Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Words on Wednesday

Heighth is not a word.

That was going to be the basis of today's WoW lesson and I was prepared to rant on and on about how it absolutely drives me crazy to hear people say, "the heighth of the building" when they should be saying, "the height of the building". However, in my compulsive need to research everything, lo and behold, guess what I found out? You guessed it - I was wr...wrrr...wrrrrr...wrong.  

Heighth is a colloquial variant of height, even though no dictionaries list it as a living word. According to my source, its use is a common peeve among people who consider themselves careful users of English the Grammar Police. Ya think? I have to tell you, it grates on my last nerve, especially when I hear newscasters and sports commentators using it. But then I found this... 
  • From JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye: "I can usually get them on account of my heighth." 
  • From Charles Dickens' Great Expectations: “Pip, I wish you ever well and ever prospering to a greater and a greater heighth.” 
  • From John Milton's Paradise Lost: "This essence to incarnate and imbrute that to the highth of Deity aspired." 
Seriously?! Okay, so they get a pass because they're old and it really was a word up until about the 19th century. However, we are now in the 21st century and it's time to evolve! If I hear heighth, I'd better hear thou and doth right along with it; ya know, just so there's no mixed-century-colloquialism going on. As for me, I'm going to stand by my crazy and cringe, but I'll change my proclamation:

Heighth is not a word you should use as standard English.

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