Posted by: Jack Henry | July 5, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Foreign Terms That Aren’t Foreign

It seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve shared something with you from Daily Writing Tips. This is a portion of an article by Mark Nichol, called “50 Foreign Terms That Aren’t Foreign.” I am including the link to the article but not the complete list. Feel free to explore the remainder of the list here.

English is a very welcoming language, adopting terms indiscriminately from other tongues. Many publishers observe a distinction between naturalized words and those still considered foreign, honoring the assimilation of the former by refraining from using any visual emphasis and italicizing those in the latter category.

The careful writer will honor this distinction, but how is one to know to which class a particular word or phrase belongs? Adopted words will appear in the dictionary, while words or phrases that have not received a green card remain relegated to a print dictionary’s appendix, if any. Or, check out this virtual cheat sheet, which lists words and phrases (with brief definitions) that do not merit italicization.

· à la carte: priced separately

· à la mode: fashionable; topped with ice cream

· ad hoc: formed for a special purpose

· apropos: opportune or relevant

· attaché: a diplomatic technical expert; a briefcase

· avant-garde: innovative

· carte blanche: full permission

· caveat emptor: let the buyer beware

· doppelgänger: an alter ego, double, or ghost; someone with the same name as someone else

· en masse: as a whole, in one body

· faux pas: an error [KC – Pronounced
/ˌfō ˈpä/, not “fox paws.”]

· non sequitur: a statement that does not logically follow what was previously said

· per se: by itself

· prima facie: apparent, self-evident, or at first view

· pro bono: donated

· realpolitik: practical rather than theoretical politics

· tête-à-tête: a private conversation; a piece of furniture designed to facilitate one

· tour de force: an impressive display or feat

Faux pas:

Fox paws:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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