Monday, February 12, 2007

common usage

I was reading the "Opus" comic strip in this Sunday's paper and a character mentioned that "thaw" and "unthaw" mean the same thing. Are there a lot of words like this and if there is one that is more commonly used, but the author uses the other, do you bother to query about it (because th meaning is essentially right, regardless of what people can easily recognize) or is that just being too anal retentive, even for a copyeditor?


Pat said...

There are the words flammable and inflammable, which mean the same thing. And another pair, which I can't think of right now.

I'd recommend the word more commonly used, but I can imagine cases in which the word more popular with readers is less popular with copyeditors.

Good question, Jenna :)

LilyLuvsU said...

This happens because the latin prefix "in-" has three meanings: on/in, not/without, and very. The last one is rarely used. So, "inflammable" in latin breaks down into "very-fire-capable of being" or "very capable of being a fire." Interesting, huh? I learned this from my Word Study class, LLEA 123.