The Compulsive Copyeditor

February 15, 2012

I Am on a One-Woman Campaign . . .

Filed under: language degenerating — amba12 @ 4:20 pm

. . . to get the extra syllable out of the word “preventative.”

My contention is that if we don’t say “preventate” or “preventation,” we have no business saying “preventative.”

What is it about those extra syllables that makes people feel well padded against the rapiers of rivals and the cold winds of humble reality? Is using such a pomped-up word driven by the same sort of impulse as buying cheap stainless steel tableware tricked out to look like an 18th-century aristocrat’s silver, or framing a mail-order doctorate? Or is it that “preventive” just doesn’t sound thick enough to be . . . protectative?

What other words can you think of that this is done to?

Advertisements

6 Comments »

  1. What other words can you think of that this is done to?

    I’m having trouble thinking of other representative examples. I’ll keep looking and get back to you. :)

    Comment by chickelit — February 15, 2012 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  2. Can anyone tell me the difference between being “active” and “proactive” in promoting a cause?

    And how is it that we used to talk of the dinosaur’s “extinction” and now it’s an “extinction event?”

    Comment by Richard Milner — February 15, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  3. Can anyone tell me the difference between being “active” and “proactive” in promoting a cause?

    Isn’t it like “pluperfect” is to “perfect” i.e., an intensifier?

    I’d never heard of “extinction event.” Perhaps I read the wrong kind of science journals.

    Comment by chickelit — February 15, 2012 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  4. Utilize – makes me want to gouge eyes out.

    Comment by Kat — February 15, 2012 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  5. “Utilize”!! Good one!

    Actually I think “proactive” has a meaning, different from “active” — it means “getting a jump on it,” getting ahead of the curve. An example is teasing my mind . . . oh, I know: “preventive peeing”! Going to the bathroom, even if you don’t particularly have to, before you get in the car or take your seat in the movie theater. Now that’s proactive.

    (Now someone will seize on this and turn it into “preventative peeing.” Just watch.)

    Comment by amba12 — February 15, 2012 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

  6. “Extinction” seems like a one-time event description, while “extinction event” seems to be being used like “possible cause”, only with more weight so to speak! A garden variety flood or earthquake may be bad….but they wont kill everyone! That would be an “extinction event.”

    Comment by kngfish — February 16, 2012 @ 12:07 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: