselves to ask you "Is that a word?"

Considering that the is-it-a-word? word is usually completely comprehensible, I always say "it is now!"

When people say something "isn't a word", they aren't usually saying that the item in question is a piece of rotten fruit, or a shoe, or a phone number, or some other non-lexical object. What they are saying is something like "That's not standard English," or "I dislike that word and wish you wouldn't use it," or "I am not sure that this word is in common use," and so on. They may also want to call attention, obliquely, to the word as being their own coinage (whether or not that is true).

The ruler most people use to measure a word's word-ness is The Dictionary. Not any specific dictionary -- for most people, if a word is in any standard-looking dictionary, that's good enough. (The Dictionary is a stand in for "Any Dictionary I Happen To Have.")

But as a lexicographer, as someone who has seen how the word sausage is made, I think that assessing a word's fitness for use by whether or not it is in The Dictionary is much too limiting. We've already seen that lexicographers can't possibly register, much less describe, all the words that are used in English; how then, knowing that, can you still cleave to the idea that the words that are in The Dictionary are good to use, and the ones that aren't, aren't?

People use The Dictionary as the arbiter of a word's worth because they are understandably lazy. They want to make a quick appeal to an incontrovertible authority, win their argument (or their game of Scrabble) and get on with their day. Using The Dictionary this way probably worked a lot better in the pre-Google age, but when you can fire up your search engine and find 20,000 hits for celebrification, it's a bit harder to argue that it "isn't real."

Don't get me wrong: celebrification may still be ugly, it may still be awkward, it may be better expressed by a paraphrase and not by a single (possibly over-suffixed word), but it's real, all right, and an argument against its use based on "it's not a real word, because it's not in the dictionary" is an argument you're eventually going to lose. Anything that's used as a word, understood as a word, and that works like a word -- is an actual, living, breathing, honest-to-goodness word. Full stop.

Sometimes people use "that's not a real word" to mean "that's a mistake" -- that something is a misspelling, or is used incorrectly, based on traditional use. The "it's not in the dictionary" argument doesn't work there, either. The Encarta dictionary famously listed common misspellings, right in the A-Z, with cross-references to the more common spellings. A facetious argument could then be made that those misspellings are "in the dictionary," and I wouldn't bet that some eighth-grader, somewhere, didn't try it. Dictionaries should list common meanings, even if they are considered errors by traditionalists (but they should also give a warning to that effect). Ignoring a problem never yet made it go away.

But while we're talking about errors and mistakes, I'm not sure if anyone can announce with certainty just when an error, made by enough people over a long enough period of time, becomes the standard. I think that it takes at least three generations, and that it has to be something obscure enough that it can pass unnoticed by all but the most conscientious of copyeditors. For instance, even though confusing your and you're is certainly widespread, I don't see those two words become conflated any time soon -- enough people still know and maintain the difference. But other terms, words we don't use as often or as surely, can sneak by while we're looking the other way (one that Ben Zimmer pointed out recently is minuscule as miniscule).

Whenever a lexicographer starts discussing the natural tendency of words to mutate and transform, of not-words to become words, a great howl arises. It's only natural that people who have taken the trouble to internalize standard English and use it in generally accepted ways would be upset when others don't take that same trouble -- or even, it as it sometimes seems, any trouble at all. But the plain truth is that language changes, drifts, and evolves -- transmutes, even -- and it's very, very difficult to stop it from doing so.

If language change really annoys you, to the point where you find it no longer possible to enjoy your normal daily activities, you should become a copyeditor, and then you will have the exquisite privilege of fixing the usages that annoy you all day long. Otherwise, if a new usage bothers you, I can only say, "don't use it, then."

The Dictionary is no longer the be-all and end-all of wordosity. If you want to be an educated word consumer, you'll have to do a little more work than just checking for in-or-out-ness. If your real question is "should I use this word or not?" you'll probably have to do a little bit more analysis. Who is your audience? What is their reaction to an unusual word likely to be? Would a more standard alternative make for a smoother communication of your message, or do you want and need the jolt that a new and striking term will give your listeners and readers? Will your new word be annoying (and if so, do you wish to annoy)? Or will it be playful and add a necessary shot of attitude?

