Usage vs Use

Posted by Bob on May 09, 2003

In Reply to: Usage vs Use posted by Lotg on May 09, 2003

: I've never really understood the value of the word 'usage'. Surely, wherever you can use the word 'usage', it is also acceptable to use the word 'use'.

: I know it's more common to say that something is 'in common usage', but is it in fact more correct or necessary?

Usage is not identical to use. Usage (particularly in the sense of how words are used/accepted/understood in a language community) is an accepted set of conventional verbal patterns. (When writers go wrong, it can be grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, etc. - the no[word removed in order to comply with Google's Publisher Policy] "alot" is in common use, but it is not proper usage.) "Ain't," for another common example, is acceptable usage in some communities, verboten in others.