Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Penultimate Frisbee

It has come to my attention that our friend penultimate is being subjected to a lot of abuse. What kind of abuse? Inaccurate humpage!

Penultimate is being used to mean "quintessential” or "archetypical" when really it means "next to last." Example: It will be the penultimate vacation. Many people also mistakenly use “penultimate” when they mean "the very last."*

I personally blame Lemony Snicket and his children's book, The Penultimate Peril. This title makes one believe that penultimate is the ultimate, utmost peril, rather than the next to last peril. Doesn't it, humpers? Isn't it misleading? That Lemony is one subversive fellow. And to think he is shaping young minds.

I hope this is not my penultimate post.

P.S. If you really want to stump someone and look all smartsy, use the word antepenultimate, which means “third from the end.”

*Common Errors in English Usage, Paul Brians


:: posted by Caroline Hickey, 2:38 PM


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