This week's (so-called) word is Nother.
noth·er (ˈnəTHər), adjective & pronoun informal
1. Nonstandard spelling of "another".
Used in a sentence:
"Don't go away," said the radio announcer, "there's a whole nother hour of Prairie Home Companion coming up right after this break." (Heard weekly for years on Wisconsin Public Radio. Oh, the shame of it.)
Most recently seen or heard in:
This NPR interview.
Why I like this word (or not):
I don't like this word. But as a mysterious quantifier with chilling grammatical implications, it holds a certain fascination.
Just think of the dreadful possibilities: if "whole nothers" can gain such a wide acceptance, the day of partial nothers cannot be far off.
"Still hungry, sweetheart? There's a half nother sandwich left on the plate."
"We're not out of sugar - there's a third nother cup in the bag."And it's only a matter of time before Nother crosses the pond and corrupts the metric Old World:
"I say, Basil, hadn't we better stop for petrol? We've only a tenth nother litre in the tank."Nother wasn't always such a sinister word - it entered the language rather innocently some centuries ago, bearing on its youthful head an apostrophe which marked it out as a harmless contraction of "another". Can't you just picture it? Cute little 'Nother, freckled and barefoot, wearing ragged overalls and chewing on a straw, or swimming in the crick with its cousin 'Nuff.
But something went wrong along the way. Cute little 'Nother grew up, dropped its apostrophe, and got in with a Bad Grammar crowd. (The dropped apostrophe also went astray, and now hangs out in all the worst dive's.)
Some might say Nother is an innocent victim - a piteous orphan forcibly separated from its initial letter and compelled to labour in the field of shoddy grammatical construction. Others might see it as a harmless bit of linguistic whimsy, or a pleasant way to channel their inner hillbilly.
The Grammar Prig weighs in with: "Nother is no helpless victim - it's a shifty interloper with nefarious designs on the purity of the language. I hereby issue a call for its immediate banishment - though I realise the unlikelihood of such an event. This is America, after all, where grammatical horrors are daily embraced and welcomed into Common Usage. Now that Nother has infiltrated Public Radio, there's no telling where it may go. The next thing we know, it will be running for President. With a misplaced apostrophe as its running-mate."
The Grammar Prig's Better Way to Say It:
- Another whole
- Another full
- Another completely
- Another entirely
"There's another full hour of our show coming up after this message."
"That's another story entirely."Nother. Victim or villain? You be the judge.
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of the blogger. (But she really enjoys writing them.)
That's all for today, folks. Tune in next week, when we'll focus on a...nother (and better) word.
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How do you feel about nothers, whole or otherwise?
Do you have any pet grammatical peeves?
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