Monday, December 29, 2008

Loathsome -- not spelled as pronounced

From Garner's Usage Tip of the Day


"Loathsome" is so spelled, even though the first syllable sounds like the verb (rhymes with "clothe") rather than the adjective (rhymes with "oath"). Perhaps as a result of the sound association, many writers err by writing "loathsome" -- e.g.:

o "An array of loathesome [read 'loathsome'] characters drifts through this anthropology of the urban undead." Chris Kidler, "Tama Janowitz's 'A Certain Age,'" Baltimore Sun, 8 Aug. 1999.

o "Severed Fingers and Toes (Gasworks) are extremely loathesome [read 'loathsome']-looking gummy chews, available at party stores." Charles Perry, "Extreme Treats," L.A. Times, 27 Oct. 1999.

o "The characters we first meet in 'Nurse Betty' are terminally dim, risible or loathesome [read 'loathsome']." James Verniere, "Zellweger Is a Reason to Love 'Nurse Betty,'" Boston Herald, 8 Sept. 2000.


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