January 16, 2017

Is There a Wrong Way to Use 'Decimate'?

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Roman generals who needed to punish their own troops would kill a random one out of ten — the origin of the word "decimate." So can you use it to mean "completely annihilate"? That's debatable.

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Insurmountable Peeves
Posted by June on January 16, 2017
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I try to avoid forming opinions on matters that aren't subject to opinion. The key word is "try." Just because I know a usage is acceptable doesn't mean I like it. I have my own unfounded, not-backed-up-by-reality peeves and prejudices. I usually keep mum about them. No point raving about the wrongness of something that's right. Still, some usages irk my inner pedant even though they're correct.

Here's a column I wrote recently naming just a few.

June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more

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