Posted by Barney on October 17, 2002
In Reply to: Leant posted by R. Berg on October 17, 2002
: : : : : : : Is usa(d)ge a British spelling? In our unabridged dictionary, I found no alternate spelling for "usage."
: : : : : : : I know that we Yanks have our own spelling for some words, stemming from our desire to separate ourselve from the mother country. Perhaps this is one of them.
: : : : : : : ES
: : : : : : I think it was a play on a typo in the subject of your original post where you accidentally spellled usage u-s-a-d-g-e.
: : : : : I checked a few sources and found no
such word as "usadge".
: : : : : Also I found no such word as "spellled".
: : : : : The irony of it all!
: : : : Although Ms. Camel seems to need help in how to stop spelling "spelling", there is, I believe, a transatlantic difference with the past tense and/or past participle of the verb "to spell". For some reason, my tendency is to opt for "spelt" - "I spelt it out for him". Similarly, I'd opt for "learnt" rather than "learned". Am I right in thinking that this is not the way you'd do it over the pond?
: : : Yes, you are. The -t forms are understood here--another one is "dreamt"--but they look archaic. We do write "unkempt," though.
: : How about "leant"?
: That looks even more archaic than "learnt." Our past for "lean" is "leaned," pronounced with one syllable, a long E, and a D at the end. But our past for "bend" is usually "bent"; "bended" is rare (Amer. Heritage Dict.). For "lend," only "lent." Amer. Heritage allows "blent" as an alternative past for "blend," but I've never seen it used. "Fent" (from "fend") isn't even listed as an option, nor is "ment," so that "The hermit fent for himself and ment his raveling garments all winter" would be written only by someone whose education ent too soon.
So where does "usadge" originate, who invented the word, what does it mean, will there be more like it and how will we withstand the onslaught if this trickle of new words becomes a torrent of nonsense? The people who have to understand them must be told.