Nother

Nother is not really a word, but is used informally and only should be used in speech, if at all. We understand what a person means when they say something like, “It was a whole nother thing.” That may work in conversation, but not in writing or any kind of formal communication. In that case, “It was a whole other thing” is what is needed.

Most of us have figured out that the word nother comes from another (with the drop of the first letter), and that another comes from adding an to other. But sometimes when another word wants to make its way into the expression, we rightly say a, but then add the dropped n to other. It seems the n sound just wants to connect with other so much that it insists on connecting itself where it doesn’t belong.

Everyone knows what a person means when they say nother, but we shouldn’t write it down. And really, it makes us sound smarter if we never say it either.

The R’s That Aren’t

Today’s entry has to do with pronunciation and a couple of nasty “r’s” that have indecorously intruded into some otherwise wonderful words.

The victimized words are “persevere” and “sherbet.” The first has two r’s—not three. The second has one r, not two.

So what the first word isn’t is per-ser-veer. It’s actually per-suh-veer. (with no r in the middle of the word). In other words, there’s no serve in persevere.

That wonderful summertime confection is not “sure, Bert.” It’s pronounced shur-bit. (I know, the –bet part of the word should technically be pronounced bet, not bit. But it’s enough of a victory to get rid of Bert!)

I don’t know how those sneaky little “r’s” have snuck into those words. But let’s make an effort to keep them out!

Regimen vs. Regiment

Today’s entry is often more of a spelling issue than a grammar issue. But a mistake in this regard can be pretty amusing.

A regimen is a systematic plan or regular course of action to achieve a specific goal. Usually we’re talking about eating healthy food, exercising with a certain regularity, or following a plan for taking certain medicines when we use the word. For example,

I follow a daily regimen of exercise and physical therapy to maintain my strength as an athlete.

My condition means I have to follow a particular regimen of this over-priced drug.

A regiment, on the other hand, is a military unit usually made of several large groups of soldiers.

Example: Before the battle, the regiment staked out a strong position behind the hill.

So if you follow a daily regiment, you might get shot in the process.