so, I bought this book. Glad I did-- been flipping through it some more, and it's quite fascinating. Garner can be quite funny even if he is a snoot.
I have to admit though-- upon further reflection, I still don't get the distinction between "erstwhile" and "former". I re-read Garner's explanation
, in which he opines that erstwhile is necessary because "former" and "one-time" aren't sufficient, and realized that he never actually explains when you'd use one vs the other! The single usage example given in his entry on the topic isn't very elucidatory.
I know, "elucidatory" is awkward... no doubt Garner has a sternly worded essay on the subject. Mea culpa.
I checked this out from the library but realizing now, I need to buy it.
A while back, I accused the New Yorker
of using fancy words just for the sake of it
. One of the examples I gave was "erstwhile"-- why wouldn't you use the simpler word "former" instead? Don't they mean the same thing? Garner's entry on this topic straightened me out, I get it now. Right on