Magazine April 5, 2021, Issue

Our Changing Words: Part II of a Two-Part Series

(Catherine Benson/Reuters)

Last month, we saw that when it comes to language, many people see the overthrow of customary usage with consternation or even indignation — especially if the change seems to result from widespread carelessness or even ignorance.

Imagine if everyone under, say, the age of 30 began saying New Bork. Every­body has always said New York — perhaps with recognizable variations (New Yawk, N’Yahk, etc.). But now people are starting to say New Bork: They still spell it with a Y but now say it with a B.

How would you react? With annoyance? With amiable insouciance? Would you yourself adopt it,

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Bryan A. Garner — Mr. Garner is the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, Garner’s Modern English Usage, and The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.

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Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

The company that oversees Dr. Seuss’s estate announced that it would no longer license six titles from his oeuvre of more than 60 children’s books.


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