Words aren't like Bigfoot: a moment's glimpse of a fabled creature isn't sufficient proof for cryptozoology. But just one momentary use is perfectly fine for determining whether or not a word is "real." The big question is what you can do with it, not whether it exists in the first place.

Temp Guest (mail):
The link to minuscule is fascinating. Check out how "eggcorn" references to a 15th century chanson and deer innards have become standard English!
9.27.2007 1:36pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
Neology is a fun practice. My software project practices a methodology called "scrum", a term taken from rugby. We use it as a verb: "time to scrum". We also discuss questions like whether something similar to scrum is "scrummish" or "scrummy", and whether the content of scrum is "scrummage" or "scrummery". I commonly thank the powers that be for letting me work at a company where my whole team can take part in such discussions.

Here's one I think about now and again. Should "refrigerator" have a D in it? I know it doesn't, but SHOULD it? Many people insist on putting one there.

I note that the most common spelling of the abbreviation "fridge" (commonly termed "not a word") does. So if the answer to the above is "no", should the abbreviation have the D removed? Is the appropriate spelling of the abbreviation "frige" - removing the D - or "frig" (as I prefer), isolating the literal spelling of the syllable in question (re - frig - er - a - tor)?
9.27.2007 1:56pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
I'm reminded of the time I was shouted down in scrabble when I tried to use the word "eyer". Hey, if you buy something, you're a buyer. If you dry something, you're a dryer. If you eye something, then ...

We didn't have a dictionary available, and I was voted down. What a bunch of baloney. Oh, also, this was like ten years ago. But I am not, repeat NOT obsessed with this.

- Alaska Jack
9.27.2007 2:01pm
dearieme:
Oh joyful jublification!
9.27.2007 2:08pm
Ben P (mail):
Maybe a little more serious, but as far as dictionary use goes I think scrabble's a special case.

But of course that can always be resolved by agreement ahead of time if a dictionary is the limit or if it's by voting or something else entirely.
9.27.2007 2:18pm
JR Walker (mail):
A la Wittgenstein, words are tools. Looking for what they "mean" is the wrong question. If a neologism does the job, it's the right tool. It might not get the dictionary seal of approval but it can be an effective tool nonetheless.
9.27.2007 2:21pm
AF:
Here is my question: Do editors at the OED intentionally leave out words that are (1) commonly used and (2) generally accepted as standard English? If not, why shouldn't readers use inclusion in the OED as an arbiter of those qualities?
9.27.2007 2:24pm
David R:
Irregardless of all this descriptivism, the misuse of words is frustrating as it is a sign of ignorance. People don't do it intentionally or knowingly - they just bumble ahead.

The man on the radio was talking about writing an autobiography of George Harrison. How is that acceptable?

Also, don't forget, prescriptivism is racist and sexist and perpetuates inequity. I know, that sucks. I still don't like things that are sloppy or ignorant.
9.27.2007 2:44pm
CEB:
Interesting post. I consider words to be like articles of clothing. It's not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of aesthetics and skill. It's not "incorrect" to wear beige socks with a dark suit, but it's not going to look good. Likewise with saying things like "irregardless."
9.27.2007 2:46pm
JustinP (mail):
"Irregardless . . . the misuse of words is frustrating as it is a sign of ignorance."

Ha! Unintentional humor is the best kind.
9.27.2007 2:49pm
Bradley (mail) (www):
Thanks for demonstrating why serious writers have such distain for lexicographers. It's like the difference between a person who designs safer, beautiful, and more efficient planes, and a person who merely reports on aviation disasters.
9.27.2007 2:53pm
Mike Keenan:
Gud artical. Really.
9.27.2007 2:54pm
CEB:
Another thing: like it or not, the phrase "begs the question" does now mean "raises the question." But I am impressed when I hear or see someone using it to mean "argues in a circle;" it's like seeing a perfectly-knotted tie.
9.27.2007 2:57pm
CEB:
JustinP,

I'm not so sure that was unintentional, but if it wasn't: PWNED!1!!
9.27.2007 2:59pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):

Here's one I think about now and again. Should "refrigerator" have a D in it? I know it doesn't, but SHOULD it? Many people insist on putting one there.

