Tag Archives: clockwise

Be —wise Selectively

Speaking of locutions that make me cringe (we were, weren’t we?), the suffix “—wise” is near the top of my list. Limit it to a very few situations:

• Clockwise, counter clockwise

• Otherwise

• Lengthwise

Spare others from uses such as “healthwise,” “timewise,” “costumewise,” “stylewise.”

Instead of saying or writing, “Healthwise, I’ve had some problems with my elbow recently,” just drop that silly introductory word. It adds nothing.  Nor does “costumewise”:  “Costumewise, I’m going as Darth Vader as a schoolboy.” Just describe the getup you are planning on wearing to that Star Wars-themed Halloween party.

And so ends my word(s) to the wise.

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Be Wise

Do you take note when you see or hear people use the suffix “—wise”?  I do.

“Taxwise, the consequences will be significant.”

“I have branched out contentwise in my latest book.”

“Weatherwise, I prefer autumn to any other season.”

Commonly accepted uses of “—wise” are “otherwise,” “clockwise” and “counterclockwise.” Otherwise (ahem), other uses, although common, are generally considered a rather awkward manner of expression. It’s easy to avoid the suffix. Just try to be specific:

Clockwise Trail Access

Clockwise Trail Access (Photo credit: MTSOfan)

“The taxes will be significant if you decide to leave all your money to your no-good nephew.”

“My latest book’s content is different from that of my previous books.”

“I prefer autumn weather to that of any other season.”


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Filed under All things having to do with the English language