After Hours

Geek Trivia: The Quibble of the Week for June 3, 2008

This week's quibble comes from the May 27, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "Spy versus spy-fiction."

If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week's Geek Trivia, just post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week's quibble comes from the May 27, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "Spy versus spy-fiction." TechRepublic member oeflynn accused me of improperly conjugating the inflected form of a verb:

"I want to nitpick - you say that 'Fleming's creations outlived and outshined him' - the correct past tense of shine (and hence outshine) is shone - so 007 outshone Ian Fleming!"

As many forum respondents pointed out, outshone is the preferred past tense of outshine in Britain, but it's not the obligatory inflected form. The official reference source for vocabulary and grammar for the Trivia Geek is Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary and Thesaurus, which clearly notes either outshined or outshone is proper usage.

Still, it's good to know which style of English my readers prefer. Thanks for the quibble, and keep them coming!

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About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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