I note that the most common spelling of the abbreviation "fridge" (commonly termed "not a word") does. So if the answer to the above is "no", should the abbreviation have the D removed? Is the appropriate spelling of the abbreviation "frige" - removing the D - or "frig" (as I prefer), isolating the literal spelling of the syllable in question (re - frig - er - a - tor)?



My understanding that Fridge was not short for Refrigerator, but instead is short/slang for Frigid-Aire. Once upon a time, Frigid-Aire was the most common brand of refrigerator and everyone just shortened it down to Fridge.

That is why there is a 'd' in the word.
9.27.2007 3:06pm
Peter B. Nordberg (mail) (www):
From the Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2d ed. 1993) (emphasis supplied):

word (wurd), n. 1. a unit of language . . . .

language (lang'gwij), n. 1. a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition.

The very concept of language, then, implies the prevalence of norms. Using a word entails invocation of those norms. Norms can be violated without thereby ceasing to be. The purpose or intention of a norm-violating person may be decipherable notwithstanding the violation of the norm, and no new norm is necessarily created by the violation.

So occasion-specific use and intelligibility are not sufficient criteria for wordliness. (In fairness, I do not take Erin McKean to have rujipled otherwise.)

On the whole, three generations sounds like a reasonable interval to me.
9.27.2007 3:23pm
Hoosier:
Brillig! Let's see some slithy tove gimble in the wabe about that one! Absolutely frabjous!
9.27.2007 3:29pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Don Miller,

My understanding that Fridge was not short for Refrigerator, but instead is short/slang for Frigid-Aire. Once upon a time, Frigid-Aire was the most common brand of refrigerator and everyone just shortened it down to Fridge.

That is why there is a 'd' in the word.

Well, maybe. But then how'd the 'd' get in front of the 'g'? Seems to me that the 'd' is in there only to force the intended pronunciation. (Though I note that this doesn't always happen. Somehow "mic" as short for "microphone" caught on even though "mic" isn't pronounced anything like it looks. Why isn't it "mike," analogously to "bike" and "trike"?)
9.27.2007 3:37pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Aaargh. Clarification: "Bike" and "trike" are imperfect examples, since "bicycle" and "tricycle" don't have a hard "c." What I meant was that our spellings of the abbreviated versions force the long "i" sound, whereas "mic" doesn't.
9.27.2007 3:41pm
Connie:
From Bucky in Get Fuzzy: "You can word anything if you just verb it."
9.27.2007 3:42pm
CheckEnclosed (mail):
Too often I have heard someone (often a member of the news media) say "You cannot underestimate the importance of X", when the context indicates that they think X is pretty important, so that I think they mean "It is not possible to overestimate the importance of X". Then again, maybe they mean "One should not underestimate the importance of X".

Any thoughts?
9.27.2007 3:52pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
I have no problem with people making up new words as long as they do it sensibly -- no adding redundant suffixes or prefixes ("irregardless") or verbing a noun when there's a related, preexisting verb ("conferencing" when "conferring" would work just as well). A word like "overneath" or "celebrification" makes sense within the logic of the English language regardless of whether any dictionary lists it.
9.27.2007 3:56pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Peter Nordberg is right. Just because language changes over time doesn't mean that at any particular time there's no such thing as getting it wrong. David R's example is right on point: the person on the radio misspoke, and cannot write the Harrison autobiography. If a mis-usage (like "begging the question of" for "raising the issue of") becomes popular, I don't quite see why that means it's no longer a mis-usage. I know, I know, many correct usages today were incorrect in the 16th century. But an error being commonplace isn't the same thing as "an evolution in the language." There has to be a higher standard for cromulence than that.
9.27.2007 3:59pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
CheckEnclosed,

I remember a Saturday Night Live sketch from maybe 20 years ago. The man in charge of the operation of a nuclear power plant is giving his staff instructions as he leaves on vacation. His final advice is "Remember, you can't put too much water in a nuclear reactor." Naturally, the moment he leaves, the workers get into a heated argument: Does that mean "put in all the water you want"? Or is it, on the contrary, "Be careful about adding water, because too much is very dangerous"?

