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Nov 15, 2010
This week's theme
Adverbs

This week's words
in situ
wherefore
ex gratia
therewithal
in toto

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The adverb is a stepchild of the language. Usage pundits, grammar gurus, and language mavens have been denouncing it ad nauseam: Don't pay much attention to the adverb. It makes you (and your writing) look bad. Let it stay in the basement of the language. Why don't you talk with nouns and verbs instead?

Adverbs do have a job. Push them away and you're left wondering how to answer questions such as: How? In what manner? To what degree?

When people advise avoiding the adverb, they're referring to words ending in -ly: extremely, really, endlessly, etc. It may be OK to use such words sparingly, but your writing appears stilted if they are used often.

Many adverbs don't end in -ly. In fact, in the few sentences here, I used such adverbs aplenty (ad nauseam, often, aplenty). This week we have lined up five such adverbs. Try them on for size. And if an adverb fits, why not have a ball with it?

in situ

PRONUNCIATION:
(in SY-too, SEE-, -tyoo, -choo)

MEANING:
adverb: In the original place.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin in situ (in place). The word is used in medicine to indicate a condition in a localized state, not spread beyond. First recorded use: 1740.

USAGE:
"The sound engineers came to record the nuns in situ."
Louette Harding; Sing out, Sisters: How a Closed Order of Benedictine Nuns Recorded an Album; Daily Mail (London, UK); Oct 9, 2010.

See more usage examples of in situ in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
If you want to work on your art, work on your life. -Anton Chekhov, short-story writer and dramatist (1860-1904)

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