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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Not-So-Tuned-In about How to Use "Contact?"

Well, I guess I'm not so tuned in today!

This little tip on editing that recently ran in my #SharingwithWriters newsletter will explain why I say that:

It used to be that contact was a noun. We didn’t use it as a verb, at least not in formal writing. But Garner’s has put us at ease about this. Bryan Garner notes that the positive aspect of this trend keeps us from using “”I’ll get in touch with him,” which is lots wordier than “I’ll contact him” and works just as well. By the way, if you don’t have a copy of Garner's book on usage, get one. It is a trusted style guide—far beyond the one you are probably using. Ahem! (Those who read my SharingwithWriters newsletter probably know I'm not keen on any of the editions of Strunk because it has been misleading those interested in English--particularly rules vs. style choices-- for too many decades, now!)

Well, I didn't know that contact was exclusively--by dictionary standards--a noun. Either that usage was restricted a very long time ago, or I have been slipping.  OR, it's all about what the World Wide Web does to our language. What do you think?

PS: If you are interested in subscribing to #SharingwithWriters (there is something on editing in every issue), go to .  There is a subscription window in the top right corner of almost every page.   


Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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