A new (to me, IAC) spelling rule

Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Tue Aug 31 22:23:57 UTC 2010

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 4:32 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      A new (to me, IAC) spelling rule
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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."

crazy as a bedbug.

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