May 5, 2016 6:00 AM EDT

Next time someone corrects one of your language errors, know this: in a few decades, your version might be the new gold standard. Here’s proof, courtesy of the latest edition of Garner’s Modern English Usage:


There was a time when using contact as a verb (“Contact me later”) rather than as a noun (“Avoid contact with angry bees”) had grammarians snapping their monocles. “But people like brevity,” says author Bryan Garner, and “contact” is briefer than “get in touch with.”


In a traditional sense, saying you are nauseous implies you are capable of making others feel nauseated.


The oldest meaning of deprecate is to “pray for deliverance from,” which makes being self-deprecating, as Garner puts it, “a virtual impossibility, except perhaps for those suffering from extreme neuroses.” The traditional form used “depreciating,” which means to belittle.


The original form was spit and image, “from the notion of God’s using spit and dust to form the clay to make Adam in his image,” says Garner. But the one-word corruption is now 23 times more common.

–Katy Steinmetz

This appears in the May 16, 2016 issue of TIME.

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