Well . . . then we cut to the boss on a tropical beach with a girl, both of them gazing at a large, lurid, glowing cloud in the distance. He exits, saying to the girl as he leaves, "Remember, you can't look too long at a radioactive cloud." Tee-hee!
9.27.2007 4:11pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Michelle, I was thinking of exactly the same SNL bit, good call. I was trying to find it on YouTube, but no luck.
9.27.2007 4:19pm
PaulK (mail):
Having worked as a copy editor, I echo many of the sentiments you ascribe to them. (Sure, language changes, but I'll be damned if it's going to do it in my publication!) It also seems that the decline in the quality of colloquial language precipitated by text messages, IM's, and comment boxes makes the jobs of lexicographers and linguists more difficult (and in need of more conservatism, lest we deliver to future generations a language without written vowels).
9.27.2007 4:26pm
Hoosier:
CheckEnclosed--I think they mean you cannot "misunderestimate". Hope this helps!
9.27.2007 4:54pm
glangston (mail):
The Big Problem is genormous boredom.
9.27.2007 4:58pm
Grant Barrett (mail) (www):
AF wrote: Do editors at the OED intentionally leave out words that are (1) commonly used and (2) generally accepted as standard English? If not, why shouldn't readers use inclusion in the OED as an arbiter of those qualities?

OED can be an arbiter for English, but I wouldn't rely upon it exclusively because it's far from complete. For one, it is woefully slow in updating by decades or half-centuries, which is, in its result, the same as leaving out words that are commonly used. For two, it has tended to include in earlier editions many words that are regional, dialectical, nonce, or factitious and can still be found in its volumes. They're hardly suitable for everybody, are they? For three, it includes many words that are now archaic and are used by no one except in discussions of those words themselves. For four, it's still very British, to the disfavor of North American English. For five, it contains almost no grammar, style, or usage information. There are other reasons, but those five should be convincing enough.

Bradley, to look at your aviation metaphor differently, perhaps lexicographers are more like passengers on those airplanes: either they're landing safely or they're going down in a pile of flames, but either way they're sticking with the aircraft. Or if we stick with your metaphor, maybe lexicographers are taking pictures of the plane crashes, but for every one of those, there are 100,000 safe landings and take-offs that nobody but the lexicographer remarks upon.

Peter, the problem with assuming that the presence of norms in that definition (is it tautological to use language to define language?) indicate that there is good speech and bad speech is that we cannot, as speakers of the language, ever reach a perfect consensus as to what those norms are. Even when we have settled for ourselves as individuals what norms we will follow, the careful observer will often later find that they were either wrong about the norms or that the norms have changed while they weren't looking. Determining norms (or a lexicographer's work, for that matter) is like calculating a trajectory in outer space: you have to shoot for where your destination will be when you arrive, not where it is when you blast off, and there's always a chance that the Death Star will have been there first and your destination will be blown to smithereens.

CheckEnclosed, it's nice to see that rare occurrence: somebody with a language peeve that I've never seen before! Most people, I find, who are peeved about language, seem to borrow their peeves without examining them closely, never noticing that most peeves aren't worth the peeve that's peeved over them.

Aeon wrote: An error being commonplace isn't the same thing as "an evolution in the language." There has to be a higher standard for cromulence than that.

There is a higher standard: as Erin pointed out, that standard is yours and yours alone to set for your own speech and writing. I forgive lots of problematic language on the part of others but I get angry at myself for the same error when I make it, be it in an email or on coast-to-coast radio.
9.27.2007 5:01pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Let me defend Peter to Grant - even if it's true that we can't reach a consensus as to what the norms are, they're still there -- that's what makes language work. I accept the view that language is conventional; that means that we _are_ observing norms when we use it. We even have conventions governing violations of the conventions -- that's how, e.g., sarcasm or rhetorical questions work. I get the point being made by anit-prescriptivists, but it seems there's a slippery slope whereby nothing is incorrect. One difference in the evolution of language in the last few decades which is different from the entire prior history of language is that there's now a theoretical justification for (what was once called) error. So we have K-12 teachers not correcting grammar errors, and college profs offering theories on which there is no such thing as error. The idea that there's no right and wrong in language makes the "evolution" accelerate at a hugely faster rate, so within a decade or so, plural pronouns = singular pronouns and people write each other's autobiographies. Stop the madness!
9.27.2007 5:19pm
Heather:
There are only two lists of words allowed in Scrabble: one for North America and one for the rest of the world. You can download them at the National Scrabble Association website. Most expert players stop thinking of them as words and think of them as allowable arrangements of symbols.

