Venice underwater as historically high tides continue to rise

Headline, ABC News

Underwater is an adjective, as in “Aquaman’s underwater kingdom” or “an underwater camera”. What the writer of this headline meant was “under water“. This is not an uncommon error. For example, every day we see everyday misused this way.

More of the same


Part of the ongoing series, “How the English Are Ruining Our Language

From today’s Guardian:

The co-author of the Oakervee review into HS2 has demanded his name is removed from the report which calls for the high-speed line to be built in full.

He has demanded that his name is removed? Is it removed? Surely the writer means, “insisted that his name had been removed”?

No, no, Dear Reader, I’m just having fun with you. This is what happens when a centralized school system and national press decide to mutilate their language. What the writer means is, “The co-author of the Oakervee review into HS2 has demanded that his name be removed from the report . . . .” Fortunately for us, American English still preserves some uses of the subjunctive.

How do you pronounce “short-lived”?



I’ve written about this before, but I’m devoting a posting to it in hopes that search engines might pick it up. Link to it, y’all.

The adjective, “lived”, rhymes with survived, wived, hived, connived; not with the verbs lived or sieved. I had a hard time thinking of rhymes for the verb lived, so I searched the web for rhyming dictionaries. Interestingly, the first two I looked at picked different pronunciations for lived. I just put in “lived”, and didn’t specify whether I was interested in the adjective or the verb.

The first hit was Rhymezone.com, which chose the adjective, and offered me this:

Words and phrases that rhyme with lived:   (26 results)
1 syllable:
dived, gyved, hived, jived, rived, shivved, shrived, skived, stived, strived, thrived, wived 

2 syllables:
arrivedcontriveddeprivedderived, nosedived, outlived, relived, revivedshort-lived, shortlived, survived, unlived 

3 syllables:
undeprived, underived 

The second was Rhymer.com, which chose the verb, and gave me

Rhymes with Lived
6 End Rhymes Found
2 One-Syllable Rhymes of Lived
lived sieved
3 Two-Syllable Rhymes of Lived
outlived relived retrieved
1 Three-Syllable Rhymes of Lived

Rhymezone.com loses points for using shivved, outlived, relived, and unlived which rhyme only with the verb; for using *strived (the past-tense form of to strive is strove) and *thrived (throve—though *thrived appears in print more often than throve and by now is probably considered correct by most authorities. Not by me! We still say, “drove” and “driven”. Why don’t throve and thriven come as naturally?).

Rhymer.com loses points for offering retrieved, which doesn’t rhyme with either the adjective or the verb; and for rhyming lived with lived. These sites presumably are generated by computers, which rely mainly on spelling, rather than human pronunciation, so none of that is really surprising; though one might wish for a web site written and edited (yes, edited) by human beings.

The adjective, lived, meaning, “provided with, or possessed of, life”, derives from the noun, life, not the verb, to live. Its similarity in spelling to the past-tense form of to live is a pure coincidence. A tree with long leaves is long-leaved, not *long-left. A person or thing with a short life is short-līved, not short-lĭved.


The past-tense of to cast is cast, not *casted. The past perfect of to cast, likewise, is was cast, as in

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 12:9

Similarly, the past-tense of to forecast is forecast, not *forecasted.

He forecast that the German bund rate would increase from its level of 25 basis points a year ago.

Robert Huebscher, “Gundlach’s Forecast for 2018“, Advisor Perspectives, 9 January 2018

For some reason, I keep seeing “forecasted” all over the place, especially with reference to predicted earnings and so forth in business, but also with reference to the weather.

I suppose we’ll be seeing “beated” and “betted” and “hitted” and so on, as well.

“Non full-page redactions”

The document-review application I use at work allows me to review an image of a document before it’s discovered to the adversary, and, if I want, to delete all the mark-ups (highlights and “redactions“) that have been applied to it, using this dialogue box:

Note that the choices for redactions are “Non full-page redactions” and “Full-page redactions”. Why non full-page? Because some computer coder made the box, who didn’t know that the alternative to “full” is “partial”. Good grief!



The UK’s unseasonal weather, dubbed ‘glorious’ by a complacent press, feels like a sign that something is horribly wrong

Sub-headline, Guardian, 26 February 2019

The UK’s weather (that is, Great Britain’s weather, the United Kingdom being a state, not a place) has always been seasonal, and will continue to be seasonal, even with climate change. What the writer of the sub-headline means is unseasonable, which the writer of the article, John Elledge, gets right.


I’ve noticed lately that people tend to put “kindly” into formal requests in rather an odd way, as, for example:

We kindly ask that you register in advance.

Surely they mean, “We ask that you kindly register in advance.” There’s nothing kind about their asking, and it’s a bit rude of them to describe themselves as kind. That is, it would be if they were doing it consciously, but they’re surely not. This is just one of those expressions people use automatically, without any thought of what they actually mean.