Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

The end is nigh(t)?

with 16 comments

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I’ve just bought a Roberts ‘pillowtalk speaker’ — you know, one of those gizmos that enable you to listen to the radio at night without disturbing anyone else.

Except now I’m worried. Emblazoned across the box, no fewer than five times, is the claim that it is suitable for ‘nightime listening’. Is that as in ‘the end is nigh’? What do the people at Roberts know that I don’t? Is it something to do with the Hadron Collider being switched on again?

Of course, what they meant to write was, ‘night-time’ listening. Presumably.


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Written by Wordwatch

18/11/2009 at 11:17 am

16 Responses

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  1. *standing back, admiring* “one of those gizmos that enable you….”

    Over here, we like our nighttimes unified.

    Michael Farrell

    21/03/2010 at 5:45 pm

    • Aaah — I’m glad you said that. I suspected that might be the American way, but couldn’t find any references to the US spelling of the word in my dictionaries. Thanks, Michael.


      21/03/2010 at 6:02 pm

  2. Yet it’s “pastime” (no double S). English is so weird….

    Michael Farrell

    23/03/2010 at 2:12 pm

    • Yes — pastime is a strange word and one I always have to check. My dictionary states the obvious by saying that the word comes from ‘pass’ plus ‘time’ — I wonder when the extra ‘s’ was dropped?


      23/03/2010 at 3:36 pm

      • Sometime in the past? When they suffered a consonant shortage? *leaving now*

        Michael Farrell

        23/03/2010 at 3:43 pm

        • Yes, during some past time, I expect.


          23/03/2010 at 3:55 pm

  3. Another such word that keeps the double consonant is “withhold.”

    Michael Farrell

    10/04/2010 at 3:05 am

    • Thanks, Michael — I’m sure there must be others too which I’ll add as I think of them.


      10/04/2010 at 5:15 am

      • Bookkeeper (Did you post about that one before?? Too lazy to check…).

        Michael Farrell

        10/04/2010 at 5:29 am

        • Good one. It is mentioned somewhere here at Wordwatch Towers — I think in connection with hyphens and compound nouns.


          10/04/2010 at 5:34 am

  4. Well, yer search engine is funky cuz it doesn’t show up.

    Michael Farrell

    10/04/2010 at 5:55 am

    • WordPress definition of search engine: “You want to find what? Well, I dunno about that. I’m currently drinking tea. Oh, OK then, since it’s my job to find stuff. Er, quick flick through files whilst helping self to biscuit — nope, nothing, oh is that it? Maybe not. Did anyone bring cake today?”


      10/04/2010 at 5:58 am

      • Right: it’s very literal.

        Michael Farrell

        10/04/2010 at 5:59 am

  5. It’s under “book-keeping.”

    Michael Farrell

    10/04/2010 at 5:58 am

    • WordPress search engine: “And you are?”


      10/04/2010 at 7:35 am

  6. Override


    10/04/2010 at 9:33 am

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