Mighty Red Pen

June 18, 2007

Regets only

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Overseen — mighty red pen @ 8:38 am

Margarita wants to know: “Can something really get ‘re-gotten?’ Help!”

UN officials: Myanmar probable to re-get global fund aid

YANGON, June 11 (Xinhua) — Myanmar stands an opportunity to re-get the Global Fund aid to fight HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria after it was stopped nearly two years ago, a local media quoted the remarks of United Nations health officials as saying Monday.

Okay, here’s the deal: no, you cannot reget something. This sentence is a mess. A better way to say it might be, for example, “Aid to Myanmar will be renewed . . .” or “Myanmar will begin to receive aid again after it was stopped nearly two years ago . . .” or “For the first time in two years, Myanmar will receive aid.”

MRP says, I regret but you cannot reget.



  1. Kinda related: the past tense verb of sending again. It can get you into a heap of miscommunication.

    As in: “I resent the email you wrote to my boss.” (which, while sounding confrontational, actually means, “I took to liberty of forwarding that email you wrote to my boss, because apparently he didn’t get it the first time.”)

    I try to include a hyphen (“re-sent”) to make it clear we are talking about the delivery of a message, not resentment.

    Okay, maybe it’s not really related. Just had to get it of my chest. Cuz it’s making me re-sent-ful.

    Comment by Gopher — June 18, 2007 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  2. At MRP’s workplace, we have an editorial style policy of not putting a hyphen after “re” except in cases where the meaning would be obscured. Other examples are recover (regained) versus re-cover (cover again) and recreation versus re-creation. But I think yours is the best example!

    Comment by mightyredpen — June 18, 2007 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  3. Why is MRP referring to herself in the third person? Has she always done this and I’ve just not noticed till now? Curious.

    Comment by Molie — June 22, 2007 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  4. I put in a lot of time neging before I get around to my reneging.

    Comment by HelensDad — June 28, 2007 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

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