19 June 2007
Norman, OK, USA


Attention, under-thirty folks!

I usually don't grouse much about spelling, but there's one that's gnawing on me.

"Definitely" comes from the same root words as "define," "finite," and "infinite," and, for once in the English language, the spelling is actually pretty consistent: de-finite-ly.  There's no "a" in it, folks.

On the other hand, English spelling messes like "precede," "proceed," and "supersede" (yes, those are the correct spellings) usually bring to mind the comedian Gallagher's often-used phrase, "How can I respect a language that doesn't respect me* ?" 

"But it doesn't make any difference," I hear you say.  Other than making old people and PARTICULARLY business people**  think you're an ignoramus, that's sometimes true.  There are some cases, though, where small spelling variations make all the difference.  Try "insure," "ensure," and "assure" in your friendly on-line dictionary.  Don't read The Norman (Oklahoma) Transcript after doing this, though; their editors evidently can't distinguish among the three!

'Nuf said.***

*Well, the second "s" in "supersede" actually makes some sense if you look at its etymology.  Try it at

**Business people:  the folks who have the gold and make the rules.  Remember them?

***(But don't start sentences with conjunctions, over-parenthesize, over-exclaim, or use footnotes in blog postings either!!!!!)  :^)  Now about those emoticons ...