Sunday, July 26, 2015

Why We Get Words Wrong, Part 8: Using Logic

Some people use the nonstandard conversate and orientate because they're trying to apply a rule that works for other noun-verb forms, such as communicate for communication, compensate for compensation, and enunciate for enunciation. Make sense? Maybe, but we're not talking about sense; we're talking about Standard English. Some ation-ending nouns go all over the place: condense for condensation, create for creation, and transport for transportation

Seeking consistent logic with English words will lead to many errors. For instance, the adjective forms of many verbs may end in able (acceptable limit, notable achievement, quantifiable result), al (emotional behavior, irrational judgment, transitional government), ed (affected parties, educated woman, involved participant), d (filed document, reconciled ledger, tiled floor), ing (misleading statement, overarching point, running water), ive (automotive technology, explosive temper, informative teacher) ory (compensatory skill, inflammatory language, mandatory training), and other forms. Lots of luck trying to find logical patterns here.