word bugaboos

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Feb 2 13:12:14 EST 2004

Charlie provended the power of coincidence!

>> Back in 1926 Chambers was defining "gift" thus (among other things):
>> to endow with any power or faculty", and by 1988 they'd added "to present"
>> after that.  According to the 1972 S.O.D. this usage has been around since
>> 1619, though more in Scotland than in England.
>I wonder if this is part of a more general trend to Scottish usage? I'm
>thinking also of the recent popularity, again in hifalutin and/or pompous
>contexts, of the participle 'proven' (as in the Scottish verdict of 'Not
>Proven') in preference to 'proved'.

Advertising.  "Proven to be more effective against dandruff".

I don't think it is necessarily Scots, despite the verdict-usage you cite.
Chambers in 1988 was saying it was American usage apart from the specific
Scots legal survival.  Fowler's Modern English Usage (1926 and 1965
editions) says it is from the old form "preve" not the modern "prove", like
"weave" and "woven", and is "better left alone".  :-)

The question arose in my household on 21st Jan, about that particular word,
and led to a quick scan on words taking "en" instead of "ed".

(I know the date because that was when the "file was modified" in which we
noted some.)

The file has in it

bound, bounden or bounded                       deliberately archaic
braze, brazen or brazed                         deliberately archaic
carve, carven or carved                         deliberately archaic
chide, chidden                                  deliberately archaic
drive, driven                                   normal
get, gotten or got (in UK not US)               deliberately archaic
give, given                                     normal
prove, proven or proved                         deliberately archaic
rive, riven                                     deliberately archaic
strive, striven or strived                      deliberately archaic
write, written                                  normal
cleave, cloven or cleaved                       deliberately archaic

heighten (only ever; never "height" as a verb)  normal
lighten ditto                                   normal
bright, brighten                                normal
fright, frighten                                normal

light (down), lighten down or lighted down or lit down
                                                deliberately archaic

what to make of rave, raven?  (as in, the ravening wolf)

This last was a descent into frivolity that got me castigated by the
youngest brat, and we left the matter there.

The other "en" ending that's strange is the plural "children".  Apart from
brother/brethren, which is definitely not usual in speech, ox/oxen, which
isn't much found these days outside biblical-style utterance, and
house/housen, which is dialect, are there other plurals with "en"?  Was it
once chick/chicken, but an s got put onto the chicken to make them conform?

Where does "liken" fit?

My brain hurts.


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