A new (to me, IAC) spelling rule

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 31 20:32:27 UTC 2010

I may be AFU, here, but it seems to me that there is simply no reason
on earth to sit around making up this kind of nonsense and then
foisting it off on the polloi as an actual rule that they have to
adhere to, lest they be considered only hemi-semi-literate.

One of several letters to the NYT more or less making the same empty -
IMO, IAC - claim:

"Bed bugs is TWO words – not one. The general rule [WTF?! If there is
such a rule, why wasn't I taught it at any time between 1942, when I
entered grade school, and 1954, when I (was) graduated (from) high
school?] for writing out common names of insects is as follows. If the
insect name is a misnomer (e.g., the dragonfly is NOT a fly and
neither is a damselfly), then the whole name is written as one word.
If it is not a misnomer, then it is written as two words (e.g., house
fly, which is a real fly [GB: Samuelson, James. ... The Common
_Housefly_. 2nd ed. London, 1860]). The bed bug is a “true” bug and
therefore is two words."

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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