or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Two errors today. Casual, unsurprising ones.

The first is in this sentence from the dependably amusing SupersizedMeals.com:

This deep-fried monstrocity is literally heart stopping!

"Heart-stopping" ought to have been hyphenated, but that's not my problem here.

You can easily see how "monstro-city" came about if you want to write about a city, and a number of writers have deliberately used it; there's even a game by that name. It's still wrong in the above context, though.

The rule is pretty simple: if the adjective ends in "-se", "-ous" or "-ose", the noun ends in "-sity": adverse/adversity, meticulous/meticulosity, grandiose/grandiosity. If it ends in "-ic" or "-ious", the noun ends in "-city": periodic/periodicity, mendacious/mendacity. Since "monstrous" ends in "-ous" (but not "-ious"), its adjectival form is "monstrosity". (There are other words ending with "-sity" or "-city" that are formed in other ways--"extensity" is one--but the rule still holds.)

The second error of the day is in a letter to the editor for a Salon.com column, and I usually give comment-posters lots of leeway because there's usually no spellchecker in the software and once you've posted you can't un-post, but this was obviously not a mere passing typo but a full-fledged mistake:

Brad and Jen for eg were together forever in human years, which in movie star years was, like, 5.

"For eg"? I don't think so. "E.g." must be punctuated because it's an abbreviation. It's not a word, and you don't precede it with "for"--it stands on its own, because the word "for" is subsumed into it.

"E.g." represents Latin "exempli gratia", "the favour of an example", and in English means "for example". That's all.


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