or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, September 08, 2005

With a Capital T

Today on boingboing.com I ran across a past tense form that completely threw me:

The amazing thing: I installed and troubleshooted the installation of Mac OS X on Intel in 8 steps.

"Troubleshooted"? Really?

Everyone knows the past tense of "shoot" is "shot", and therefore logically the past tense of "troubleshoot" ought to be "troubleshot". (And, sure enough, that's what's listed in the dictionaries; my own spellchecker flags the first as incorrect but not the second, so "troubleshot" it is.)

And yet I don't like either of them, which is to say that neither of them seems really preferable to the other. I know, I know; "troubleshot" is the accepted form, and if I were editing someone's writing and they had the nerve to use "troubleshooted", I'd fix it. The thing is, though, that I would have a very hard time using "troubleshot", and I honestly don't think it sounds better or more natural than "troubleshooted"; I'd find it preferable to rewrite the sentence to avoid the past tense form altogether. ("I managed to install and troubleshoot the installation...", perhaps.)

But then, every editor has his own little peccadilloes. I have never been able to shake my belief that the plural of "mouse" as in "computer mouse" (as opposed to the plural of a mouse-mouse, which is clearly "mice") ought to be "mouses". I don't know why I think this, but I do. I don't really use it; I'd never amend anyone's correct usage to my blatantly incorrect one; but I still like it. So sue me.


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