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15 comments on this post.
  1. Shelley:

    The use of anathema as a noun without the article has always driven me crazy. I was glad to find out that it is actually OK to use an article, so should I ever have the occasion to use the word (doesn’t come up all that often for me) I plan to use “an anathema”.

  2. Mirkat:

    Shelley, I agree. “Anathema” without the “an” hurts my ears (or eyes when I’m reading). (I’m also more of an “a myriad of” girl–i.e. “a myriad of possibilities” instead of “myriad possibilities.”)

  3. Mark:

    I agree with both of you. I have occasionally used the word and have noticed that I seem to be the only person using the article. In fact, I came across a website where the use of the article was apparently an anathema to the posters. I will now stick to my guns and continue to use “an.”

  4. Tara:

    I’ve heard many people mispronounce it as an “aneethma”, and I have even seen it written in newspapers as an “enethma”, so it is confusing. Of course, I saw a newspaper print that the President said he was going to be “pottering” around in his back yard instead of “puttering” around, so I guess anything goes nowadays.

  5. tommie miller:

    “Chomping at the bit” instead of “Champing at the bit” has always driven me crazy. And yes, I have no idea why anathema is used without the article.

  6. Ben:

    ugh! Thanks, Shelly. I can’t stand this word, despise its wrongful deployment as the only “adjective-noun” in the World…and you just know that people say: “It was anathema to him” because nobody had the patience for the “Anne Elk” effect of “an anathema.”

  7. C Le Verdic:

    Well, Tommie, you’ve just used it (well, OK, 2 years ago) perfectly acceptably without an article. Consider it to be like hypocrisy. Does that need an article?

  8. Chris:

    C Le Verdic I’m not sure you understand the meaning of hypocrisy. Your comment might possibly make sense if Tommie said something like “anathema should never be used without an article.” I would still argue it’s not being hypocritical because he was merely referring to the word itself, but at least then I’d see your point. No, he simply pointed out that he wasn’t sure why it’s used without the article, without any judgment as to whether it was a good or bad thing to do.

    Would you find “I have no idea why I love rice” to be hypocritical? It’s the same concept.

  9. John:

    Me too. Thank You. Another example of people misusing the language and changing it in the process.

  10. John:

    Yes. Proper grammar.

  11. Dr. Drew Moore:

    I enjoyed your posts and replies about an anathema. Another one that really irks me is how people now say, ” an historic.” Some asshole news reader started this in the ’90s, in the US, as far as I can remember. In US English, we pronounce hard Hs. This misuse is so annoying. Enthused, dissed or disrespected, irregardless are some others.
    Thanks and all the best.

  12. Dan S.:

    “An historic” bothers me too. But it started long before the ’90s. I think I first noticed it around 1970. And it was probably something that was copied from British usage, where it may once have actually made sense.

  13. Mary Jeddore Blakney:

    I think C Le Verdic was referring to the word hypocrisy and how we use it, not accusing you or anyone else of being hypocritical. Here’s an example sentence: “I think his pro-family rhetoric is nothing but hypocrisy.” It seems to be a pattern in English that we don’t use articles with most character qualities or personal attributes. I think that’s because we see them as ubiquitous abstracts that people can tap into, not as individual items that people can own. Saying a hypocrisy, a generosity or an anathema would imply that these things come in units that can be counted.

  14. Edward Raso:

    I found this thread by searching if I might modify ‘Anathema’ to ‘Anathemic’ to make it an adjective. I see now that I cannot. This would solve the nound/adjective hybrid problem, IMHO.

  15. Toby O'B:

    And I just found your reply, Edward, by searching for the same reason. I’m thinking I may still use “anathemic” – despite that annoying red underline to scold me.

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