Monday, April 11, 2011

Fighting a rear-guard action to protect the English language

Sign in an overpriced casual men's 
store on Newbury Street in Boston

Thanks for the clarification.  We should never have known.


You will almost certainly read or hear that Japan is marking the one-month anniversary since the country was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.  Even the Voice of America used that locution.

Well, no, the Japanese aren't.  There's no such thing as an anniversary for a period of less than a year.  "Anniversary" comes from annus, Latin for year, and versus, which did not mean "against" as it does now, but "turning."  (There's no 18-month anniversary, either.)

Oh, and 12 months from an event is not the one-year anniversary--a clumsy and ugly phrase that is an outgrowth of the mis-use of anniversary.  It's the first anniversary.  

1 comment:

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

This old English major thanks you.