Posted by: Jack Henry | January 23, 2017

Editor’s Corner: –strophe

The words apostrophe and catastrophe share the suffix -strophe, but they don’t seem similar at all in terms of meaning—or do they?

According to the DailyWritingTips website, both words “share an element derived from the Greek verb strephein, which means turn.” Now, I’m pretty familiar with both these words, and I didn’t immediately see how either of them have anything to do with turning, do you? This is where it gets interesting.

The DailyWritingTips article explains that apostrophe means turn from. As you know, an apostrophe indicates that one or more letters have been omitted—or turned away from—a word. (Apostrophes are also used for possessives, but that usage came later in the development of the English language. The original usage was only to indicate missing letters.)

Catastrophe, on the other hand, means overturning—as in a devastating reversal of fortune. An individual’s happy-go-lucky life can suddenly be overturned by a catastrophe.

And then there’s the word trophy, which isn’t related at all, but we all want one.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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