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October 20, 2003


Bad Usage Makes Me Nauseous

Since it seems to be grammar day here on the 'Bot, I may as well mention this one: Slate has an article today headlined "The Quizno's Ad That Will Make You Nauseated." Who was the over-zealous copy editor who came up with that one? Why not "...That Will Nauseate You"? Or, you might wonder, why not "...That Will Make You Nauseous." You might say, "But I thought 'nauseous' couldn't be used like that!" but according to Merriam-Webster, resistance to "nauseous" (as in "feeling nauseated") is crumbling, just like resistance to the fused gerund constructions discussed below in the Scalia post. Here's what MW has to say:

1: causing nausea or disgust : NAUSEATING
2: affected with nausea or disgust
usage: Those who insist that nauseous can properly be used only in sense 1 and that in sense 2 it is an error for nauseated are mistaken. Current evidence shows these facts: nauseous is most frequently used to mean physically affected with nausea, usually after a linking verb such as feel or become; figurative use is quite a bit less frequent. Use of nauseous in sense 1 is much more often figurative than literal, and this use appears to be losing ground to nauseating. Nauseated is used more widely than nauseous in sense 2.
Either way, I know how I'll feel after watching an ad for a sandwich company that features a boy sucking a wolf's teat.

categories: Culture
posted by adm at 11:35 AM | #


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