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AD HOC

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AD HOC

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:51 pm

• ad hoc •

Pronunciation: æd-hahkHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Formed temporarily for a specific, non-continuing purpose, as an ad hoc committee on ice removal. 2. Impromptu, not planned, improvised, as an ad hoc attempt to remove the ice with a screw-driver.

Notes: Today we have what seems to be two Good Words but it is pronounced as though it is one. Remember, there isn't even a hyphen between these two Latin words (see Word History). That it is considered a single word in English is demonstrated by the regular derivations for it we find. The noun, ad hocism or adhocism "acting in ad hoc ways", is widely used but if you want to be funny about it, try ad-hocery, used by a wag in The Economist as late as 1961.

In Play: Today's word seldom wanders far from talk about committees in the US, but other uses are out there: "Passing through a small town on our way to Canada, we ran a stop sign and had to make an ad hoc visit to the local courthouse." There are even uses around the house: "Rick O'Shea embarrassed his wife at the party when he put a lampshade on his head and performed an ad hoc dance on the coffee table."

Word History: Today's phrase-word comprises the Latin preposition ad "to" + hoc "this". Ad shares the same origin as English at, which still can express the sense of "to", as in to lunge at. Hoc is the neuter accusative of hic "this". It comes from an old root that is also behind English here and hither, since ancient [k] becomes [h] in Germanic languages like English. In Russian, however, it doesn't, so the same root accounts for the initial [k] in kto "who" and the [ch] in chto "what".
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:03 am

Today we have what seems to be two Good Words but it is pronounced as though it is one.

Lapsus digitorum: what seem to be...

Brazilian dude
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Postby tcward » Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:18 am

Brazilian dude wrote:
Today we have what seems to be two Good Words but it is pronounced as though it is one.

Lapsus digitorum: what seem to be...

Brazilian dude


I disagree with you here, BD. There is an implied reference to this single submission, so the subject, which is singular, seems to offer two Good Words for the price of one... as it were.

Consider rewriting the phrase, and you'll see that the verb "seems" is correct:

Today we have a submission that seems to be...

It seems to be two Good Words...

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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:30 am

Languages rule!
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Postby tcward » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:33 pm

Right, and I think it is a singular subject.

In order to rephrase as a plural what, you'd have to jumble up the sentence into a difficult mash:

Today we have what [would] seem to be two Good Words but they are pronounced as though they are one.

I still think it was fine as originally posted. Idiomatic, perhaps, but quite standard.

-Tim
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