Grammar lessons, pt. 2: food

Inspired by Liz Lemon, here is a special food edition of Garner nuggets.

doughnut; donut. The first spelling, which is more common, is preferred because it retains the name of the main ingredient (though on this rationale it might be aptly renamed sugarnut or oilnut). Donut–or, worse, do-nut–should be reserved for eatery names and advertising. (Garner 276)

espresso (= a specially prepared coffee through which steam is forced under high pressure) is so spelled–not *expresso. (318)

fondue (= a dish consisting of melted cheese or other hot liquid into which chunks of food are dipped) is the standard spelling. *Fondu is a variant. (364)

salmon is pronounced /sa-mǝn/, not /sal-mǝn/. But salmonella is pronounced with the –l-: /sal-mǝ-nel-ǝ/. (725)

yogurt; *yoghurt. The Turkish loanword yogurt (= a thick cultured dairy product) is so spelled. *Yoghurt, a variant spelling common (but not dominant) in BrE, is rare in AmE. In fact, yogurt is more than 200 times as common as *yoghurt in American print sources. *Yoghourt and *yogourt are likewise variant spellings best avoided. (874)

Invariably inferior words and phrases are marked with an asterisk (*). (almost every odd-numbered page)

Less useful than usual, I know. I’ve got food on my mind. And therefore Liz. But now I’m going to pick out a Disney film for Zach and I to watch. Too bad there’s no Bond or Indiana Jones marathon on TNT. Not that we have a telly (or, TV) to watch it on.

Garner, Bryan A. Garner’s Modern American Usage. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University, 2009.
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5 Responses to Grammar lessons, pt. 2: food

  1. Angela says:

    Upvote! This post contains some of my favorite things: food, Liz Lemon, and grammar.

    I’m sure you’ve heard about the deal with the Oxford comma. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/06/29/oxford-comma-dropped-university-serial-comma_n_886932.html?ir=Books&ref=fb&src=sp#undefined

    I still stand by it. (See first sentence.)

    • K Arterburn says:

      “As a general rule, do not use the serial/Oxford comma: so write ‘a, b and c’ not ‘a, b, and c’. But when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity, it can be used.”

      Doesn’t the Oxford comma always assist in the meaning and reduce ambiguity? That’ll be my justification in using it.

  2. Kitty says:

    For a long time…I really did say expresso. I’ve never admitted that before.

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