When we got the latest AP Stylebook updates … we had to look twice. Hopefully is now acceptable. And why not, it’s such a sweet word, full of … hope and good intentions. We weren’t the only ones to be taken aback. Eric Tenner of the Atlantic just published a rather wry piece, comparing fashion trends to language. He used the example of a tragedy in 1904 where ferry passengers adhering to the fashion rule of heavy wool clothing in June, perished on the infamous General Slocum disaster in New York Harbor. In other words, some of these old rules are not only out of date but could be deadly. That might be taking it too far… but this is a big deal for editors, writers and anyone who fancies grammar (or secretly loves the word hopefully).
In his article Tenner writes, The Washington Post reports on the Associated Press’s style guide’s final acceptance of the word hopefully in the sense of “it is hoped.” This appears to be the beginning of the end of one of the longest-running cultural battles, between professional linguists (who study how language is actually used) and language mavens, who establish rules of good usage.
Tenner continues, “The mavens-vs-linguists controversy reflects one of the great trends of the last hundred years, the weakening of authority by diffusion.”
Hmmm we are thinking “Hopefully” might have had its own list of manifestation intentions… #1. “Be Accepted!”
For those of you who blog or have to create content in some form for work … we hope you can relate to our enthusiasm when we get something correct! After documenting a trip to Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken New Jersey, Mimi wrote a blog on the experience—complete with details and links to photos. Immediately she got a not-so-gentle email from one of her readers stating “Awhile is one word… not two!”
Really? Here is what they wrote, “This is fun information, but I think you spelled awhile wrong.” Well the reader was right just not in this situation. Here is the blurb..
I’m not saying the goods from Carlo’s Bake Shop aren’t delicious – I didn’t try anything, so I can’t judge. I just haven’t been in a bakery for a while that didn’t at least try to have some type of health messaging to the customers—as in “our products contain no-trans fat,” or “we only use fresh, local and organic ingredients” etc.
We went to Daily Writing Tips for a clear explanation.
A while is a noun meaning “a length of time”
- “I slept for a while.”
– (compare with “I slept for a bit” and “I slept for three hours”)
“I was away from my desk for a while.”
– (compare with “I was away from my desk for two minutes”)
Awhile is an adverb, meaning “for a time,” or literally, “for a while”.
- “I slept awhile before dinner.”
(compare with “I slept deeply before dinner” and “I slept badly before dinner”.)
As you can see, the words can be used almost interchangeably in some cases – but a while needs to be accompanied by a preposition, such as “for” (“I slept for a while”) or “ago” (“I left work a while ago”). Awhile always means “for a while”.
Anyone ever told you to stop the grousing! Used here — today’s word of the day is all about grumbling, complaining and all around fretting but it’s also the term for any numerous gallinaceous birds of the subfamily Tetraoninae. So before you ruffle any feathers, be sure to use it correctly.
verb (used without object)
1. to grumble; complain: I’ve never met anyone who grouses so much about his work.
1850–55; origin uncertain; compare grouch
Photo via Flickr: by procsilas
1. gripe, fret, fuss.
Still searching for the perfect word to describe that “certain” somebody?
Today’s word of the day is Milquetoast (pronounced MILK-tohst).
1. Milquetoast: A very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated.
He played the quintessential meek, scrawny, milquetoast character.
– Iris Johansen, Fatal Tide