Monday, September 13, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I have noticed an alarming trend during the past three or four months.

Some people are using "incidences" as the plural for "incident."

Example: So many incidences happened on my way to school that I missed English class and didn't hear the lecture on word usage.

The plural for "incident" has always been and remains to this day "incidents."

I consulted Fred, a.k.a. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, and he confirmed my belief. So I also took a look online and every dictionary or language use page I saw also confirmed "incidents" as the plural.

So how did "incidences" come into use?

I have no idea; I only know I'm seeing it more and more often and I don't like it.

But this is how language changes. In another six months, I betcha incidences will be all over the place and in another five years it will be accepted by some modern grammarians and a few years after that it may well be standard usage.

I'm sticking with incidents. It's correct.

What sayest thou, Gentle Readers? Have you noticed the trend?

And when you see it are you prepared to join with me in a futile attempt to nip it in the bud?

That which does not change dies; thus, language must change.

But I don't think that means I have to tolerate incidences.

And you don't either.

When I was a grader for the best English professor ever, he did not tolerate the use of "impact" as a verb. Although sentences such as "the car impacted the brick wall" are all over the place, you won't see impact used in this fashion in my message center.

I want to have a positive impact on the English language.

Infinities of love,



  1. I'm with you a hundred and fifty percent! (haha! - another annoying word use...)

  2. Annoying, yes, but I appreciate the sentiment. I wish I could tell you I know what the toothpick-thingy is, but I don't. I even contacted endodon'tists and used my "I'm a writer conducting research" spiel and couldn't get an answer. It's really quite maddening to undertake a quest and be thwarted at every turn. Oh, Odysseus, how I empathize with you.
    Infinities of love,


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