Thursday, July 20, 2017

To and too

Speaking of bad copyediting:


[From a landscaper’s flyer, found on the handle of our storm door.]

One of my earliest posts to Orange Crate Art was about a handyman’s flyer that my dad saved for me. It read “No job to small.” But this landscaper’s flyer, with its attention to capitalization and type size, and its subtle distinction between to and too, beats all. To much!

[In September 2004, Google had 5,950 results for “no job to small” and 34,900 for “no job too small.” Today, it’s 676,000 for to, and 593,000 for too. But it appears that results for too are included with those for to. Google’s Ngram Viewer has no results for no job to small in American English between 1800 and 2008. The Ngram shows “no job too small” spiking in popularity between 1915 and 1922. Why?]

comments: 3

Diane Schirf said...

Justify use of flyer vs. flier.

Also, see https://twitter.com/apstylebook/status/470948481277100032.

Michael Leddy said...

I went back and forth and followed Merriam-Webster: “usually flyer : an advertising circular ・Flyers announcing the concert were distributed throughout the city.” Google’s Ngram Viewer (which I didn’t consult) shows advertising flyer far outnumbering advertising flier in American English. I’ve never consulted the AP Stylebook. :)

Diane Schirf said...

Well, some of us are required to. When I see "flyer," I think of wagons. Or things flying. Not flieing. :)

This is from an etymology dictionary. I don't know how reliable it is, but I think it translates to "Diane, get a life."

flyer (n.) Look up flyer at Dictionary.com
also flier, mid-15c., "that which flies, thing or creature that flies," agent noun of fly (v.1). Meaning "something that goes fast" is from 1795. Meaning "speculative investment, financial venture" is from 1846 (on the notion of a "flying leap"). Meaning "small handbill or fly-sheet" is from 1889, U.S. slang (originally especially of police bulletins), on notion of "made to be scattered broadcast." Meaning "aviator" (1916) developed in World War I. Related: Fliers; flyers.