Monday, October 10, 2011

Copy editors are nauseous

So why are all copy editors feeling sick to their stomach? They're not; that's not what I'm saying.

If copy editors are nauseous, that means they cause nausea, something with which I'm sure most writers agree. This is the original meaning of nauseous, anyway.

If I wanted to say copy editors feel like throwing up (like, for example, when they see the following typo), I would say they are nauseated. It's the typo that's nauseous.

But, again, these are only the original meanings of the words. They have been misused for so long now that they have swapped definitions. Just another example of our changing language ...

But I love being a purist and a prescriptivist, so I still say it and write it the original way. So, what makes you nauseated? (Besides purist, prescriptivist, nauseous copy editors, that is ...)

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