The Word List is generated by a committee armed with five popular dictionaries. A word has to be present in one of the five to be presented to the committee for inclusion.
9.27.2007 5:33pm
Connie:
My mom had a dictionary copyright 1948 that she used fairly regularly until I recently bought her a new one. It was fun to try to think of words that it didn't contain (computer was there, astronaut wasn't).

Here's a dictionary abridgement question: What I really need is a dictionary that leaves out simple words (chair, shirt, toy, cat) and just includes the complicated ones. Why can't I buy one of these? It would be much smaller than the unabridged version, and more useful than the typical abridged one.

(Uh oh, spell check says that "abridgement" isn't a word.)
9.27.2007 6:06pm
Hoosier:
Connie: Try "abridgification."
9.27.2007 6:17pm
DJR:
>>I'm not sure if anyone can announce with certainty just when an error, made by enough people over a long enough period of time, becomes the standard.

Grant, thanks for this. I tried to get Eugene interested in this subject a few months back to no avail. As "proof" of a word's legitimacy (and let's take that to mean part of standard usage for now), people often cite the OED; e.g, "The OED lists a reference to "irregardless as far back as ___." My argument was that the OED reference could just be the first time that someone used a nonstandard (let's call that "wrong" for now) word that eventually became standard, so the date that it was first found in print really doesn't tell you much about the word's provenance as a "real" word.
9.27.2007 6:18pm
Earnest Iconoclast (mail) (www):
I like Calvin's quote: Verbing weirds language.

I hate playing Scrabble with Scrabble-fanatics. They use the oddest words and refuse to allow perfectly good words all based on the evil "Official Scrabble Players Dictionary". They word list is full of inconsistencies.

EI
9.27.2007 6:36pm
Erin (mail) (www):
Here's a dictionary abridgement question: What I really need is a dictionary that leaves out simple words (chair, shirt, toy, cat) and just includes the complicated ones. Why can't I buy one of these? It would be much smaller than the unabridged version, and more useful than the typical abridged one.

What you want is a dictionary of difficult words. I've heard good things about the Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words ... and from people who don't work for OUP, even. You can also get it extremely cheaply as a used paperback. :-) Cambridge also has a similar book, and the editors, Paul Heacock and Carol-June Cassidy, are first-rate lexicographers and good friends of mine.

I'm going to talk more about norms and errors tomorrow, because it's interesting (and hits all sorts of nerves).
9.27.2007 7:01pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
This thread actually raises (not begs!) a question I've been meaning to ask EV for a long time: he's an extreme descriptivist in the context of usage. Often when confronted with a that's-not-a-word situation, he'll trot out some 16th century example from the OED as a counterargument.

Does he extend that descriptivism to spelling, though? If one goes back far enough, one can find examples of "misspellings" in historical literature, because spelling wasn't necessarily standardized until dictionaries became common. Does he therefore think it acceptable for people to spell words however they want, as long as they can be understood? Does he think it wrong to call those alternative spellings "errors"?
9.27.2007 7:11pm
JBL:
When someone asks "Is that a real word?" I think the best response is just to say "No, it's imaginary."
9.27.2007 7:17pm
Grant Barrett (mail) (www):
Aeon, I shouldn't even be baited by your strawman, but:

It's not that I don't think there's a right and wrong! There is! There are many things that are patently unpermissible in English. But personal preferences aren't the same as linguistic rules and what I see here and elsewhere (mostly elsewhere) almost always has nothing to do with what English will or will not allow, but what with the peever will or will not allow.

We humans don't share one central group brain. So our individual norms are very likely to only approximate our group norms. There will be gibbous overlaps in our Venn diagrams, but there will also be small crescents that belong only to us.

The idea that there's no right and wrong in language makes the "evolution" accelerate at a hugely faster rate, so within a decade or so, plural pronouns = singular pronouns and people write each other's autobiographies.

Let's be clear: no linguist or lexicographer would stay employed for long if they said there was no right or wrong. "She shoe ballcap standing fell" is wrong. It violates the rules of English. "Hopefully and irregardless of whether it rains, we ain't gonna lose this here game" is not standard, not part of a prestige dialect, and not pretty, but also not wrong. English rules permits everything in that sentence, though rules of culture, style, and register may not.

If there were evidence to support the claim that the language is changing at a "hugely faster rate," it'd be one of the biggest language discoveries of the century.
9.27.2007 7:32pm
SubRosa:
Celebrification? Irregardless? cromulent??

These words have as much meaning as blitiri or bu-ba-baff!
9.28.2007 2:27am
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Grant: ""She shoe ballcap standing fell" is wrong. It violates the rules of English." Wait, what rules? If there really are rules for English, which I agree is the case, then why isn't "pronouns and their referents must agree in number" one of them? That failure to observe this is widespread is less because of "the evolution of language" and has more to do with PC language police in the 80s, abetted by the ascendancy of relativistic anti-prescriptivism. So my claim about language change coming fast and furious is meant to refer to this top-down change -- people are actually discouraged from using what were once correct forms. So this is not an example of bottom-up, language-changes-over-time-so-relax-already evolution.

SubRoas -- RE "cromulent" - that was an attempt at wit; google it for info.
9.28.2007 9:35am
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Sorry, I meant "SubRosa." D'OH!
9.28.2007 9:38am
Sub Rosa:
Aeon J. Skoble:

I'm quite aware of the origin of the word--you'll note I spelled it "cromulent" rather than cromulence.

And my "blitiri" and "bu-ba-baff" was an allusion to Umberto Ecco's The Name of the Rose (and my username here I guess).

Perhaps not so witty as I had hoped.
9.28.2007 3:21pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Sorry Sub Rosa! I did read The Name of the Rose, but it must have been about 18 years ago (!), so I confess I missed your allusions, which is what led me to think you had missed mine. My bad.
9.28.2007 4:12pm
goofy (www):
Aeon: "Wait, what rules? If there really are rules for English, which I agree is the case, then why isn't "pronouns and their referents must agree in number" one of them?"

Are you talking about using "they" with a singular antecedent? This has been part of English for about 500 years. It has been used by the best writers of English.

We're talking about two different kinds of rules. One kind of rules are rules that govern the linguistic structure of English. The sentence "She shoe ballcap standing fell" violates these rules. A sentence like "When you love someone you do not love them all the time" does not violate these rules - it is naturally produced by native speakers and writers with the expectation that it will be understood. Clearly there are situations where English pronouns do not have to agree with their antecedent in number. We find this behaviour in other languages too.

The other kind of rules are those created in order to proscribe a certain usage because someone believes it is illogical, ugly, or for whatever reason. The prescription against using "they" with a singular antecedent is one of these; it was created in the 1800s because it was felt that pronouns should agree with their antecedents in number. I'm not saying that all prescriptions are bad or unhelpful, I just think it's good to keep the fact of English usage distinct from people's opinions about English usage.
9.28.2007 6:37pm
Peter B. Nordberg (mail) (www):
The inability to reach "perfect consensus as to what the norms are" is very frequently trotted out as a reason not to be prescriptive, but it's a fallacious reason, and it is itself ultimately prescriptive: "Prescribe nothing unless consensus is perfect."

Norms, by definition, are fluid, imperfectly folllowed, less than unanimous. Admittedly, they are also commonly attended by the existence of competing norms. But not every failed effort to conform to a set of norms can be treated as pursuit of a competing norm. Some such failed efforts are just screw-ups -- a case of shooting for the target and missing. To me, "beg the question" for "raise the question" still falls in the screw-up category. Almost no one acquainted with the original meaning of the phrase uses it in the sense of "raise the question." Its use in the latter sense is almost universally the product of ignorance, and so it can fairly be called a mistake.
9.28.2007 8:12pm
Peter B. Nordberg (mail) (www):
And no, "folllowed" is not now an accepted variant spelling. It was a typo.
9.28.2007 8:20pm